Harvard Heart Letter

Weight loss: Fewer calories in, more calories out

Eating less is the top priority; more exercise is second.

Most of us could stand to lose a few pounds. Stated more bluntly, nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.

Losing weight is simple, but not easy: take in fewer food calories than you burn through physical activity. Cutting intake by 250 calories a day (eliminating one can of sugared soda or a 2-ounce bag of potato chips, for example), and burning an extra 250 calories a day (by walking an extra two miles, for instance), could help you shed a pound a week. Do that for a year, and you'll lose more than 50 pounds. (To determine how many calories you're eating and how many you can burn through specific activities, go to www.mypyramidtracker.gov.)

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