Losing weight is always a challenge, but you can create your own healthy diet plan that fits your lifestyle and keeps you strong and energetic while dieting. Consider calorie counts, types of food and portions when planning your diet. Make a lifestyle change, not just a short-term starvation plan, to succeed at losing weight and keeping it off.
How to Create a Healthy Diet Plan
Consider your calorie needs. How many calories you need depends upon your starting weight and activity level. Most women will see appropriate, gradual weight loss when eating 1,800 calories to 2,000 calories a day, but your caloric needs may differ. Nursing mothers should allow an extra 500 calories a day.
Base your diet on whole foods, including vegetables, whole grains, nonfat dairy products, fruits and lean meats. Avoid high-fat dairy products, sweets and greasy or fried foods. Select foods that offer a lot of nutrition for their calories. The FDA food pyramid suggests 6 ounces of grains, 2½ cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of milk and 5½ ounces of lean meat or beans for an adult woman on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.
Plan your meals. Include breakfast and snacks in your meal planner. Make sure that your meals work with your lifestyle. Do not plan cooking-intensive meals after a long day of work or a big breakfast on a hurried weekday morning. Making your diet plan work with your normal day will help you stick to it and make planning your diet worthwhile.
Go shopping. You may find more options at your local health food store than at a standard grocery. If you’re shopping at your usual store, stick to the edges of the store for the healthiest food choices. Stocking your fridge with plenty of healthy foods will make it easier to stick to your diet plan. Have the foods that work with your diet plan on hand to avoid temptation.
Allow for an occasional indulgence. If you have a sweet tooth, a 100-calorie snack bag or a sugar-free pudding cup may help you stick to your diet. Calorie-controlled snack options are also available if you prefer salty snacks. If you expect to splurge on a higher calorie or fat meal, take it into consideration and eat more lightly for a day or two.
- Avoid late-night nibbling and other bad habits.
- Dieting without exercise will be much less effective.