It's officially that time of the year again when everybody makes a list of resolutions. If losing weight is right up there at the top of your list, just focus on the following golden rules of dos and don'ts and watch the weight melt away. We promise you'll be a successful loser in no time.
DO set a realistic goal
Setting a doable target helps prevent frustration. So what's a realistic goal? "Successful weight loss is typically losing about 10% of body weight in six months," says James Rippe, MD.
DO keep a food diary
Keeping a food journal can double a person's weight loss, according to a Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research. That's because the act of writing makes you aware of what you're putting in your mouth. Write down everything you eat and drink, and your feelings at the time -- this can help identify emotional binging. You can try online food logs such as MyFitnessPal.com, which tracks calories as well.
DON'T join the fad crowd
Forget any extreme high-protein or low-fat diet that require you to avoid certain food groups. What is most crucial is that you consume a wide range of nutrients. For weight loss, you'll need a slight caloric deficit while aiming for a balanced ratio of 40 percent carbs, 30 percent fat and 30 percent protein -- studies show a well-balanced diet helps our body retain more muscle mass and leave us less hungry.
DON'T eat less than 1,000 calories per day
"If you eat too few calories, your metabolism will get slower and slower as it tries to conserve energy," says Joy Bauer, MS, RD, CDN, nutrition expert and author of Your Inner Skinny.
DO move more
Don't just count on dieting to shed weight. Increasing your activity level helps boost your metabolism and increases the amount of calories you burn. Bauer recommends moving as much as possible. "Climb the stairs instead of taking the escalator, park at the opposite end of the mall and walk to your favorite store, garden instead of watching TV... anything, as long as it involves extra movement."