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Two words: Food Tracking. Weight loss can be as simple as calories in and calories out, let’s keep it simple! Think of your nutrition and weight like a bank account that you actually want to create a deficit in. In order to create a deficit, you need to know exactly how many calories you will need to have in your budget for a normal day for your body to function. This is called your basal metabolic rate or BMR, it is dependent on your age, weight, height, activity level and gender.
Figure out your own BMR: http://health.discovery.com/centers/heart/basal/basal.html
BMR is the amount of calories needed to lay in bed all day or the basic functions of your body. If you have a very active life, you will need more calories. Knowing your BMR is a great place to start but it is also vital that you have a clear understanding of what you are taking in for calories each day. For weight loss it is imperative to start tracking everything you eat and drink that has calories. This will force you to get into the habit of conscious eating, reading labels, serving sizes and nutritional information as well as give you the knowledge of what you are taking in for calories. Track everything that you put in your mouth right down to the cream and sugar in your coffee or the butter on your toast.
Your nutrition is like a bank account--you want to create a deficit in your calories to lose weight. If you focus on cutting out 250 calories a day from your typical diet and focus on burning 250 calories through exercise you will lose 1lb of fat per week without feeling like you are starving yourself. This is because 1lb of fat equals 3500 calories so to lose 1lb in a week you need to cut out or burn off 3500 in that week.
By tracking your food, you will learn where your calories come from, where you can afford to cut back or spend a little bit more. You naturally gravitate toward the foods that will nourish your body and satisfy your taste buds while staying within your budget! Keep it real by making small, healthy but realistic changes to your daily food choices. Work with a Sharecare Elite Trainer to gain access to a dynamic food tracker that will help you figure out how to create your deficit! Everyone needs a coach along the way. Another great resource for food tracking is www.myfitnesspal.com, look me up and let me know you found me on Sharecare: coachweaver.
The old rule - less in and more out is easier said than done! A couple tips to help you reduce your weight are to pair your carbohydrate foods with your protein foods. Carbohydrates are our preferred fuel source and we do not want to decrease these too much but be aware of your portion sizes and pair with lean proteins. Use My Plate Method to help design each plate of food. 1/2 plate fruits and vegetables, low-fat or non-fat dairy, 1/4 plate whole grains, 1/4 plate lean proteins. Pair this with plenty of water and exercise and you will reduce your weight by 1 - 2 lbs. per week - which is a safe weight to lose weekly.
First and foremost start keeping a food log. Keeping track of what you eat is the number one key to success. Next eat breakfast. Choose whole grains, lean protein and a serving of fresh fruit. Start moving more. Join a gym, purchase a used exercise bike or start taking the stairs. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, lean protein and limit carbohydrates.
When it comes to losing weight, calories are king. Based on the body of research evidence to date, the type of diet that you are on (low fat versus low carbohydrate) matters little as long as the calories are restricted. A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found three strategies that helped with successful weight loss:
- Journaling: The women in the study who consistently keep food journals lost about 6 pounds more than those who didn’t journal. If you have ever kept a food journal or log, you would have likely noticed that just the shear thought of having to write down and admit that you wolfed down a handful of potato chips standing in your kitchen late at night, could, well, take your appetite away.
- Don’t Skip a Meal: Women who reported skipping meals lost almost 8 fewer pounds than non-skippers. When you skip a meal, you may become so intensely hungry that you are driven to eating anything that isn’t moving. Avoid this ravenous state of mind by eating at least three healthy, well-balanced, calorie-controlled meals daily.
- Avoid Restaurants at Lunch: The women who ate out at lunch at least weekly lost almost 5 fewer pounds, on average, than those who didn’t. This mirrors other studies that show that dining out frequently is associated with a higher body weight.
Losing weight takes a long-term commitment-- not days but months-- of sticking to a weight-reducing diet to lose any substantial amount of weight. Coupling a healthy, well-balanced eating plan with journaling your progress, eating meals regularly, and minimizing dining out until you reach your goal, may be the three key strategies that can help you actually reach your goal.
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Losing weight can seem overwhelming. Your best bet is to make small changes over time rather than resorting to extreme crash diets which are difficult to sustain. Here are three tips to help you get started:
- Downsize your plate: portion sizes have increased dramatically in the past 50 years. As a result, we're all eating too much food which translates to too many calories. Eating off of a salad sized plate instead of a dinner plate is an easy way to instantly cut calories.
- Load up on vegetables: vegetables are naturally low in calories so you can eat lots of them. They're also high in fiber which fills you up and takes a long time to digest, so they keep you full for a long time. By making half your plate vegetables you can automatically lower the number of calories you eat and stay full too.
- Plan, plan, plan! Waiting until you're hungry to decide what to eat practically guarantees you'll reach for something high in fat and calories. By planning 3 meals and 2 small snacks a day in advance, you'll make healthier choices which will automatically bring the numbers on the scale down.
When it comes to weight loss there is no one magical diet plan or specific food. In designing your nutritional plan, consider nutritious foods you like, or can learn to like, and that are available to you. In order to lose weight you need to take in fewer calories than you need to maintain your current body weight. Decreasing daily calorie intake to create a 500-1000 calorie per day deficit will result in an approximate 1-2 pound weight loss per week. This caloric deficit can be created from a combination of reduced food intake and increase in physical activity.
A well-balanced weight loss diet emphasizes foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats (or meat alternatives), and low fat dairy products. Focus on selecting foods that are nutrient dense. Nutrient dense foods are foods that provide you with the most amounts of nutrients for the least amount of calories. Fruits and vegetables are great examples of nutrient dense foods.
Also watch your portion sizes. Overweight and obese people generally need to learn how to eat less food at each meal. The goal is to eat enough food for energy, nutrients, and pleasure but no more. For dinner have one chicken breast instead of two, two slices of toast for breakfast instead of four, one sandwich for lunch instead of two, and one cookie for dessert instead of five. Low-fat foods are great choices but even too many of these can be disastrous to a weight loss plan.
Limit high-fat foods. High fat foods are accompanied by a lot of calories. Since high fat foods also tend to have a low satiety effect people tend to overeat these types of food – adding even more food and fat calories. Also try to limit your consumption of empty calories. Empty calories refer to those foods that provide calories with little to no nutrients. Potato chips, alcohol, candy bars, soda are all examples of empty calorie foods.
Drink plenty of water. Many times we mistake hunger for thirst. Keep a water bottle with you at all times throughout the day and sip from it regularly.
Truthfully, look at how much you eat out. Portions sizes are gigantic in restaurants. Look at the type of foods that you are eating. Think about sharing meals. Do you eat fried foods? One tablespoon of oil contains 120 calories. Fried foods can add a lot of calories. Do you drink sweetened beverages, such as regular soda or lemonade? A large beverage can be the amount of calories in small meal.
One basic thing you should remember is that you need to burn more energy than you consume. Just make sure that 'what' you consume is in the form of healthy, whole foods, putting as much color on your plate as you can. The brighter the better! Processed foods (most anything that is prepackaged in a box or container) contain a lot of refined sugars, excess sodium, simple carbohydrates and chemicals for added color or flavoring. Whole foods, meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and breads, etc., are packed full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, fiber and complex carbohydrates that take longer for your body to process, thus creating a more satisfied feeling. Those nutrient-dense foods will give you the energy you will need to exercise and go about your daily activities... all the while burning calories. And you'll FEEL great too!
Eat lots of plant-based whole foods. The fiber in whole grains, starchy veggies, and legumes will fill you up at a much lower caloric cost than foods full of oils, meats and dairy.
Sanitize your house. Get rid of the high-calorie snacks, so that if you really feel like having something that you know won't help your weight-loss efforts, you have to work to get it. Keep lots of healthy alternatives on hand instead. If you are a binge-snacker, a bag of baby carrots does a lot less damage than a bag of potato chips.
Proper nutrition is the key to weight loss. It doesn't matter the frequency of the exercise, the duration of the exericise, or the type of exercise unless you are eating properly. Nutrition comes first then exercise second. You won't lose weight unless you change the way you eat. This means eating smaller portions throughout the day. You want to eat 5 small meals a day and eat every 3 hours to keep blood sugars & insulin levels stable. It is the flucuating blood sugar levels that will prevent you from losing. Incorporate lean proteins such as eggwhites, chicken, turkey, fish with meals. Along with that you should be having complex carbohydrates that are low glycemic such as oatmeal, sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa, & legumes such as black beans, kidney beans, lentils, or chick peas. There is good fiber in these foods and will help keep you satiated. Adding fruits such as berries, apples, bananas are also good sources of antioxidants but be careful not to have too many since they do have sugar in them. Green vegetables are great also such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, escarole, etc for more antioxidants and are cancer fighting. They are low calorie foods that also help keep you satiated. Lastly, good fats are also needed to help burn fat. These are nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oil, fish oil, coconut & coconut oil, & avocado. Having omega3 fats are very beneficial for weight loss and for decreasing inflammation in the body. Basically, you want to have a lean protein, carbohydrate, and a good fat in each meal. This curbs hunger and helps your body stay stable with blood sugars & creates an environment for fat-burning. It is when you eat simple carbohydrates loaded with sugar that is refined and processed, that when you will get spikes in blood sugar and insuling preventing the body from burning fat and storing it more .
Food plays a major role in weight management. It can be overwhelming to think of overhauling your entire way of eating. So, start small.
- Eat less. Sounds obvious but those two words make the difference in weight loss. Instead of two cups of pasta, go with one and add more veggies. This small change can save over 200 calories!
- Understand serving sizes. Many people think a serving is larger than it really is. If you indulge in cookies, a standard serving equals just two cookies not six.
- Eat fruit for desserts or snacks. Try melons, berries, apples or pears.
- Eat more vegetables. Veggies are low calorie and weight loss friendly. Eat them at the beginning of a meal to fill you up on fewer calories.
- Beware of health halos. Just because a food is labeled as natural, fresh, organic or “gluten free” doesn’t mean it’s calorie free or even a healthy food. Read the nutrition facts panel to see how a particular food fits into your meal plan.
Great Question! Some nutrition tips on how to help lose weight would be:
- Drink a big glass of water 15 minutes before each meal.
- Eat a medium size salad first before eating your full meal. Be mindful of the salad dressing. There can be a lot of hidden calories in dressing.
- Don't wait until you are famished to eat. Hungry " yes ", famished, " no ". We tend to shove the first thing in our mouth when we cross the threshold from hunger to ravinous. This can sabotage our efforts to lose weight.
- Keep washed and ready to eat fruits and cut up vegetables on hand at all times in the fridge for quick grabbing.
- Try to avoid " Low Fat " or "Fat Free" labeled items which tend to be loaded with hidden sugar and chemicals to help the " food like substance" taste good.
- Try not look at the whole weight loss goal at once. Each time you choose to honor your body and your health by eating a nutritious and healthy meal you win! I always pose this question to my clients, " How do you eat an elephant?" One bite at a time, of course! By looking at each healthy meal as a step forward in the weight loss journey, you will give yourself the empowerment to continue moving forward towards your ultimate weight loss goal.
- I coach my clients by helping them " crowd out " the unhealthy foods they eat by eating more of the healthy and nutritious foods they love each day. By adding more healthy, fresh and delicious foods to your daily diet you tend to naturally crowd out the unhealthier choices.
- A great rule of thumb when choosing your food is to eat as much " a-live " food as possible. Anything that was made by God and was grown out of the earth.
- Eat as many foods in their natural state. They are jam packed with nutrients that your body needs and craves! This entails shopping the perimiters of the super markets. Take a look at your local market.
- Avoid eating processed foods as much as possible. This means avoiding the inner isles of super markets. Your best foods are found at the perimiter of the food store.
- Breathe fresh air deeply into your lungs on a daily basis. Its a great de-stressor and has been shown to uplift mood.
- Try drinking some Green Tea and Herbal Tea.
Nutrition and activity level are key for losing weight. There are a million different diets out there that claim they have the answer, but the biggest factor in weight loss is calorie intake. If you eat less calories than you burn, than you will lose weight. Since this is the case, I find it necessary for individuals trying to lose weight, to record their calorie consumption.
You may ask, how do I know how many calories I burn on a daily basis? This is based on many things, including your activity level, weight, height, and age. There are many websites out there that can help you calculate this number or you can do it yourself, by going to the following website.
If you need any assistance calculating this number, I too would be happy to help you.
Once you have come up with your number, you will want to consume about 500 calories less a week, to lose 1 pound a week, since 1 pound = 3,500 calories.
With that being said, not all calories are created equal. Meaning, not all calories will give you the feeling of fullness or give you the nutrients you need to keep up an active lifestyle. To help you lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle, I suggest the following nutrition tips.
- Eat Breakfast- We have heard it all before, but breakfast is a key meal as you are breaking the fast from the night before. It is setting your day up to be successful or a failure. If you don't eat breakfast you will be hungry and craving all types of foods high in sugar or salt.
- Consume fresh vegetables (not canned) at every meal
- Get your daily recommended amount of fiber
- Men = 38 grams/day
- Women = 25 grams/day
- 55% of your diet should be from nutrient rich carbohydrates, such as whole grains, vegetables, and fresh fruit.
- Include Omega 3 fats in your diet, such as walnuts, fish, or olive oil.
- Drink 8-10 cups of water a day, which will help distend your stomach and signal to your brain that you are full.
- Eat your Rainbow! Variety is key and if you add fresh food that is diverse in color, it will enrich your diet in key vitamins and minerals.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.