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Lifestyle Modifications for Obesity

NYU Langone doctors recommend following a balanced diet and gradually becoming more physically active as part of any obesity treatment plan. These lifestyle modifications can also help prevent obesity if you are overweight or otherwise at risk.

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Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can also help manage or reverse some of the serious conditions associated with obesity, such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

Specialists at NYU Langone understand that making lifestyle changes isn’t always easy. They can recommend ways to lose weight based on your current diet, activity level, medications, and overall health. Experts at NYU Langone’s Weight Management Program and Weight Management Program at NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn can create a customized plan to meet your needs.

For some people, lifestyle changes alone may lead to sufficient weight loss. For others, doctors may recommend supplementing new habits with medication or bariatric surgery to further aid weight loss.

A Balanced Diet

To lose weight and maintain health, NYU Langone doctors recommend a diet that includes a variety of foods, such as vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and other sources of protein, and whole grains. Dietitians recommend limiting or avoiding foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients. These include highly processed or fried foods; refined carbohydrates, such as cakes, cookies, and white breads; packaged snack foods; and fatty cuts of meat.

Drinking plenty of water helps you feel full and avoid overeating when you’re trying to lose weight. Limit or avoid drinks that are high in calories and added sugar, such as sodas, fruit juices, sports drinks, and alcoholic beverages.

Registered dietitians and nutritionists at NYU Langone can create a personalized diet plan you can stick with for the long term.

Healthy Eating Habits

NYU Langone experts can help you recognize certain eating patterns or attitudes toward food that can impede weight loss. For example, some people eat more when they’re sad, bored, or under stress. Increasing awareness of the emotions behind your eating patterns can help you change your behaviors.

Other habits, such as eating in front of the television or in a car, can distract you from thinking about what and how much you’re eating. Sitting down for meals at a table can make you more aware.


Regular physical activity promotes weight loss by burning calories and increasing your metabolic rate, which is the amount of calories, or energy, your body burns throughout the day. Exercise can help decrease body fat. It also builds muscle, which enables the body to burn more calories even when you’re at rest. Over time, exercise improves heart and lung function, making it easier for you to be active.

While the amount of exercise needed to lose weight varies from person to person, studies show that a healthy diet combined with moderate activity four times a week for 60 minutes can help many people lose 1 to 2 pounds a week.

Your NYU Langone doctor can advise you on how to gradually increase the amount of exercise you get each day so you can build your strength and endurance over time. For people who are affected by obesity, doctors may recommend low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming, or yoga, that burn calories while putting the least amount of stress on the heart and joints.

In addition to exercise, there are many other ways to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine, such as running errands on foot instead of driving your car; taking the stairs instead of using the elevator; and taking breaks to walk or stretch throughout your day.

Physical therapists at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation and NYU Langone Orthopedic Center can help you address or work around any physical limitations or health concerns that make it difficult for you to exercise with ease.

Our Research and Education in Obesity

Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.