(BPT) – If you’ve struggled with your weight, you know that fat can be a bad three-letter word. You’ve warded against it, tried to reduce it and agonized over what fat can do to your self-esteem and your waist line. But how much do you really know about fat? And how much could you improve your life if you knew just a little bit more?

According to the MDVIP Fat IQ Survey, most adults fail a basic quiz on fat facts. And a staggering 82 percent of adults are over their ideal weight. Whether you are one of them or you want to avoid weight problems in the future, it’s time to put fat in your crosshairs. Here are four things you need to do to boost your own fat IQ and live a healthier life.

* Recognize your hang-ups. Everyone has them. Whether you’re busy caring for children or elderly parents and fast food is your go-to, you travel and can’t find healthy options on the road, or you’re a late-night snacker, your lifestyle is adding fat to your diet. Recognize where your weak spots are and take steps to correct them. Consider a meal delivery service that’s both healthy and convenient, pack nutritious snacks in your carry-on, or go for a walk when the urge to eat a cookie strikes. Just changing up your routine once or twice a week can make a difference.

* Be open and honest with your doctor. Eighty-three percent of adults said hearing from a doctor that they need to lose weight would motivate them to take action. Yet, most doctors aren’t able to spend enough time to really delve into your eating and other lifestyle habits. If you’re serious about managing your weight, you want a primary care doctor who will help uncover your personal obstacles and work with you on a plan to reach your goals. Physicians like those in the MDVIP network have more time to consult patients on diet and exercise and provide the coaching and follow-up they need to be successful. Talk to your doctor and find your motivation today.

* Learn the difference between fats. Not all fats are created equal. In fact, did you know some fats are actually good for you? Unsaturated fats found in plants, for example, can improve your cholesterol level and lower your risk for heart disease. Saturated fats and especially trans fats, on the other hand, found in fried and processed foods, should be rarely eaten or avoided all together because they have the potential to promote heart disease.

* Find the hidden “bad fat” in your food. Restaurant menus that include calorie counts have certainly been eye-opening for many people, but the food’s fat content is often missing or overlooked. The same applies when you’re at the grocery store. In addition to looking at the amount of fat on food labels, make sure you scrutinize the list of ingredients. You want to stay away from foods that have the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated,” which are unhealthy trans fats.

Start applying your higher fat IQ today

Having a strong understanding of fats is critical to achieving a healthy lifestyle, so don’t delay in giving yourself a boost. Apply these tips to raise your fat IQ. To take the MDVIP Fat IQ survey, visit www.mdvip.com/fat-iq-quiz.