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I am not sure whether you are concerned about preventing obesity or whether you are already overweight and concerned with reducing your weight.
This answer will cover good nutrition tips which will help those who need to lose weight or prevent weight gain.
Most of the food consumed is used by the body to supply energy.
The food types are very important and in this modern age when we are concerned with speed and time or lack thereof, our food choices are generally laden with fat and sugars (simple carbohydrates). The truth is that fat and sugars do flavor food so a person is fooled into believing that the food he is eating must be nutritious because it tastes so good! I'm afraid not!
That is not to say that nutritious food is not tasty. That is part of the problem. Vegetables have such a bad reputation because when they are not cooked properly they are watery and definitely NOT good to eat. Most veggies are water-soluble and if you cook them in too much water and also if you overcook them, ALL the goodness can be found in the water, along with the taste, rendering the poor vegetable tasteless and having a poor texture.
Steam veggies or cook them in the microwave in a minimum amount of water.
- Flavour your food with herbs that you can even grow on your windowledge and cut down on salt. If you haven't got time to grow your own, they are readily available in the supermarkets. Just throw out the ones you've had for years because they - like anything else- lose their flavor with time.
- Fruit contains natural sugars so when the sweet tooth calls, reach for a strawberry (minus the sugar and cream!). Do not be horrified by the suggestion that you eat strawberries without sugar. Allow your palate to actually taste!! Most apples are sweet and to keep costs down buy fruit in season. Even carrots can be sweet - but it does depend on the growing conditions.
- If you want to eat chocolate try 70 % cocoa but allow yourself time to adjust. You will not like it at first - it tastes bitter - but your taste buds will adjust and eventually it will be all you want. You must persevere; it's worth it.
- Use natural low fat yoghurt instead of cream in soups and stews. It will dramatically reduce the fat content and the flavor will not be adversely affected.
- Monitor your bread intake. You may be eating far more than you realize. Put more salad on your plate instead of bread; replace sandwiches with salads - just take care not to load on mayonnaise.
- For puddings and desserts, eat fruit salads with flavored, low-fat yoghurt. If you like crunch, sprinkle oats on top.
- Don't eat too late in the evening. Although the main factor in weight gain is calories in (consumed) versus calories out (burned) and if you consume more than you use you will pick up weight, your body metabolizes (breaks down) foods better during the day when you are more active so you will burn more of the evening meal calories if you eat at least 2 to 3 hours before retiring to bed.
- Keep a food diary if you cannot understand why you gain weight or why you can't lose weight as you will find - as long as you are completely honest - that you eat far more than you realized. Once you realize that, it will be far easier to control it. You will also notice the triggers that make you want to eat - boredom, depression - and occupy your time better so that you are not bored or find another way to help with depression - talking is a great therapy.
- Enjoy your food.
I hate to be simplistic, but what it all comes down to is don't eat too much and do exercise. I'm not trying to make fun. I struggle with my weight in a very serious way. But I know from experience that (for me at least) it is just a matter of discipline. I gain weight easily and so I have be very disciplined in order to lose weight and keep it off. I eat a healthy diet, but I eat too much. For me, and, I think, for most people, it really is a matter of eating less and exercising more.
If you want to lose weight, cut out sugar and processed foods. So much of what we eat and drink is full of sugar. If you stick to only fresh foods, including the natural sugar found in fruits, you will be much healthier.
The best general advice for you might be: Try different strategies and see what works for you. Positive results are often the best motivation for continuing this kind of course of action.
For some more specific advice: Steering clear of foods that are high in sugar can have a significant impact on body fat.
Certain foods are processed efficiently in the body, and quickly used as energy.Sugar, however, is stored and not burned. This leads to body fat that would not be taken on if less sugar were consumed. You don't have to stop eating dessert to reduce sugar intake. Rather, curbing the consumption of daily things like soda and candy can help.
Giving up soda in favor of water or black coffee can get you started in the right direction.
Also, experts say that eating breakfast helps to promote energy consumption in the body, leading to weight loss.
One of the best ways to track your calories is to use an online fitness food tracker. They've got hundreds of foods already in their data bases that come up with the caloric count as you enter it in. Just google calorie trackers, food trackers, or calorie counters. The one I use is myfitnesspal.com. These calorie counters help you make goals and track your calorie intake so you can plan your meals better. When I first started, I was amazed at how small a "portion" or "serving" really is. I've learned that portion size matters as well as the types of food you eat. Many of these sites have exercise trackers that can tell you how many calories you burn doing certain activities, too. That way you can know exactly what's going into your body and how much of it you are burning in order to meet your goals.
These are all great suggestions, but please be sure that from a medical standpoint you are indeed overweight before you try any of these. Many young women do not have a realistic perception of their bodies, particularly today, when there are so many terribly thin women in advertising and in the media in general. Talk to your parents and your pediatrician to see if you really should be losing weight, please.
As a word of encouragement, let me say that if you are under thirty years old, you are still in the time of your life when it is easiest to get your weight under control. Do not waste this time! It only gets more difficult as you age.
If you turn on the television before noon or scan the headlines of just about every single magazine in the grocery store line, you'll see that there tends to be a new diet or work out trend every single week. But most of the above posts have narrowed it down to the brass tax. To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. To maintain weight, you have to consume the number of calories you are burning.
In my experience, the biggest caloric culprit is(like others have said) sugar, which is easy to overlook in its many forms. Your best bet is to get in a habit of healthy eating. For example, don't substitute a "diet" soda for the regular soda you are drinking every morning. Just cut out the soda completely. Eat a well-balanced diet of things that are in their most natural state: meat, fruit, veggies, nuts, beans, etc. If you can train your body to crave food in its most natural form, you are less likely to emotionally eat, overeat, and/or eat things that are overall mostly bad for you.
If you are interested in pursuing the topic further, Michael Pollan writes about the subjects of food and nutrition, and his books are outstanding.
One thing I would emphasize is moving towards complex carbohydrates and away from simple sugars. It's important to maintain a relatively stable blood glucose level, because spikes in blood sugar release insulin, and insulin triggers the body to store energy as fat.
The other posts offer some excellent advice. Since I have battled weight issues for most of my life (I once weighed 350+ pounds, but am now at 224 pounds), I can offer some sound suggestions. First, stay away from sodas with sugar; any liquids with sugar (even juice or milk) should be taken in small amounts. Avoid fast food restaurants, though many do offer some nutritious items. Try to avoid snacking; if so, consider fruits and veggies and not candy or chips. Be sure to exercise in some manner for at least an hour each day.
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