Sustainable weight management involves following a balanced diet, regularly exercising, and engaging in stress-reducing techniques. Certain strategies can help a person lose weight.

A healthy, balanced diet includes eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains alongside healthy fats and protein sources. Regular exercise entails at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week.

If a person’s goal is weight loss, certain strategies may also help, such as setting realistic goals and recognizing their attainment with nonfood rewards.

Learn more about weight management, nutrition information, and lifestyle tips.

A man exercising outside.Share on Pinterest
Getty Images

If a person has overweight or obesity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a gradual, steady weight loss of about 1–2 pounds per week. This is more likely to help prevent the lost weight from returning than quick weight loss.

The following strategies may help a person on their weight loss journey.

Commit to losing weight

One useful strategy is writing down why a person wants to lose weight and posting them in a place where they will be a daily reminder. For example, some people may want to change their appearance, be more active, or put measures in place to help them live longer to see their grandchildren.

Evaluate factors that promote weight gain

People can try to become aware of food intake to avoid mindless food consumption. They may wish to record everything they eat and drink for several days.

Additionally, a person can examine situations that pose a challenge to weight management. For instance, this may include factors such as having a busy travel schedule. Individuals can aim to develop strategies to deal with these challenges.

Set realistic goals

People can establish achievable short-term goals and reward their attainment.

For example, if a person’s long-term goal involves losing 50 pounds (lb), they should set smaller specific goals. This may mean trying to lose 1 lb per week for a period of time.

More specific, actionable examples may include:

  • substituting dessert for fresh fruit
  • taking a walk after meals
  • including protein with each meal

A person can work on 2–3 goals at a time to avoid feeling frustrated or overwhelmed.

Individuals can also expect occasional setbacks. When these occur, they can aim to resume their efforts to meet goals and consider how to help avoid such hindrances.

Monitor progress

A person can revisit goals to determine which ones are working well.

If someone consistently meets a goal, they may consider changing the goal to one that is a little more challenging to spur them forward. After meeting a goal, people should reward themselves in ways unconnected to food, such as an outing with friends.

The National Institutes for Health (NIH) advises people to manage their portion sizes. The following tips may help with weight loss:

  • eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • including foods high in protein
  • consuming nonfat and low fat dairy products
  • including healthy fats

An eating plan for weight loss also excludes or limits the following dietary elements:

  • refined carbohydrates, such as:
    • cookies
    • cakes
    • pies
    • doughnuts and other pastries
    • white rice
  • beverages with added sugar, such as:
    • sodas
    • fruit drinks
    • sweetened tea
  • salt
  • saturated fat, such as fatty cuts of red meat
  • trans fat, such as fried foods

A person can still enjoy their favorite comfort foods if they eat them occasionally or in smaller amounts.

Learn more about following a healthy, balanced diet.

In addition to a balanced diet, a lifestyle that promotes weight management includes exercise and stress-reducing techniques.


According to the CDC, people should get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Moderate intensity refers to activities that cause someone to breathe harder and make their heart beat faster, but it does not overwork them. An example is brisk walking.

If an individual is new to exercise, they should check with a doctor before starting a new exercise plan. This is particularly important if they have diabetes, high blood pressure, or a heart condition.

Stress management

Managing stress can help a person lose weight.

A 2018 clinical trial evaluated the effects of an 8-week stress management program on weight loss. The stress-reducing interventions included:

These interventions had an association with a reduction in body mass index and lower levels of anxiety and depression.

A person may also consider asking a doctor for resource suggestions that could help with weight management.

This may entail referrals to a dietician and a community weight loss program. Such a program may help someone adhere to a suitable eating plan and exercise regimen, as well as track progress.

Developing a network of support sources that may include family members, friends, and local or online weight loss groups is also beneficial. This can provide encouragement, empathy, and motivation.

Learn 10 tips for successful weight loss.

Components of weight management involve following a healthy eating plan that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and regular exercise, such as brisk walking. It also entails engaging in stress-reduction techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing.

Management strategies include making a commitment to lose weight, evaluating factors that promote weight gain, and setting realistic goals.