No matter where it comes from, a calorie is a calorie, and it takes 3, 500 calories to gain or lose a pound. Want to shed a perfectly respectable 1 pound per week? Carve 500 calories off your day by thinking through your healthy food choices and upping your exercise.
But make sure you're not cutting too many calories. Drastically reducing food intake could slow your metabolism and sabotage your efforts to build muscle, which is needed to burn maximum calories and be toned. To make calories count, choose nutrient-rich healthy foods with a mix of protein, carbs and fats at every meal for an overall balanced healthy diet.
Weight loss tips # 2. Consider nutrition first.
Eat plenty of healthy foods full of the six nutrients most often lacking in women's diets. The quality and length of our lives depend on our health; our bodies thrive only when nourished with optimal amounts of the more than 40 nutrients and 12, 000 phytochemicals found in minimally processed foods.
And, these also aid in weight loss. If you focus more on your health and less on your waistline, you will automatically eat more low-calorie, nutrient-packed healthy foods, like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nonfat dairy products and legumes, which help you maintain your weight.
Weight loss tips # 3. Learn how to control food cravings.
Cut out the specific items in whatever category—carbs, sweets, meat—gives you difficulty without cutting out the nutrition. Give pretzels the heave-ho but don't dismiss whole-grain breads. Has ice cream become a problem? Instead, snack on single-serving portions of yogurt.
Weight loss tips # 4. Set your own rules.
The best way to achieve that same clarity when you're trying to lose weight is to set some rules. Find yourself snacking on cereal at night? Make an only-for-breakfast rule. If you slip, no cereal in your house for a month! Tend to dive into the breadbasket as soon as the waiter brings it around? Set a one-starchy-carb-per-restaurant-meal rule. If you want the bread, tell yourself before you head out that you'll skip the potato or pasta that comes with your meal. To make the rules official, write them down.
Discover three more tips from Shape about a balanced healthy diet strategy that will help lead to effective long term weight loss.