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Sixty-three percent of Americans are overweight and 31 percent are officially classified as obese. That means that if you are one of the millions of Americans who needs to lose a significant amount of weight, you are not alone.

45 million Americans will go on a diet this year, and they will spend up to $2 billion supporting their diet habits. Nevertheless, almost all of them will actually gain more weight in the course of the year than they will lose.

Most people think that you need a lot of will power to lose a significant amount of weight. The hurdles to losing 50 pounds or more may seem insurmountable. That is one of the reasons various weight loss surgery schemes are so popular.

But before you go under the knife and submit to drastic changes in major organs like the stomach, consider that it is possible to lose weight just by changing some habits. There's nothing tricky about losing weight. Weight is a function of how many calories you take in and how many calories you burn. It takes 3500 unburned calories to put on a pound. Similarly, if you burn 3500 calories, you lose a pound.

So, the simple math tells us that if you want to lose 50 pounds in one calendar year, all you have to do is take in 500 fewer calories a day.

This actually may be easier than it sounds. While going from a 2000 calorie diet to a 1500 calorie diet is tough - that is 25 percent less calories a day - the average American actually consumes 4270 calories a day. That means that cutting 500 calories is actually just a 12 percent reduction in the amount of food you eat.

From today there are certain foods that you must stop eating.  This includes all ready meals, diet drinks, candy, deserts, cake and white foods such as pasta, rice and bread.  Wholegrain breads are good for you to eat at breakfast time as they contain essential vitamins and minerals.   Always eat breakfast as your body has been starving while you were sleeping and will be craving food.  Increase the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat but eat the actual pieces rather than juicing to keep sugar highs to a minimum.

But don't think that all of the reduction has to come from cutting foods. You can also help yourself lose 50 pounds by moving more. While vigorous exercise is recommended for some, others can lose weight just by increasing the amount of physical activity they do each day without developing a formal workout plan. Losing pounds and keeping it off doesn't require a huge outlay of cash or going on a self punishing weight loss diet. With a little dedication and discipline, not only will you begin losing pounds, but you will improve your overall physical health.

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