No matter what promises are circulating in the media, healthy weight loss is neither easy, nor is it fast. The Mayo Clinic stated this idea very well: “Fad diets may promise you that counting carbs or eating a mountain of grapefruit will make the pounds drop off, but when it comes to weight loss it’s calories that count.” Essentially, if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. That said, some calorie counting and healthy eating choices are necessary in order to get everything your body needs within the number of calories necessary for you to lose weight.
How much to eat. Daily calorie consumption varies for each individual, but most moderately active adults require between 1,800 and 2,200 calories every day for weight maintenance. With a consistent consumption of 500 calories less than daily needs, you can see an average of 5 pounds of weight loss every month. This may not seem like much compared to the promises of leading fad diets, but consider this — it’s permanent, and it’s all fat.
More produce, less fat. On average, people in the United States and other similar countries do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. Some households eat less than the daily recommended amount for an individual every week. Avoid baked goods with high amounts of sugar and refined flour. By limiting the amount of higher-fat foods such as meat (particularly beef and pork) and full-fat dairy and adding in more fruits and vegetables, you will see an improvement in your overall health.
Watch what you drink. The average human body needs nine to 13 cups of fluid every day just to meet the fluid exchange requirements. It’s estimated that about 20 percent of this is absorbed through food (provided you’re consuming sufficient fruit), and the rest has to be made up through beverages. Water is the healthy beverage of choice, but herbal tea or lower-calorie 100 percent juice are also good options. Soda pop has very high levels of sugar and calories, except for those with artificial sweeteners (which may have adverse neurological effects over time). Coffee drinks with added milk, sugar, chocolate or flavorings will also rack up the empty calories at an astounding rate. Water is not only a calorie-free way to get your daily requirements, it can also help you feel more full and curb the urge to munch when you’re not really hungry.