Being obese puts you at risk for many life-threatening diseases not to mention the fact that it can ruin your appearance and lower your confidence. The good news is you don’t have to spend a fortune to keep fit and look good. All it takes is a little discipline and the right attitude.

To ...Being obese puts you at risk for many life-threatening diseases not to mention the fact that it can ruin your appearance and lower your confidence. The good news is you don’t have to spend a fortune to keep fit and look good. All it takes is a little discipline and the right attitude.

To get you started on the road to a lean and mean body, here are some practical tips to follow:

Make a commitment to lose weight and keep it off! How many of us start diets to lose a few pounds here and there to simply fit into a nice dress for a wedding or party. Often we have no intention of keeping the weight off once it's lost. Commit yourself to good eating habits that will lead to long-term good health.

Choose a well-balanced and nutritionally sound diet. Include rice or bread, fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products, and sources of protein like lean meats, poultry, fish, or beans daily for optimal nutrition. Be wary of diets that use only one food group like high-protein or all-fruit diets.

Attack the fat! Fat is a concentrated source of calories. And fat taken through the diet is more readily stored as fat in your body. Stay away from high fat foods like
butter, margarine, mayonnaise, nuts, chocolates, deep-fried foods, gravies, whole milk, cheese, ice cream, and pastries.

Increase your fiber intake. Fiber that is found only in plants - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds - provides the dieter with many benefits. It slows down food absorption,
provides bulk in the stomach that gives a feeling of satiety, is more difficult to chew and slows down eating, and protects against various ailments like diabetes, some cancers, and heart disease.

Eat smaller portions. Even low-calorie foods add up when you don't watch how much you eat. Use kitchen measuring cups, spoons or a diet scale to keep your servings accurate. Try using a smaller plate to make your meals look larger.

Get moving! Aerobic exercise burns calories, stored fat, and increases your metabolic rate. Biking, brisk walking, swimming, and dancing are good forms of exercise. Just remember to
start slow and build up to a cardio respiratory fitness. Don't make time or the lack of it an excuse not to exercise.

Thou shall not be tempted! Don’t keep high calorie snack foods like potato chips within your reach. If you are attending a social event with lavishly prepared foods, take small portions and keep away from high-fat foods.

Set realistic goals. A loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is safe. Weight lost rapidly is nearly always regained. Don’t be discouraged if your rate of weight loss slows after the first week. Part of the initial weight loss on any diet is water. As your body adjusts, weight loss will continue.

Be fair to yourself. If you slip once, don’t give up. Your diet isn't over; you have not blown the whole thing. Just climb right back on the wagon and plan to handle temptation better next time.

You can do it. Believe in yourself. Stick to your plan and take pride in the fact that you are doing something nice for yourself. You are worth it.

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Author's Bio: 

Janet Martin is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premiere online news magazine www.thearticleinsiders.com.