Losing weight and reaching your optimal weight goal requires proper nutrition. The three most important factors of a proper diet are variety, balance, and moderation. Adding a variety of healthy foods and nutrients to your diet is very important. Since no one food supplies all the nutrients the body needs eating from the five major food groups is essential.
A balanced diet provides your body the nutrients and calories it needs. However, food must be eaten in appropriate portions. Serving sizes vary according to individual’s needs based on factors like age, gender, and activity level.
Eating too little or overeating is not ideal for health or weight loss. Many people believe that they have to deprive themselves of their favorite foods or food in general in order to lose weight. However, choosing to eat certain foods in moderation is actually the key to successful long-term weight loss.
Here are some suggested guidelines to begin a weight loss program:
- Set a realistic initial weight loss goal. A sensible decrease in body weight of approximately 10% in the first six months is attainable. It has been proven that at this rate, keeping it off for one year is reasonable.
- Monitor your eating habits and track your calories, micronutrients, and macronutrients by keeping a food journal to familiarize yourself with your eating habits and to become more aware of your diet: how much you are eating, where, why, with whom, and what mood are you in when you eat.
- Calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate) to understand how many calories your body burns if you sat in bed all day. Use this bodyweight planner: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/weight-loss-calculator
- If you are eating a 2000 kcal per day diet or more, reduce your caloric intake by 500 – 1000 kcal/day to promote a safe and healthy weight loss of 1- 2 pounds per week. Do not starve yourself to avoid rapid weight loss as it can lead to dangerous side effects such as lack of energy and dizziness.
- Follow the Food Guide Pyramid to ensure that you select foods from all six food groups when you plan your meals.
- Read all nutrition facts on Food Labels. Be aware of the fat, sodium, sugar, protein, and carbohydrate count when shopping, You should pay particular attention to and buy foods low in fat, sodium, and sugar if you have cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
- Choose protein sources from plants and lean meats. To select meats with less fat; look for the words “round” or “loin” when shopping for beef, and the words “loin” or “leg” when shopping for pork or lamb. Remember, when shopping for poultry, white meat has less fat than dark meat.
- 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily is recommended. Choose foods rich in soluble fiber. Examples are oat bran, legumes, barley, and most fruits and vegetables.
- Consider your serving sizes and avoid going back for seconds.
- Adopt healthy meal preparation techniques to reduce sodium, fat, and sugar.
- Plan in advance and be aware of hidden fattening and unhealthy ingredients when dining Out.
- Drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water every day.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol. It provides empty calories.