Three plates of weight lose food

Three plates of weight lose food

There is a lot of argument about the best way for weight loss, especially when it comes to a nutritious diet. Research has found that low fat and low carb diets can be equally effective in helping people lose weight.

However, the best weight loss diet is the one you can stick with the longest. Still, if you aren’t sure how to lose weight, follow these five steps designed around weight loss and diet plans that are generalized and can work for almost everybody.

Track What You Eat

Losing weight is somewhat like budgeting. You’ll have to take inventory of what you’re spending calories on, and then it’s time to start trimming back. Track what you are eating for three to seven days, preferably weekends and at least two weekdays to lose weight.

Recognize Empty Calories

A table topped with plates of food and bowls of foodA table topped with plates of food and bowls of food

Go over your diet plan and identify the foods that are high in empty calories. Empty calorie foods have a high amount of added fat, sugars, or energy and less fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 

These foods have a lot of calories but little nutritional value. Here are some foods that have empty calories:

  • Snack foods- crackers, granola bars, cereal, chocolate, candy chips
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages- sweet tea, alcoholic beverages, coffee drinks, flavored milk, sodas, most juice drinks
  • Dairy- yogurt, ice cream, flavored milk and creamers
  • Fried foods- French fries, fried chicken and fast food 
  • Processed meats- hot dogs, salami, bologna, sausage, pepperoni, bacon
  • Baked goods- cookies, cakes, pastries, muffins, desserts, sweetbreads

Reduce Empty Calorie Foods

a white plate topped with meat and vegetables
a white plate topped with meat and vegetables

Now that sources of empty calories are identified, work towards cutting them out to lose weight. A rule of thumb is to spend fewer than 10% of your calorie budget on empty calories. For instance, if someone is losing weight on a 1500 calorie diet, they’d need to keep empty calories to 150 per day or less. That’s a half cup of ice cream, 12oz of beer, or 15 potato chips. For weight loss, in particular, save space in your diet for small portions for what you like, but fill up mostly on healthy foods.

Replace Empty Calories

Vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and small amounts of healthy fats are suitable for your waistline and good for your health.  For weight loss, at least half your non-starchy plate vegetables, and pair with a lean protein such as beans, chicken, seafood, fish, or tofu.

Round out your meals with whole grains, starchy vegetables like potatoes or corn, fruit, and small amounts of healthy fats, including avocado, nuts, and olive oil.

Use A Smaller Plate To Lose Weight

Even if you are mostly eating healthy foods, your weight loss efforts can be hindered if you overeat. Portion control is crucial for weight loss. A convenient way to eat smaller portions is to use smaller bowls, plates, and utensils. 

Start recognizing the serving sizes listed on food labels and compare them to what you usually eat. Chances are, you might end up eating way more than you realize.