The Best Diet to Kick Start Weight Loss

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According to a 2006 Gallup poll, 56 percent of Americans say they'd like to lose weight. If you're one of them, a quick start to your weight loss plan can give you fast results that motivate you to keep going. Fortunately, shedding pounds fast isn't a pipe dream. It's not easy, but if you commit to a fairly strict diet regimen, you can kick start weight loss.

Counting Calories

  • Plan to reduce your daily caloric intake to about 1,200 calories per day. (Since most people consume between 2,000 and 2,200 calories each day, this is a significant calorie reduction for many dieters.) It's easy to underestimate how many calories you're getting, so be vigilant about keeping a food journal and measuring every portion of food before you eat it. To make sticking to your plan easier, measure and prepare several meals and snacks ahead of time so that you can grab them when you're ready to eat. If you have to guess the calorie count of a particular food, add about 200 calories to your best guess---it's better to overestimate than to underestimate. Sticking to this calorie count will help you to lose about two pounds a week

Choosing Foods

  • Plan to eat three meals and one or two snacks each day. Look for foods that will give your body the nutrients it needs and help you to feel full after eating, such as lean proteins, nonfat dairy products and lots of fruits and vegetables. Stick to grilled and baked foods, and bypass foods that are fried or smothered in butter or creamy sauces. Also avoid foods that have trans fats and saturated fats, including baked goods, fried foods and solid spreads like butter and margarine.

    Pass up starchy foods, including potatoes, white bread and white pasta. Because starch stores water in the body, cutting it out of your diet can help you lose 5 pounds of water weight within about a week. Limit your salt intake for the same reason.

Finding Balance

  • Don't eat more calories than you burn if you want to lose weight. Incorporating a daily workout into your routine can help your body shed even more pounds, and an hour of vigorous cardiovascular exercise can help balance out the occasional diet cheating.

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