Small Weight Loss Yields Large Rewards

If you're overweight or obese, you probably don't need a doctor or anyone else to tell you that you should lose a few pounds. There's a good chance you already know your weight is a problem. Sound familiar?

But when you step on the scale, it's easy to look at the big number and think you need to lose 50 to 100 pounds. That may be true, but it's not what you should focus on, according to recent study published in the journal Cell Metabolism. Instead of thinking about all the weight you need to lose, set a goal to lose a few pounds at a time.

In the study, researchers found that people who lost as little as 5 percent of their body weight significantly lowered their risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions.

So if you weigh 250 pounds,  a 5 percent weight loss goal means you would only have to lose 12.5 pounds to improve your health. That seems a lot more realistic than losing 50 to 100 pounds. And it is. Simple changes to your diet and exercise habits can help you lose 1 to 2 pounds or more a week, and improve your health.

So forget about going on a crash diet, following some quirky food fad to lose weight, take diet pills, or going overboard on exercise. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise per day as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.

And clean up your diet. Make smart food choices, drink plenty of water, and practice portion control, and you'll tip the scale in the right direction. To make meal prep and planning even easier to hit your weight-loss goal, check out all the Portion-Control meals made from fresh ingredients that you can make in just minutes. You'll be glad you did.