When you're overweight, it's tempting to fall into the trap of quick-fix dieting. These types of diets only lead to health problems and disappointment. Permanent weight loss requires commitment and a willingness to learn new habits. A combination of healthy eating and regular exercise is the best way to burn fat and keep it off for good.

Eat Healthy Foods to Burn Fat

In order to lose weight, you must reduce your caloric intake. Otherwise, you won't be able to burn enough fat to slim down. However, extreme diets that require you to starve yourself or eliminate carbohydrates are dangerous and unrealistic over the long-term. Sure, you might lose a few pounds in the first week or two, but this is often the result of water and healthy muscle loss, not fat.

Also, fad diets do not produce lifelong results. When you deprive your body of too many calories, your metabolism will adapt and slow down in response. Once your metabolism stalls, weight loss will become more difficult because your body won't require as many calories to functions.

Even the slightest increase in your caloric intake will cause you to gain all of your weight back, plus some. If you attempt to make starvation or crash dieting a long-term endeavor, you'll likely end up in the hospital from malnutrition. Diets that severely limit calories can cause nutritional deficiencies that will destroy your health.

For instance, iron deficiency hinders the body's ability to produce hemoglobin, transport oxygen to the cells and regulate the body temperature. Potassium deficiency can cause muscle weakness, fatigue, cardiac arrest, fainting, dizziness and immobility. Calcium deficiency causes weak bones and increases your risk of osteoporosis.

When you don't get enough carbohydrates in your diet, your glycogen stores get low and your energy reserves will quickly deplete. This makes you feel weak and fatigued. Eventually, your body will start to burn muscle tissue from your organs for energy.

Instead of falling into the trap of fad diets, opt for healthy, low-calorie meals that consist of organic meats, poultry, beans, legumes, lentils, fruits and vegetables.

Get Enough Cardio Exercise to Burn Fat

When cardiovascular exercise is combined with a healthy diet, it can help you lose weight. Even though your metabolism is active while your body is at rest, it does not burn enough calories to melt away excess fat. If you want to burn more calories than you take in, you have to exercise.

It is recommended that you exercise for at least one hour a day, five days a week. Some excellent ways for you to get the cardio you need to burn fat include running, brisk walking, dancing, hula hooping, swimming, water aerobics, playing sports and using medium to high impact exercise videos.

When you do the same exercise routine for weeks at a time, your body will get used to the movements and you may not see the kind of fat burning results you want. To prevent weight loss plateaus, vary your workout routine regularly.

Lift Weights to Burn Fat

One pound of muscle burns three times more calories than a pound of fat. So if you really want to kick your fat-burning efforts into high gear, start a weight training program. For maximum results, lift weights two to three times a week. If you don't have access to free weights, start of by using water bottles. Eventually though, you'll need to invest in a few sets of dumbbells.

If you are trying to lose weight, don't set yourself up for failure and health problems by using fad diet plans. Instead, combine nutritious eating with cardio and weight training for long-term results.