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Weight Loss by Eating Healthy

There are many reasons a person may choose to lose weight. It may be to prevent type 2 diabetes, improve heart health or just feel better.

The key to losing weight is to make lifelong changes that work for you, not quick fixes.

It is critical to set a reasonable weight loss goal that you can achieve. For many, a reasonable goal is to lose at around 5-10% of their current weight (10 to 20 pounds if they weigh 200 pounds). Studies have shown that a 5-7% weight loss can have a big impact on lowering the risk of developing diabetes.

The world is full of diet books and supposedly new approaches to diet. Though some diets may be popular now, there is no proof about their long-term success.

The most basic approach to losing weight is by sticking to a low-fat, reduced calorie eating plan, and increasing physical activity

When it comes to eating healthy to lose weight, the three most important steps are:

  1. Take in fewer calories than you burn during the day.
  2. Eat less fat (especially saturated fats and trans fats) than you currently eat.
  3. Eat smaller portions of high fat and high calorie foods than you currently eat.

Convenient Tips for Healthy Eating

Recommended Calories and Fat Grams Daily

Figure out how many calories and fat grams you might aim to have each day. The chart below provides general guidelines that may help lose 1-2 pounds per week.

        Current Body Weight                 Calories and Fat Grams per day

IMPORTANT: It is not advised for adults to eat less than 1,200 calories a day

Food Portion Sizes

Portion sizes are often smaller than we think. When diets recommend cooking with "1/2 cup of rice", or "3 ounces of meat", the amount being defined may be less than what we assume.

Keep in mind the following tips regarding food portions:

Use the Fat and Calorie Counter to look up the number of grams of fat and the number of calories in the foods you eat.

Saturated fat is found mostly in foods that come from animals like fatty cuts of beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, whole and 2% milk, butter, cheese, and lard. It can also be found in palm and coconut oil.

Trans fat is found in some of the same foods as saturated fat, such as vegetable shortening and hard or stick margarine. It can also be found in processed foods that are made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, for example, cookies, baked goods, fried foods and salad dressings.

Eat Healthy Foods From Each Food Group

Fruit_Graphic_Small.jpg

Focus on fruits. Eat a variety of fruits - whether fresh, frozen, canned, or dried - rather than fruit juice for most of your fruit choices. For a 2,000-calorie diet, you will need 2 cups of fruit each day (for example, 1 small banana, 1 large orange, and 1/4 cup of dried apricots or peaches).

Vegetable_Graphic

Eat more dark green veggies, such as broccoli, kale, and other dark leafy greens; orange veggies, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and winter squash; and beans and peas, such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, split peas, and lentils.

Calcium

Get your calcium-rich foods. Get 3 cups of low fat or fat-free milk—or an equivalent amount of low-fat yogurt and/or low-fat cheese (11/2 ounces of cheese equals 1 cup of milk) - every day. For kids aged 2 to 8, it's 2 cups of milk. If you don't or can't consume milk, choose lactose-free milk products and/or calcium-fortified foods and beverages.

Grain

Make half your grains whole. Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta every day. One ounce is about 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of breakfast cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta. Look to see that grains such as wheat, rice, oats, or corn are referred to as "whole" in the list of ingredients.

/Protein_Graphic

Go lean with protein. Choose lean meats and poultry. Bake it, broil it, or grill it. And vary your protein choices - with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.

Know the limits on fats, salt, and sugars. Read the Nutrition Facts label on foods. Look for foods low in saturated fats and trans fats. Choose and prepare foods and beverages with little salt (sodium) and/or added sugars (caloric sweeteners).

A healthy eating plan is one that:

Keep these healthy eating tips in mind

Tips for eating at home

Tips in-between meals

Tips when food shopping

Tips for eating at work or on the run

Tips for when eating out


Reference: National Diabetes Education Program, 2005 USDA Dietary Guidelines.