The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to eat a healthy, balanced diet for life. Consume the right kinds and portion sizes of food and drinks to provide energy and maintain the health of body cells, tissues and organs. Lose weight by incorporating whole grains instead of refined flour, fresh vegetables, lean meat and low fat dairy. Remove sugar and processed foods for weight loss success.
Balanced Diet Basics
Eating a balanced diet means that you provide enough nutrients to satisfy your body’s needs. Eat a variety of foods from each food group and eat fewer calories, but make smarter food choices. The USDA recommends a balanced diet low in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sugars, salt and alcohol.
Encourage weight loss by burning extra calories through exercise. Gradually decrease the number of calories you eat instead of drastically cutting calories.
Consume two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables every day for an average 2,000-calorie daily diet. Eat three ounces of whole grain foods and have three cups of fat-free or low-fat dairy every day.
Lose weight by eating less than 10 percent of your calories from saturated fats and completely avoid foods with trans fatty acids. This includes most fast food, processed, refined flour products and sugary baked goods.
Restrict your fat intake to less than 35 percent of your calories per day and limit cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams per day. Select good fats over bad. Choose fish, nuts, lean meats, poultry, beans and low-fat dairy.
Temptations of Crash Dieting
Crash dieting is a tempting way to lose weight. Dieters see weight come off more quickly than those who follow a balanced diet plan. However, the majority of the weight loss is from water retention, and most crash dieters regain the weight just as quickly as they lost it when they return to their normal eating patterns.
Other drawbacks to following a crash or fad diet include interruption in brain and nervous system functions and body tissue development, problems with bone and muscular development and the inability to learn how to eat a healthy diet.
Tips to Maintain a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet to lose weight may be one of the easiest diets to maintain, but any diet or weight loss plan is challenging.
Lose more weight by not rushing through meals. You tend to eat more food when you rush, so chew slowly and enjoy your meal. Avoid eating when you are stressed or distracted. Mindless eating or eating while stressed can pack on the pounds because you are unaware of how much or even what you are consuming.
Determine if you are hungry, thirsty or just bored. It’s easy to confuse hunger pains with the need to hydrate, so drink a glass of water when you feel hungry to see if that satisfies your hunger urge. Choose a hobby or play with your children instead of eating out of boredom.
Maintain blood sugar levels and keep cravings away by eating small, healthy meals throughout the day. Jump-start your metabolism in the morning with a healthy breakfast, then graze on foods such as fresh vegetables, fruit, low-fat dairy and lean meat throughout the day.