Diets aren't the way to go when it comes to losing weight. That's because they create temporary eating patterns — and, therefore, temporary results. Most dieters gain back any lost weight when they go back to their old eating habits. So what's the best way to drop excess weight? Create a new normal! Weight loss is most likely to be successful when people change their habits, replacing old, unhealthy ones with new, healthy behaviors. Here are 5 ways to make that happen: Exercise. Regular physical activity burns calories and builds muscle — both of which help you look and feel good and keep weight off. Walking the family dog, cycling to school, and doing other things that increase your daily level of activity can all make a difference. If you want to burn more calories, increase the intensity of your workout and add some strength exercises to build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even when you aren't exercising. Reduce screen time. People who spend a lot of time in front of screens are more likely to be overweight. Set reasonable limits on the amount of time you spend watching TV, playing video games, and using computers, phones, and tablets not related to school work. Be sure to set aside enough time to exercise every day and get enough sleep. Watch out for portion distortion. Big portions pile on extra calories that cause weight gain. Sugary beverages, such as sodas, juice drinks, and sports drinks, are empty calories that also contribute to obesity. So choose smaller portions (or share restaurant portions) and go for water or low-fat milk instead of soda. Eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day. Fruits and veggies are about more than just vitamins and minerals. They're also packed with fiber, which means they fill you up. And when you fill up on fruits and veggies, you're less likely to overeat. Don't skip breakfast. Breakfast kickstarts your metabolism, burning calories from the get-go and giving you energy to do more during the day. People who skip breakfast often feel so hungry that they eat more later on. So they get more calories than they would have if they ate breakfast. In fact, people who skip breakfast tend to have higher BMIs than people who eat breakfast. Back to Articles Related Articles The Deal With Diets With all the focus on dieting, how do you figure out what's healthy and what isn't? Read this article to get the basics on dieting. Read More How Much Food Should I Eat? Lots of us don't realize we're eating too much because we've become so used to large portions. This article for teens helps you take control of your plate. Read More What's the Right Weight for My Height? One of the biggest questions guys and girls have is whether they're the right weight. Because the body is growing and changing so much during adolescence, it can be tough to answer this question. Read More Are Detox Diets Safe? The name sounds reassuring - everyone knows that anything toxic is bad for you. But detox diets aren't good for teens. Find out why. Read More Staying at a Healthy Weight Here are some practical, everyday tips on making exercise and healthy eating work for you instead of feeling like it's the other way around. Read More How Can I Lose Weight Safely? Lots of people are unhappy with their present weight, but aren't sure how to change it - or even if they need to. Get the facts on weight loss here. Read More Smart Snacking Healthy snacks are essential for busy teens. Find out how eating nutritious snacks throughout the day can keep your energy level high and your mind alert. Read More Body Mass Index (BMI) One of the biggest questions guys and girls have as they grow and develop is whether they're the right weight. One place to start is by learning about body mass index, or BMI. Read More Why Exercise Is Wise Getting the right amount of exercise can rev up your energy levels and even help you to feel better emotionally. Find out why. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.