For many people, trying to lose weight and lead a healthy lifestyle can be a lifelong battle. Part of the problem is that so much information exists out there about how to lose weight, but much of it is conflicting.

Every year seems to bring several new fad diets. You’ll see one weight-loss guru touting one thing, and two more saying something completely opposite. Often times, these fad diets will promise outlandish results that are hard to believe.

Over time, you’ve probably seen enough of these miracle cures to know that much of the ‘wisdom’ about weight loss doesn’t work. But what you may not know is that there are simple principles that can lead to losing weight and, more importantly, keeping the weight off.

The Sustainable Way to Lose Weight

One of the biggest warning flags you can find when it comes to diets is a promise that you’ll lose a tremendous amount of weight in a very short time period. If a diet is promising that it can lose you 20 pounds in 2 weeks, you should steer well clear.

It’s not that it’s impossible to lose huge amounts of weight in a short time period, though it’s never as easy as any of these fad diets suggest. The biggest problem is that such practices are unsustainable. In other words, once you stop following their starvation regimen, you’re inevitably going to gain back the weight, and maybe more.

One of the keys to sustaining your loss of weight is to moderate your pace. An ideal plan is going to see you lose around 3 to 5 pounds per week. That’s still rapid enough transformation that you’ll be seeing tangible results. But it also allows you to lose weight at a pace that your body can sustain.

Exercise and Losing Weight

Many weight loss programs make exercise a big part of the plan. This is generally a mistake, however. At first glance, you probably think this is odd – After all, everyone knows that exercise burns calories.

The reason it’s not necessary – and often times even harmful – to depend on exercise for losing weight is because our diets have far, far more to do with whether we gain or lose weight. Unless you have time to devote literally hours to exercising, the calories you burn will pale in comparison with the impact your diet has on your weight.

None of this is to say that exercising is a bad thing. Very much the opposite, in fact. Exercise is wonderful for building muscle, strengthening your lungs and heart, and increasing your enjoyment of life. It’s just not the be-all end-all when it comes to losing weight.

And the problem with programs that emphasize exercise to help with losing weight is that sticking to an exercise routine is often difficult. Then, if you find yourself slacking on the exercise part, you’ll probably stop following the entire regimen, losing any temporary success you may have had.

Losing Weight the Right Way

That’s why the ideal plan for losing weight is contained within your diet. By eating real, everyday food within the confines of a well-designed and healthy diet, you can both lose weight and receive all the nutrition you need. And the best part about a diet like this is that it allows you to sustain the lifestyle even after the weight is gone.