Eating healthy to lose weight is one of the best decisions you can make. Success begins with change but the only changes that will work in the long run are the ones you can live with long-term, says the Calorie Control Council. Starting simple and making a few changes at a time is a good strategy. With time, your healthy choices will result in weight loss and a new-and-improved you.
Watch Your Calories
Burning more calories than you consume is the key to losing weight. Counting calories isn’t much fun but you’ve got to do it if you’re serious about weight loss. Many foods are deceptive when it comes to calories so it pays off. You don’t have to count calories forever but you will need to do it for a while until you become accustomed to how much food you should be eating and what that looks like. Don’t cut calories too severely, however. Men need at least 1,600 calories per day and women need at least 1,200, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Balance Your Diet
A healthy diet needs to have a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Carbohydrates should make up 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories, with proteins being between 10 to 35 percent and fats being between 20 to 35 percent.
Concentrate on adding complex carbohydrates to your diet. Beans, legumes, potatoes, corn and whole grains are good choices. Simple carbohydrates include fruits, milks and sugars. Protein should come from lean meats, tofu and soy products.
Limit saturated and trans fat found in butter, ice cream, cheese and high fat meat choices. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are “good” and what you need to look for on labels because they are associated with improving cholesterol levels and decreasing the risk of heart disease. Find good fats in olive and canola oil, omega-3 fish oils, avocados and nuts.
Select low-fat or fat-free versions of dairy products.
Increase Fresh Foods and Fiber
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best fuel for your body. They have vitamins and minerals you need and most are low in calories. Make your meals colorful and experiment with seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Fiber is important to any healthy diet because it helps regulates digestion and it helps keep your blood sugars and cholesterol levels normal. You should include 20 to 25 grams of fiber in your diet daily.