Want to lose weight?  Most people think the only way to shed pounds is by dieting, but that is usually not enough.  In order to slim down –and keep it off- you will need to incorporate exercise into your life.

Diet trends come and go, but a fad diet is not usually the best or safest route to weight loss.  Instead of jumping from diet to diet, the most successful way to lose weight is to make a lifestyle change.  That’s right – a permanent change in the way you see food and exercise!  Changing the way you eat is important and learning to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet is essential if you want to slim down for good.  Want to make the journey more successful and truly look and feel the best you can?  Exercise is the answer!

Exercise triggers an increase in metabolism, which causes the body to burn fat at a faster pace.  The math is simple: if your body uses more calories than it takes in, weight loss will occur.  If you reduce your caloric intake too much, but remain inactive, your metabolism can actually decrease significantly because it is trying to survive on too little.  Dieting alone can cause the body to lose fat AND muscle, but the right combination of diet and exercise will result in decreased fat and increased muscle mass.  Why is that important?  A body with more muscle than fat contributes to a healthier heart, lower cholesterol, and a lower chance of diabetes, but muscle also burns more calories at rest than fat.

Studies show that the best way to lose weight is to combine a healthy, well-balanced diet with physical activity.  How much exercise is enough?  At least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.  Walking, running, a group fitness class, swimming, or any other cardio activity will work.  If you want an even better chance of getting the body you desire, add weight training to your schedule.  Remember, muscles burn calories faster than fat – and look better, too!

If you are still having trouble or have hit a weight loss plateau, there could be other things slowing your progress.   Be sure that you are getting plenty of sleep, at least 7-8 hours a night.  Stress can hinder weight loss as well, so always take time to relax and unwind.

It may take a little experimenting, but finding the right combination of diet and exercise is the best way to achieve a slim, trim, and healthy body.  It can sometimes be challenging, but the rewards are worth it!