Being overweight can cause diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and bone and joint problems. The primary culprits of obesity are eating the wrong kinds of foods and lack of physical activity. The best way to burn fat and combat this condition is by eating nutritiously and exercising regularly.

Modify Your Diet to Burn Fat

Unused calories get stored in your body as fat, so in order to lose weight, you have to create a calorie deficit. This doesn't mean jumping on the fad diet bandwagon and eating cabbage all day. It simply means replacing unhealthy, high fat food with foods that are nutritious.

Changing a lifetime of poor eating habits does not happen overnight – it takes time and commitment. Instead of doing a complete diet overhaul, make gradual changes to slowly eliminate unhealthy foods from your diet.

You may not see immediate weight loss results from gradual modifications to your diet, but you'll eventually get there. If you routinely drink three 12oz colas everyday and you replace two of them with water, you're saving yourself 300 calories per day. Over the span of a week, you'll reduce your caloric intake by 2100 calories.

Instead of having chips with your sandwich, eat a few baby carrots. This will give you the satisfaction of the crunch without all the extra calories. Here are some other gradual changes you can make to reduce your caloric intake:

• Grill and broil your meats instead of frying them.
• Use real butter instead of margarine.
• Cut back on alcohol consumption.
• Make French fries from fresh cut potatoes instead of using store-bought, processed fries.
• Replace shortening with coconut or olive oil.
• Drink herbal teas sweetened with stevia or raw honey to combat your cravings for sugar.

Whatever you do, don't starve yourself to burn fat. This move will backfire and do more harm than good. Starvation diets can cause nutritional deficiencies, organ damage, loss of muscle, fatigue, cardiac arrest, muscle spasms, depression, anger, memory loss and eating disorders.

Starving yourself can also cause your metabolism to slow down and make losing weight more difficult. The weight you lose from a starvation diet won't last. Once you start eating again, you'll gain all of the weight back.

Do Cardio Exercises and Lift Weights

If you want to lose weight, you absolutely must do cardiovascular exercises. When you exercise, your body burns carbohydrates first and then it starts to burn fat.

The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories your body will burn. So in addition to your regular cardio routine, lift weights two to three days a week to help fire up your metabolism.

Prevent Weight Loss Plateaus

Even if you are eating sensible diet and exercising regularly, your weight loss can stall if your body becomes accustomed to your workout routine. To prevent weight loss plateaus, vary your exercise routine on a regular basis.

For instance, if your preferred method of cardio exercise is running on a treadmill, vary the speed and use the incline to make the workout more intense. You can also run on the treadmill for 30-minutes and spend the last half hour of your workout jumping rope or riding an exercise bike.

When you are trying to lose weight, slow and steady is the only way to go. The best way to burn fat and keep it off is to make gradual changes to your diet, get plenty of cardio and build lean muscle mass by lifting weights.