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These five habits are must-dos, and all associated with weight loss. The more of them you follow — and the more closely you follow them — the more successful you’re likely to be in your weight-loss efforts.

1. Keep food records — write down everything you eat

Record keeping lets you know exactly what and how much you’re eating. It also allows you to identify problem patterns in your eating behavior. People who keep food records are more successful at weight loss.

2. Keep activity records — type of activity, duration and intensity

Track the variety of activities and exercises that make up your day. Keeping a daily activity record for at least two weeks helps you to be accountable and should help you establish a regular exercise routine. Seeing your progress can build confidence and inspire you to set higher goals.

3. Move more — walk or exercise for 60 minutes or more every day

Increase your walking or exercise to 60 minutes or more every day. Of course, the more the better, within reason.

4. Eat “real food” — mostly fresh, and healthy frozen or canned food

Food is processed to make it safe, available and convenient to use, but the processing may add unwanted fat, sugar, calories and salt. “Real food” is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients. Fast food is often filled with empty calories. Not everything that’s processed is bad — but it’s up to you to make the healthiest choices. “Real food” is often grown more locally and doesn’t have as much packaging.

5. Write down your daily goals — what motivates you each and every day

Your overall weight goal can often be met through a series of smaller performance goals that build on one another. Goal setting keeps you motivated and helps you stick with your program.

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