How can I control my weight?

When you control your food, you control your weight. The best food education you could ever get is logging what you eat on a daily basis for several weeks including the corresponding calories. Total these numbers every day and based on that information alone we can know if your weight will be going up, coming down, or holding. The amount of calories we eat determine how fat, lean, or just right we become.

For good health and weight control, follow these guidelines:
  • Eat a variety of foods to ensure good nutrition.
  • Eat more fresh, whole foods to get the most nutrients from each serving.
  • Keep food preparation simple. Many cooking methods take out nutrients and add in fat. A grilled chicken breast is a better choice than stuffed chicken in cream sauce, and a baked whole potato is healthier than French fries.
  • Make each bite and sip count! When foods provide a lot of calories -- but little nutrition -- they're said to have "empty calories." Sweets, sodas, alcoholic beverages, and refined foods are full of these. Choose water and nutritious foods instead.
  • Enjoy your food. As you begin changing your eating habits, you'll see that you can still enjoy your favorite foods. You may even discover some new ones. After all, healthy eating should be creative and pleasurable, not an exercise in denial.
Laura Katleman-Prue
Nutrition & Dietetics

Ultimately, to control your weight in a sustainable way, you have to fundamentally change the way you "think" about food. Your thinking is the root of the problem. 98% of the people who lose weight regain it within 3 years because they never changed the way they thought about food. Dieting is like pulling off the top of a weed. Unless you grab it by the root, by no longer engaging in the problematic way of relating to food by romanticizing it, your unwanted pounds will always return.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
One key to controlling your weight is to adopt a healthy eating plan that you can stick with for the long term. Stop thinking of "dieting" as a temporary phase during which you give up all your favorite foods - a period that will end in a few weeks or months, after which you can eat whatever you like. Instead, create healthy new eating habits that become part of your everyday life. Taking this approach will help you to lose weight gradually and keep it off.
Christopher Chiodo, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Your weight is determined partly by genetics; some people are born with a tendency toward overweight. But you can control your weight to a considerable degree by limiting how much you eat and getting regular physical activity. To control your weight:

Be physically active. Aim for at least 30 minutes of strenuous physical activity (such as fast swimming) or an hour of moderate activity (such as walking briskly) on most days -- more if you want to lose weight faster. But protect your feet with well-cushioned supportive shoes. Exercise not only burns calories, but it also builds muscle, or at least prevents muscle loss. This is important because the more muscle you have in relation to fat tissue, the higher your resting metabolism -- the rate at which your body burns energy when you're at rest. And the higher your resting metabolism, the more calories you burn. Exercise also helps prevent insulin resistance, a cause of diabetes and high cholesterol.

Find a diet that works for you. No single diet plan works for everyone, but if you follow a few general guidelines, you'll be well on your way to eating better so that you can meet your nutritional needs even as you try to cut calories. Eat plenty of vegetables and whole grains and relatively little meat, especially red meat. Use olive oil and other vegetable oils instead of butter, margarine, hydrogenated oils, and other sources of saturated and trans fats.

Be a defensive eater. Learn to stop eating before you feel stuffed. In restaurants, avoid oversized portions, share an entree, or choose an appetizer and salad instead of an entree. Share or skip dessert, too. Look for hidden calories: an 8-ounce glass of cola has 100 calories. So does the same amount of grapefruit juice (although it's healthier because it has more nutrients). Better to drink mainly water or seltzer, which have no calories.

Logging what you eat and the calories they contain is important if you’re trying to get your weight under control. This helps you get an idea of what your portion sizes should really be and the calories contain in food you choose.

Planning your meals is also important. Take time to come up with a weekly meal plan and shop for these items. Remember to include in between meals. You don’t have to strictly stick to what you have down for that day. You can mix and match from the entire weeks meals because of you plan you made. You have everything you need on hand in the cupboard or refrigerator should you feel like a pork chop in stead of chicken tonight.  

First thing in the morning, gather up your snacks/meals into a bag, your purse, lunch box or on to a corner of your countertop and you won’t even have to think about “what to eat”. Just grab it and eat it.

Today I will have Greek yogurt for breakfast with 2 strawberries on top, 2 to 3 hours later a protein/cereal bar, lunch-tuna on salad with a vinaigrette dressing topped with crumbled feta, 3 hours later my soy chips, 3 hours from there is dinner-grilled chicken breast and grilled veggie mix (onion, mushrooms, zucchini, and bell pepper). Remember veggies, cover one half of you plate.  2 hours later, for desert will be a high protein brownie and then the kitchen is officially closed.

If we answered this question on the basis of physical sciences alone, we unveil a simple answer: The First Law of Thermodynamics. Thermodynamics is the study of energy, and with regards to altering body composition energy is calories.

The First Law of Thermodynamics states the change in the internal energy of a system is equal to the heat added to the system minus the work being done from the system.

Translated Definition for Application: We will express energy as calories in this equation.

The individual will maintain their weight if:

Total Calories consumed per day = Total Calories expended per day

The individual will gain weight if:

Total Calories consumed per day > Total Calories expended per day

The individual will lose weight if:

Total Calories consumed per day < Total Calories expended per day


Eric Olsen

In theory, weight control is a simple enough proposition: To maintain body weight, the energy you consume in the form of calories must equal the total energy expended. If you consume more calories than you expend, you'll get fat, and there's no loophole through this grim biological fact of life.

To lose that fat, you need a caloric deficit; you need to expend more energy than you're taking in, which you can do by reducing caloric intake, increasing caloric expenditure, or both. In practice, though, it's more complicated, but by employing the simple exercise and diet strategies outlined here, you can reach your weight- or fat-loss goals and keep the weight off so you look and feel better and feel better about yourself.

Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

More About this Book

Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

An easy-to-follow programme for lengthening and improving lives. More than an exercise guide, this text is an effective tool for making meaningful lifestyle decisions to benefit long-term fitness. In...

Continue Learning about Weight Maintenance

Prevent Weight Gain With This Sweet Treat
Prevent Weight Gain With This Sweet Treat
Arm yourself against extra pounds by munching on pears. Yep, these fresh and juicy in-season treats contain two important types of antioxidants that ...
Read More
Eat Often and Stay in Control
Eat Often and Stay in Control
When Bruce Springsteen recorded Hungry Heart, he probably didn’t know that his lyrics, “Like a river that don’t know where it’s flowing, I took a wron...
Read More
How can I avoid gaining weight once I quit smoking?
One reason why many women are afraid to quit smoking is weight gain within the first year of quittin...
More Answers
How can I keep off weight once I have lost it?
Kirsi BhasinKirsi Bhasin
Here are the top 4 tips I give my weight loss clients for lasting weight loss:Support. Have fam...
More Answers

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.