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Successful Weight Loss Habit No. 2: Eating a Low-Calorie, Low-Fat Diet

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Updated March 11, 2010

It should also come as no surprise that the next part of successful weight loss involves diet. The majority of NWCR members reported eating a low-calorie, low-fat diet, with women eating an average of 1,306 calories a day (24.3% from fat) and the men eating about 1,685 calories a day (23.5%from fat). What's interesting is that about half of the members used a commercial diet program while the other half did it on their own. Regardless of which path they followed, the members ended up following the same type of diet. In addition, about 80% of members reported eating breakfast each day, which science has already shown leads to a lower BMI than people who skip breakfast.

Just some of the tricks they used to cut calories included restricting food, watching their portion sizes and counting calories. Not a big surprise, is it? What's clear here is that being vigilant about what you're eating is essential for dropping the pounds.

Creating Your Healthy Eating Habit

What you see from the NWCR members is that, again, there's no perfect diet that fits everyone. If that's the case, where should you start? Here's a hint - choose a plan you can see yourself following long-term. For many of us, diets don't work very well and some people find that making small changes to how they eat each day leads to more success, even if the the weight loss is slower.

With so many different approaches available, it may be confusing figuring out where to start. If you're interested in starting with small changes, the resources below will help you make a plan:

  • Healthy Diet Checker. The simplest place to start is with your current eating habits and finding out whether your diet is healthy or not. This quiz will help you get a handle on the habits you want to keep and the ones you should get rid of.
  • Pantry Makeover. Another place to start is inside your pantry and fridge. Keeping tempting foods around makes it so hard to stay healthy. This article offers tips about what to keep and what to throw away.
  • Avoid Diets and Make Real Change. Instead of changing how you eat overnight, use these healthy eating tips to make small changes without dieting.
  • 12 Weeks to Weight Loss. In this 12-week e-course, you'll find weekly nutritional goals that help you make small changes with a focus on adding healthier foods rather than taking things away from your diet.

If you're interested in a more structured approach or a diet, these resources will help you learn more about portion sizes, how to count calories and how to choose the best diet for you:

  • How to Calculate your Caloric Needs and Use it to Lose Weight. While the average calorie intakes for the NWCR members ranged from 1,300 - 1,600 calories a day, we all have different calorie requirements. One way to figure out how many calories you need is to calculate your BMR and activity level and reduce your calories from there.
  • Watch Your Portion Sizes. Do you know what one portion of protein should be? What about one portion of cheese? If you're not sure, this article will help you visualize what normal portions should look like.
  • Count Your Calories. Keeping track of calories is another way successful losers make sure they're eating less than they're burning. This site allows you to search for the nutritional and calorie content of a huge variety of foods. There are also free sites where you can keep track of your eating and exercise, such as Fitwatch.com.
  • Choosing the Right Diet Book for You. If you want to follow a diet, you're probably confused about which one is right for you. This article helps you choose the right diet for your goals and lifestyle.

Next

Successful Weight Loss Habit No. 1: Exercise
Successful Weight Loss Habit No. 2: Eating a Low-Calorie, Low-Fat Diet
Successful Weight Loss Habit No. 3: Self-Monitoring
Successful Weight Loss Habit No. 4: Being Consistent

Sources:

Shick SM, Wing RR, Klem ML, McGuire MT, Hill JO, Seagle H. "Persons successful at long-term weight loss and maintenance continue to consume a low-energy, low-fat diet." J Am Diet Assoc. 1998 Nov;98(11):1273.

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