What we weigh is all about intake versus output. If we have more intake than calorie output, we gain weight. If we have less, we lose weight. It takes both cutting back on calories AND regular exercise to have a successful long-term weight loss.
I usually recommend that people keep a food diary for about a week before starting their diet. It is a little time consuming but often very eye-opening to see what we are actually consuming in terms of calories.
It is also very important to start getting regular exercise. That doesn’t have to mean joining a gym. Exercise can be a simple as walking for 30-45 minutes- 4 days per week. The American Academy of Family Physicians has a program called AIM (Americans in Motion). One of the things they suggest is buying an inexpensive pedometer that will keep track of your steps each day. The goal is to reach 10,000 steps each day as a form of exercise. Three years ago, we tried this through the clinic where I practice, and it is not terribly hard to reach the 10,000 step per day goal!
In terms of intake, it is more about quantity, than types of food. A balanced diet from all food groups is still recommended with portion control being very important. It helps to use a salad plate, rather than a dinner plate, to “fool” yourself into feeling you have more food than you actually do. It also helps to sit down and eat rather than eating on the run. Drink lots of water, and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. This will help fill your stomach and help limit intake of higher calorie foods.
When eating out, share a meal between 2 people, or bring half your meal home. Most restaurant portions are 2-3 times more food than we actually should be consuming at a meal.
When all else fails, focus on what God would have us do. Our bodies are His dwelling place, and He deserves our slimmest, happiest, healthiest selves.
Yours in Him and Good Health,