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Fitness and losing weight

Legs standing on scale

Are you thinking about exercising to lose weight? First, find out if you need to lose weight. Your doctor can help you figure out what weight is right for you. You also can learn more about healthy weight ranges from our body mass index (BMI) info. If you do need to lose weight, your doctor can help with advice on how to do it. (You can learn more about working with doctors, including getting help paying for appointments.)

Being physically active definitely is a smart move if you're trying to reach a healthy weight and stay there. Plus, being active has lots of other benefits too!

Weight loss success

If you need to lose weight, make sure to set realistic goals and start with small steps. If you aim for a goal you can't reach, you may feel annoyed, weak, or disappointed. That really won't help!

It's a good idea to avoid:

  • Trying to lose weight very fast (like in time for a certain party)
  • Deciding you want to weigh as much as someone you know (because every body is different)
  • Hoping to look like models (since some of them are a very unhealthy weight or their pictures are changed to make them look thinner)
  • Following extreme diets and exercise plans that can hurt your body and make you frustrated
  • Being hard on yourself if you miss a workout or eat something unhealthy

Two of the main things that affect whether or not you lose weight include:

  • How active you are. To lose weight, you need to "burn" (use) more calories than you take in from foods and drinks. Physical activity helps you burn calories.
  • How much and what kinds of food you eat. Some foods, like fruits and veggies, have fewer calories than other foods, like cookies and cakes. (And they are healthier too!) Visit our section on nutrition to learn what kinds of foods to eat and how much food you need to stay healthy.

If you think you may need to lose weight, your best bet is to make healthy habits part of your everyday life. Here are some tips:

  • Talk to a doctor or nurse about a healthy weight goal. Work together to set weight-loss goals that are right for you. You might ask about this during your regular checkup.
  • Try following a healthy eating and exercise plan. A doctor, nurse, nutritionist, or dietitian can help you make a healthy eating plan. Aim to lose weight slowly and steadily (about 1 to 2 pounds per week).
  • Learn about ways to get physically active in this section of girlshealth.gov.
  • Read our section on nutrition for great tips on eating healthy at school, in restaurants, and more.
  • Think about whether you eat when you're sad or worried. You can find other ways to cope with these feelings. Visit our section on your feelings, or talk with a friend or trusted adult.

 

Content last reviewed March 27, 2015
Page last updated June 28, 2015

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