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How to Achieve Healthy Weight Loss

written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 6/9/2010

Losing weight has a lot more to do with what you eat than with how much you eat. Learn how to eat the foods you love to achieve a healthy weight loss.

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    What You eat Matters

    USDA Food Pyramid Many people think that in order to achieve healthy weight loss they have to cut out most of the foods they love, and instead focus on items that have been coined “diet” foods. The problem with this approach is optimal nutrition is usually not being met through a restrictive diet which can result in binges, feelings of wanting to give up, and an overall lack of incentive to keep up with this kind of diet. Instead, focusing on healthy choices and moderation, in addition to maintaining a fitness regimen can help anyone young or old to live a healthy, happy, fit lifestyle. A few tips and tricks might be just what you need to stay on track to lose the weight.

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    Know What You’re Eating

    nutrition label It is important to understand exactly what you are eating. The first step is to create a spreadsheet and do your homework to find out what ingredients are in your favorite foods, in addition to documenting the calorie and fat count for each one. If you eat out a lot, go to the restaurant websites or call them to find this information. For anything purchased from the store that doesn’t come with a label, like oranges, do a quick search online for the nutritional information.

    This helps you recognize the foods on your spreadsheet that might be higher in calories and fat, so you know which foods to eliminate or cut back. You can also determine which foods should be eaten more often in your diet to help you reach weight loss goals. The bottom line is, in order to be successful, you have to be satisfied with what you are eating. Instead of nixing the nachos and margaritas from your diet, consider finding ways to enjoy these foods in a healthier way - the spreadsheet will help you to do that.

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    Focus on Nutrition

    spagheti 

    Instead of focusing so much on the amount of fat and calories a particular food has, focus on the nutrition your body gets from these foods. Foods rich in nutritional value are usually low in calories and fats, so it’s a good idea to take the foods you love and simply incorporate healthier ingredients into them. For example, adding less pasta and replacing it with squash cut to mimic the pasta is the perfect way to enjoy the spaghetti you love without worrying what it will do to your waistline.

    Fresh vegetables and fruit should be consumed with every meal, along with small snacks rich in monounsaturated fats. Protein is necessary to ensure proper nutrition and healthy eating habits. But remember not to deprive yourself of the foods you actually enjoy; instead, incorporate foods you love into a healthier meal. If these points are met throughout the day, chances are you will get rid of extra weight and keep it off.

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    Don’t Forget to Get Active

    runner While eating a healthy diet of whole, natural foods is a big part of healthy weight loss, exercise offers multiple benefits to those who want to get in shape. Regular exercise of at least thirty minutes, three days a week helps to build strong, healthy bones and maintain a healthy heart. Additionally, it burns a lot of extra calories throughout the week which promotes weight loss. Engaging the muscles through exercise helps to burn extra calories and improve strength, body image, and muscle tone; as you can see, there are many benefits to committing to regular exercise.

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    References

    Help Guide "Healthy Eating: Tips for Planning a Healthy Diet and Sticking to It'' Retrieved June 7, 2010

    Mayo Clinic "Healthy Diet: End the Guesswork with These Nutrition Guidelines" Retrieved June 7, 2010

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    Image Credits

    Images:

    Wikipedia/Commons

    Flickr/Public Domain