Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nutrition 103: Guidelines for Weight Loss

When diets don't work and weight is regained I want to remember that a healthy weight is achieved by gradual and permanent changes in lifestyle habits. Here are a few guidelines that I want to note:
  • Decrease the amount of total fat eaten. Fat has more than twice the calories of carbs and protein. Even small amounts of high fat items contain large amounts of calories.
  • Eat a variety of foods and do not restrict certain foods from your diet. Limit dessert foods to one or two times a week instead of after each meal. Forbidding foods often makes them more desirable, and may undermine weight loss efforts.
  • Eat a good breakfast. 
  • Try not to eat before going to bed. Food eaten at night is not burned up and is more likely to be stored as fat.
  • Slow down - don't eat so fast! Eat single portions of food to give the body time to signal that it is full. Give the body time to think! 
  • Eat foods high in complex carbohydrates like breads, cereals, pasta, rice and other grains, fruits, and vegetables. 
  • Exercise. Walk, job, bike, and rowing are great examples of aerobic activities. 
  • Do not starve yourself! Low calorie diets may slow a body's metabolism, making it harder to lose weight. 
  • Lose weight slowly, 1 to 2 lbs a week is desirable. The body cannot burn off more than a few pounds of fat per week. Faster weight loss is probably due to muscle breakdown.
  • Set reasonable weight goals.

Tips from my friend, Heidi:
- Eat six lighter meals per day; this helps raise metabolism
- Avoid complex carbohydrates at dinner
- Reduce sugars
- Do not skip meals; this decreases metabolism 
- Increase proteins, decrease carbohydrates. Snack on lunch meats, nuts, oatmeal with fruit, protein shakes, etc.
- Calculate protein in bars and shakes. Subtract "Dietary Fiber" from "Total Carbohydrates". Total Carbs should be within 10-12 g of Protein. 

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