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Weight can affect a person's self-esteem. Excess weight is highly visible and evokes some powerful reactions, however unfairly, from other people and from the people who carry the excess weight. The amount of weight loss needed to improve your health may be much less than you wish to lose, when you consider how you evaluate your weight. Research has shown that your health can be greatly improved by a loss of 5–10 percent of your starting weight. That doesn't mean you have to stop there, but it does mean that an initial goal of losing 5–10 percent of your starting weight is both realistic and valuable.
Food and nutrition play a crucial role in health promotion and chronic disease prevention. Every 5 years, HHS and USDA publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Nation’s go-to source for nutrition advice. The latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines reflects the current body of nutrition science, helps health professionals and policymakers guide Americans to make healthy food and beverage choices, and serves as the science-based foundation for vital nutrition policies and programs across the United States.

And finally, do you feel like you’re at peace with yourself? Comfortable in your own body? In your life? Or are you constantly battling yourself (or others), never feeling whole or balanced? Do you feel like you’re in touch with your heart—your authentic self? I know it might sound crazy to say that your diet is behind that, too, but it is. When you begin to eat whole grains and abstain from craz-ymaking foods like white sugar, you will see how amazing and joyous and peaceful life really is.

Personally, I find the cheat day important because it gives you something to look forward to. This diet is a huge change from most Westerners’ lifestyles. With the diet comes a lot of cravings, especially in the beginning. I would make a little note of anything that I was craving and made sure I went out and bought it Saturday morning. For example, this is what my first cheat day looked like:

Setting the right goals is an important first step. Most people trying to lose weight focus on just that one goal: weight loss. However, the most productive areas to focus on are the dietary and physical activity changes that will lead to long-term weight change. Successful weight managers are those who select two or three goals at a time that are manageable.
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