This article is brought to you by our wonderful biggest loser newsletter sponsors – The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge. Guest Blogger Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD is the Registered Dietitian for the Biggest Loser Resort.
So you want to lose weight. But, where do you start? While the following recommendations may be simplistic, if done consistently, they will bring about noticeable changes.
1. Eat Breakfast: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It will jump-start your metabolism and improve performance. You will notice less cravings and preoccupation with food, and higher energy levels. Studies show that people who start their day with a big healthy breakfast, tend to eat less calories overall. Food is fuel! You need fuel in the morning, not right before bed.
2. Read Nutrition Labels: When reading nutrition labels, refer to the %DV listed to the side of each nutrient. You should look for 20 percent or more for fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron, and 5 percent or less for total fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.
3. Watch Portion Sizes: Take the plate challenge: ½ of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, ¼ whole grain and ¼ lean protein. Aim for 3-4 ounces of cooked lean protein, ½-1 cup cooked whole grain and two cups or so of vegetables.
4. Plan Ahead: If your plate should be a good combination of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains, your shopping cart, refrigerator and cupboards should be too. You will only be as successful as your environment allows you to be. Try planning meals for the coming week while making a grocery list to ensure you have everything on hand.
5. Eat Fiber-Rich Foods: Focus on complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Fiber will keep you feeling fuller longer.
6. Choose Lean Proteins: Choose poultry, fish, beans, tofu and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Prepare with low-fat cooking methods and remove any visible fat, skin or bones.
7. Be Active: The recommendation for exercise is 30-90 minutes per day. More exercise burns more calories resulting in a bigger calorie deficit, which leads to more weight loss. It’s also a great way to get in a healthy mindset. If you start your day with exercise and a healthy breakfast, you are more likely to follow that healthy pattern the rest of the day.
8. Eat Out Less: Meals eaten out are higher in calories, sodium and fat, and lower in whole grains, lean proteins and vegetables. Try sharing an entrée and ordering a side salad. By doing this, you will get a smaller portion of the protein and grain, and more volume with the salad.
9. Avoid Fad Diets: Rather than dieting, focus on lifestyle changes that will allow you to lose weight… and keep it off. A year is going to come and go; either you can lose the weight and gain it back, or you can lose the weight and keep it off.
10. Don’t Drink Your Calories: Soda, juices and other high-sugar drinks are empty calories and do not satisfy hunger cues. You will quench your thirst, but it won’t displace any food calories, leading to excess calories and excess weight.