How to build a healthy eating plan

The key to successful weight loss is to eat healthy foods in moderation. So when you're thinking about adopting a new eating plan, start by taking a long, hard look at your current diet. Here's your guide.

How to build a healthy eating plan

Your plan of attack

  • Your target is to eat more natural, unprocessed foods and cut down on take-out, instant meals and fried foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar and salt.
  • Choose more fruit, vegetables, fish, lean protein and unsaturated fats.
  • And don't forget whole grains such as whole wheat bread, brown rice and cereals that still have their fibre-rich outer layer.
  • The benefit of whole grains lies in the fact that they take a long time for your body to break down; they satisfy your hunger but don't pile on the calories. Try to have three servings every day.
  • These are nutrient-dense rather than calorie-dense foods that provide substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals, and fewer empty calories.

Nice and simple

  • The beauty of the healthy eating plan outlined above is its simplicity. There's no need to spend hours counting carbohydrates, fat grams or calories.
  • You simply learn which foods to eat more of, and which foods to cut back on. Even the small changes in calorie intake that this will generate will make a difference.
  • Provided that you continue to take in fewer calories than your current level, and that you burn off more energy than you take in as food, you will soon start to shed unwanted pounds.

Sustaining weight loss

  • Once you have made a decision to manage your weight, it is something you need to continue to do for the rest of your life.
  • Your weight loss plan should add up to a life-long strategy, not a short-term (and potentially dangerous) fix.
  • The encouraging news is that  minor adjustments can contribute to significant weight loss over time.

A note about calories

  • When referring to energy intake and expenditure, we usually talk about "calories," but we're actually talking about kilocalories, or Cal (also known as the "large" or "food" calorie).
  • This may seem confusing, but it's because a calorie, in strict scientific terms, is a tiny unit of heat energy equal to that needed to heat one gram's worth of water by 1ºC.
  • So it's easier to measure in food calories, each of which is equal to 1,000 small calories.
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