This number can vary wildly, depending upon your metabolism and how physically active you are. If you're the kind of person who puts on 10 pounds just smelling a slice of pizza, then your daily caloric intake should stay around 2000 calories for men, and 1500 calories for women. Your body mass also plays a part in this: More calories are suitable for naturally bigger people, and fewer calories for smaller people. If you're the kind of person who can eat without putting on a pound, or you're physically active, you may want to increase your daily caloric intake by 1000-2000 calories, a little less for women. Also consider that the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you need to function. The bad fats are saturated and trans fat. Someone on a 2000 calorie diet should consume less than 20 grams of saturated fat a day, and trans fat can and should be avoided all together. The good fats are plain fat, which you should eat about 30% of your calories in, and poly- and monounsaturated fats.
You need to consume fat from foods for your body to function correctly. However, it's important to choose the right kinds of fats: Most animal fats and some vegetable oils are high in the kind of fats that raise your LDL cholesterol levels; the bad cholesterol. Contrary to popular belief, eating cholesterol doesn't necessarily raise the amount of cholesterol in your body. If you give your body the right tools, it will flush excess cholesterol from your body. Those tools are monounsaturated fatty acids, which you should try to consume regularly. These are the good fats, and they help lower the bad cholesterol in your body by raising the good cholesterol. Foods that are high in monounsaturated fatty acids are olive oil, nuts, fish oil, and various seed oils. Adding these "good" fats to your weekly diet can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. Consider sautéing vegetables in small amounts of olive oil, and grabbing a hand full of mixed nuts for a snack instead of a candy bar. There are also various supplements that contain these good fats that you can take daily.
You need to eat foods high in carbs since they are your body's main source of energy. The trick is to choose the right carbs. Simple carbs like sugar and processed flour are quickly absorbed by the body's digestive system. This causes a kind of carb overload, and your body releases huge amounts of insulin to combat the overload. Not only is the excess insulin bad on your heart, but it encourages weight gain. Insulin is the main hormone in your body responsible for fat storage. Eat plenty of carbs, but eat carbs that are slowly digested by the body like whole grain flour, hearty vegetables, oats, and unprocessed grains like brown rice. These kinds of food not only contain complex carbs that are slowly digested by the body, but are usually higher in vitamins and other nutrients that are beneficial to the body and they are higher in fiber which keeps your digestive system running smoothly.
- Eat larger meals early in the day.
Your metabolism slows down towards the end of the evening and is less efficient at digesting foods. That means more of the energy stored in the food will be stored as fat and your body won't absorb as many nutrients from the meal. Many American families tend to have their big meal at dinner time. The problem with this is your day is basically over, and your body's need for energy isn't as great as it is early in the day. This large meal, late in the day, can also make you feel tired, and who wants to feel too tired to have fun now that the workday is over? Try eating a medium-sized meal for breakfast, a large meal for lunch, and a small meal for dinner. Better yet, try eating 4-6 small meals over the course of your day. That keeps your body fueled for the whole day without dumping a large amount of food into your stomach, which your body might have a hard time digesting.
- Don't skip breakfast!
Many people do because they don't feel they need to eat breakfast, or they just don't feel hungry first thing in the morning. Research shows that people who skip breakfast are usually fatter than those who eat a well balanced breakfast. Although you might not feel hungry first thing in the morning, if you skip breakfast you will feel extra hungry come lunch time, making you more prone to overeating for your afternoon meal. In addition, skipping breakfast makes your body think that you are starving. After all, by lunch time, you may not have eaten in almost eighteen hours. For the rest of the day after you skip breakfast, your body will store up most of the energy you get from food, instead of allowing you to burn it, in anticipation of food scarcity. Not only will this cause you to be tired during the day when your body isn't using the food that you ate, but the extra energy stored up will result in weight gain.
Avoiding simple carbs and fatty foods doesn't need to be boring. Have fun not only with the food, but with the meal. Eating with family and friends makes the meal more satisfying than eating in front of the TV or in the car on the way home from work. You will also eat more slowly when enjoying your meal, which gives your body time to feel full before you burst a button; your brain needs about 20 minutes to get the signal that you are satisfied (To be More precise: It is a region in the brain called the hypothalamus) , if you eat too fast you will overeat, your stomach will get bloated and you will still feel hungry. There are now on the market a new type of "plates for eating slowly" that keep your food warm while you enjoy, these totally new ceramic "heat retentive plates" remain hot for more than 30 minutes to keep food warm and can be handled safely with the bare hands. There are more creative cooking resources available to us than ever before. You can find great tasting recipes in magazines, books, and right here on the Internet. Eating baked fish three or four times a week can get boring, so do a little recipe hunting to find more exciting ways to prepare your meals. If you make of eating slowly a pleasant experience you will acquire an habit that prevents overeating and obesity
- Buy non-fat or reduced fat foods.
This is done not to avoid getting fat, because eating fat will not make you fat. And it's not about eating fewer calories. It's about control. Control what kinds of fats you put in your body. For instance, olive oil has many health benefits, so buy non-fat or reduced fat salad dressing and add a table spoon of olive oil to the jar. You'll have a salad dressing that tastes great, and is also better for your health. So buy the non-fat foods so you can replace the missing fat with "good" fats. Remember, you do need to eat a moderate amount of fat each day. Fat is something that can be very deceiving. For example, if you're trying to lose weight, you're going to look for food with low fat content. However,there are some foods that have good fats. These fats are monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. These fats add calories from fat, and so does trans fat and saturated fat, so they combine, which can be confusing. It's important to look at the saturated and trans fat content. If you see 20 calories from fat on the label, but 0g of trans fat and saturated fat, that means that there is polyunsaturated fat and/or monounsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat are good for you. They protect your heart and increase 'good' cholesterol. It's good to have enough good fats, but all good things have to come to an end. Also make sure to keep in mind that sometimes it can read 0g of trans fats on the label, but can still have trans fats. Take a look at the ingredients list; if it says, "partially hydrogenated" anything, that means it contains trans fat.
- Give yourself a cheat meal.
Cheating doesn't mean pigging out on all the wrong foods once a week, it means enjoying a food you really love once a week. Have a couple slices of greasy pizza on Sundays, or a big slice of double chocolate cake on Saturdays. This cheat meal will help you stick to the change in diet, and in some ways it's actually good for your body. Special occasions, such as birthdays in the family, count as cheat meals.
- Avoid excess amounts of alcohol.
You know that heavy drinking is bad for your body, but it's also bad for your will power. A heavy night of drinking could send you to the fridge pigging out on all the wrong foods. However, many studies show that a beer or glass of wine a day is actually good for the body. Wine contains anti-oxidants which help fight illness and that moderate amount of alcohol can help you relax. Excess caffeine can also be bad for the body since caffeine stimulates your body into producing insulin in the same way that carbs do.
- If you feel tempted to eat fatty snacks like chips, once you start eating the bag, it's going to be easy to give in. Do not buy them in the first place, and do not start eating it if others are serving chip, and you'll soon forget about those chips in the store and concentrate on other things.
- Losing weight is good as long as you're still at a healthy weight. It's not good to be too underweight unless you're naturally small.
- Acquire the habit of eating slowly; it will get you satisfied with less calories and will prevent overeating and obesity with all its consequences.
- Eating healthy will give you some health benefits, but you won't achieve the full benefits possible unless you exercise. Exercising doesn't have to be hard, and you don't even have to break a sweat. Just go for a short 30 minute walk four times a week will greatly improve your health. Start out slowly, if you must.
- Eat slowly as part of any weight loss plan or eating healthy plan; it helps digestion, prevents overeating and obesity.
- If you consume more calories than your body needs each day, your body will store the excess energy as fat. This is a mistake that many people make when it comes to weight loss. Regardless of how much you exercise, overeating will lead to weight gain. In industrialized countries, that excess body fat is unnecessary. We are no longer hunter/gatherers. Your next meal is as close as your local grocery store (assuming you are living in the city or the suburb) and we don't need extra energy stores to hold us over till the next meal.
- Use extra virgin olive oil when cooking. It's purer, and is better for your heart than other kinds of olive oil. The darker the better. Furthermore, "light" olive oil has as many Calories as extra virgin olive oil -- the "light" refers to the color and flavor intensity. Unfortunately, though, using extra virgin olive oil when cooking at higher temperatures ruins the flavors that make it "extra virgin". Soybean and canola oils are not very good contrary to previous belief. They actually stimulate fat production and storage.
- Consider eating leafy greens like Kale, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens and Swiss Chard. They are packed with nutrients and will fill you up very quickly. A simple sautee with olive oil, garlic, a little salt and pepper and you have a surprisingly tasty meal that is very nutritious.
- This takes patience. You won't see a drastic drop in your cholesterol level or weight or increase in your energy level immediately. You need to give the changes in diet some time to kick in. You may start to notice changes a couple weeks later.
- Check out spices like Turmeric, Cardomom, Cumin and Cayenne. Studies say these have great antioxidant properties (especially in the liver) and the heat will get your heartrate up and metabolism going.
- Have a positive and upbeat attitude. If you start your new diet thinking, "This is something I have to do," instead of, "This is something I want to do," then you've already failed before you started.
- Adding whole, unrefined grains to the diet can add valuable vitamins and minerals that would otherwise be lost. However it can completely upset our digestion as well. Many animals that eat grains have 4 stomachs they use to digest them adequately, and ferment them so they can uptake nutrients. Humans have only one stomach, and if you introduce grains without first fermenting or sprouting them you may experience digestive upsets. There are various anti nutrients in grains (like phytic acid) and enzyme inhibitors that will prevent mineral absorption and lead to deficiencies and digestive problems. To remedy this, take oatmeal and soak it the night before in a little bit of yogurt. This will make it taste slightly sour, but make it more digestible. Sourdough bread is also another good example.
- Choose wheat (brown) bread instead of white bread. Processed carbohydrates such as those found in white bread are harder to draw nutrients from, and therefore are seen as empty Calories.
- Smoothies are great for breakfast. Combine the following:
- 4 medium-size strawberries
- 1/2 cup of skim milk or soy milk
- For protein, try substituting beans for higher calorie foods like boneless skinless chicken breasts, or tuna. Not only will you be getting additional phytochemicals from the plant based protein, it will not have the harmful saturated fat content. Remember that even an orange has more than 5% of its calories from protein!
- Non-fat yogurt can make a great snack, and its healthy bacteria can help with various stomach problems.
- Carry water with you at all times. Try to drink water in place of soft drinks and other flavored beverages. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces per day.
- Consider eating organic. Organic food isn't made with the use of a lot of harmful chemicals, or other harmful processes. Not only is organic food good for you, but it is sustainable and good for the environment too! Other foods can be extremely harmful to the environment.
- Read the labels on everything you eat. Don't just buy something because it is marketed as being "healthy." Lots of companies trying to sell their food off as healthy when really it is full of high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, and hidden sugars. This is also the best way to learn about a product. It gives you almost all the information about that product you'll ever need. If you're trying to lose weight, try to choose foods with low calories. If you want to gain weight for a football team or some such reason, you are going to choose food with lots of calories. However, too many calories, not enough exercise, and eating too much at one time, can make you fat.
- Avoid processed foods. They are unnatural so are more difficult for your body to break down which means they will lie in your gut making you feel bloated and lathargic. Eat things which are not messed with such as raw fruits and vegetables, brown rice, wholewheat pasta and so on.
- Don't drink diet fizzy drinks. The artificial sweetners are much worse for you than real sugar. If you can't give them up, make the real thing a very occasional treat.
- Seek solace in the fact that once you are used to eating fresh, healthy food you'll really begin to like it. You will stop craving cookies, chips, fries - everything that was damaging your body to begin with.
- Eat before you shop so you can focus on your grocery list without having any unnecessary cravings.
- There is a vibrant debate in health circles about whether organic food is healthier. Some believe that the chemicals in conventional foods are just as safe and healthy as the expensive organic alternatives. Organic food advocates would argue the opposite. Everyone agrees that organic options have just as many calories as non-organic options. So even if it is organic, make sure you pay attention to your calorie intake.
- You should always consult your doctor before making drastic changes to your diet and your lifestyle.
- Excess body fat is hard on your body. It's hard on your heart because it needs to work extra hard to push blood through your larger body. Your body builds extra veins that run through the extra body fat and has to work harder to push blood through those veins.
- Excess body weight is also hard on your muscles and joints. Carrying around extra weight puts more pressure on your knees, hips, and back. While this might not have a huge effect in your youth, you will feel it as you get older.
- Any drastic change in your diet can cause constipation, so make sure you eat a lot of dark green leafy vegetables, and other naturally high fiber foods. Your digestive system will typically adjust after a week or two, but you should consult your doctor if it continues. (Other good sources of fiber include: flax seed, psyllium, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and beans!-- Remember, you can always look at the nutrition facts to see the daily percentage of fiber given in different foods. For fresh, unpackaged foods, you can look up nutrition facts online; although, it usually won't ever hurt you to eat fresh, unpackaged fruits and veggies!)
- Make sure there isn't a lot of unhealthy food in your house that can tempt you. Give or throw away the foods you shouldn't eat. You can't eat what you don't buy!
- Please do not underfeed yourself. Even if you have extra body fat, do not let yourself go hungry. That is worse than being fat. Eating the right food and exercising daily is a much better way to lose weight!
- SUGAR DOES NOT = FAT. That is a common misconception. The truth is, that high sugar foods are considered "fatty" because typically, those are the foods that have the most fat and calories. Consider chocolate: a typical chocolate bar has over 13 grams of fat and 200 calories. The sugar is not to blame, just what is assoicated with it. Sugar does not turn into fat in your body.
- Don't ever under-eat. Going hungry or skipping meals will actually make you put on weight. Your body will think you're experiencing famine so will hoard all the fats you ingest to see you through a time of little food. This will make you feel lathargic, depressed and listless.
- Diets don't work. Don't think you can just eat well for a few months then go back to a diet of junk food and expect to stay slim and healthy for the rest of your life. You need to completely revolutionise your lifestyle. It's hard work but it's worth it.
Related Tips and Steps
- How to Calculate Your Body Mass Index (BMI)
- How to Lose Weight by Eating Slowly
- How to Eat Slowly to Avoid Overeating
- How to Live a Long Life
- How to Drink Water for Health
- How to Evaluate Your Eating Habits
- How to Eat Properly
- How to Lose Weight With Juicing
- How to Sauté Vegetables
- How to Be an Earthy Girl
- How to Avoid Trans Fats
- How to Treat a Low Blood Glucose
- How to Eat out and Lose Weight
- How to Eat a Healthy Diet Inexpensively
- How to Train Your Body
Sources and Citations