Tips for Healthy Weight Management

weight loss tipsDeveloping healthy eating habits isn’t as confusing or as restrictive as many people imagine. One of the keys to maintaining a healthy weight loss is to know which foods to eat, as well as avoid.

Following these guidelines doesn’t mean that you have to give up your favorite foods. As long as your overall diet is low in fat rich in complex carbohydrates and fibrous vegetables, there is nothing wrong with an occasional cheeseburger or indulgence. Just be sure to limit your frequency and portions.

The following guidelines are what you need to know to enjoy the rewards of a healthy diet:

1 Limit your total fat intake. Fat should supply less than 30% of your total daily calories.  Limit your saturated fats by choosing lean meats, light-meat poultry without the skin, fish, and low-fat dairy products. In addition, cut back on vegetable oils and butter—or foods made with these—as well as on mayonnaise, salad dressings, and fried foods.

2 Limit your intake of saturated fat. This is the kind of fat, found mostly in animal products, that boosts blood cholesterol levels and has other adverse health effects. It should supply less than one-third of the calories derived from fat.

3 Keep your cholesterol intake below 300 milligrams per day. Cholesterol is found only in animal products, such as meats, poultry, dairy products, egg yolks and shellfish.

4 Eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates should contribute approximately 30% of your total daily calories. To help meet this requirement, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and six or more servings of grains (preferably whole grains) or legumes daily. This will help you obtain the 20 to 30 grams of dietary fiber you need each day, as well as provide important vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (plant chemicals essential to good health).

5 Avoid too much sugar. Besides contributing to tooth decay, sugar is a source of “empty” calories and can contribute to insulin spikes, pre-diabetes as well as type II Diabetes.

6 Make sure to include green, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables—such as broccoli, carrots, cantaloupe, and citrus fruits. The antioxidants and other nutrients in these foods are regarded as increasingly important in helping protect against developing certain types of cancer and other diseases. Eat five or more servings a day.

7 Maintain an adequate daily protein intake. Protein should make up a good percentagef of your total daily calories. Choose low-fat dairy and lean meat sources.

8 Eat a variety of foods. Don’t try to fill your nutrient requirements by eating the same foods day in, day out. It is possible that not every essential nutrient has been identified, and so eating a wide assortment of foods helps to ensure that you will get all the necessary nutrients. In addition, this will limit your exposure to any pesticides or toxic substances that may be present in one particular food.

9 Limit your sodium intake to no more than 2,400 milligrams per day. This is equivalent to the amount of sodium in a little more than a teaspoon of salt. Cut back on your use of salt in cooking and on the table; avoid salty foods; check food labels for the inclusion of ingredients containing sodium.

10 Maintain an adequate calcium intake. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. Get your calcium from low-fat sources, such as skim milk and low-fat yogurt and dark green vegetables including bok choy, broccoli, collards, Chinese cabbage, kale, mustard greens and okra.

11 Try to get much of your vitamins and minerals from natural foods. Foods provide the “synergy” that many nutrients require to be efficiently used in the body.

12 Take high quality supplements, especially of the antioxidant vitamins E (200 to 800 IU daily) and C (250 to 500 milligrams daily). Even if you eat a healthy diet, it’s unlikely you will get the proper amounts of micro nutrients as most are now grown in nutrient deficient soil.

13 Maintain a desirable weight. Balance energy (calorie) intake with energy output. Along with regular exercise, eating a proper diet will help you maintain (or lower) your weight.

14 If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. That is one drink a day for women, two a day for men. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits. Excess alcohol consumption leads to a variety of health problems. And alcoholic beverages can add many calories to your diet without supplying nutrients.  When trying to lose weight, cut out all alcohol, or limit to one night per week.

If you follow the healthy guidelines above you will not only be able to lose weight, but you will be able to maintain your weight and enjoy great health. Eat healthy, exercise regularly and supplement properly – you will feel great and your body will thank you.

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