Eating Healthy: the Basics

1. What is a healthy breakfast?
2. What is a healthy lunch?
3. What is a healthy dinner?
4. How much should I weigh?
5. How many calories should I be eating?
6. What is the best way to lose weight?
7. How can I keep my weight loss goal in mind and stay motivated?
8. What is a healthy weekly weight loss?
9. How to set weight loss goals and make them happen
10. How to keep a food diary, and why it is essential to successful weight loss
11. Are all fats bad for you?
12. Are saturated fats bad for you?
13. Are unsaturated fats good for you?
14. Are carbohydrates bad for you?
15. Is fiber good for you?
16. How to read nutrition/food labels
17. How to plan your weekly menus
18. Why should I eat less salt?
19. What do the sodium (salt) numbers mean on food labels?
20. What is The Mediterranean Diet?
21. Why eating vegetables is good for you
22. Why eating fruit and nuts is good for you
23. Why are cereals and whole grains good for you?
24. What are legumes, and why are they good for you?
25. Why is eating fish good for you?
26. Which fats and oils are good for you?
27. Are dairy products good for you?
28. Which meats should I not eat?
29. Is drinking alcohol good for you?
30. Is it important to measure your ingredients?
31. Are snacks good for you?
32. How to choose the right portion size
33. Can you lose weight with a smaller plate?
34. Eat healthier by cleaning out your pantry
35. Which oils and fats should I keep in my pantry?
35. Which oils and fats are good for you - and when should I use them?
36. Which carbohydrates are good for you?
37. What is the best chicken or turkey for you?
38. Are dairy products good for you?
39. Which nuts and seeds should I eat?
40. Is red meat like beef or pork bad or good for you?
41. Is eating dessert good or bad for you?
42. Is drinking soda bad for you?
43. Is drinking coffee bad for you?
44. How can healthy food taste good? Part 1
45. How can healthy food taste good? Part 2
46. How to eat healthy while eating out
47. Are vitamins and supplements necessary to eat healthy?
48. How to eat healthy while traveling


Eating Healthy: the Basics

What is a healthy weekly weight loss?

Almost every day I have patients ask me what they should weigh and how much they need to lose. I will admit that sometimes I am a bit evasive, saying such things as, "Start working on your weight, and I'll tell you when to stop."

Why am I not always more direct? Because folks can often be pretty unrealistic about their health and their weight. Usually people are shocked when I tell them what an ideal weight would be for them. While shock is their first reaction, folks usually say something like "Oh, I'll do that, it's easy for me to lose 50 pounds and you'll see when I come back in three months."

Man, oh man, do I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said that (and another dollar for those who return in three months and have not lost any weight at all). I have no doubt that this mentality comes from fad diet books and pills that repeatedly claim that people can easily lose that much weight in such a short period. Look, if it were true there wouldn't be such an obesity problem: people would lose weight and keep it off.

It's not true.

It is true that you can lose weight, keep it off and be healthier, but it takes time and it takes a little bit of effort. It also takes you having realistic goals. What sort of targets? Generally speaking, no more than a pound a week.

Now I understand that "12 pounds in 3 months" is not a very good sales pitch, but I believe that "52 pounds in a year" is. Why? Because there's great research to show that rapid weight loss (like 50 lbs. in 12 weeks) results in rapid weight gain: the so-called "yo-yo" diet.

The good news is that the research also supports your working at steady, careful, successful change - whether it's for weight loss or just being healthier. (50 pounds in 50 weeks works.)

So, time to set your goals. If it's eating healthier, take out your calendar and mark off the changes by week. How can you most easily make this a part of your life? Here are some suggestions for each weekly goal:

  • Sit down each weekend and plan the 21 meals for the coming week.
  • Make a shopping list for your meals and go shopping for great ingredients.
  • Stop drinking soda (including diet soda).
  • Start a food diary and write down everything you eat. (See Day 10)
  • Clean out your pantry of processed / boxed foods. Give them to a food pantry.
  • Change your snacks.
  • Fill your house with fruit.
  • Buy a food scale.
  • Buy a scale for yourself.

If weight loss is your goal, write your target weights down for each Monday on the calendar. The key is to be realistic while being ambitious -- balance what you want to achieve with what you can really accomplish.

Lastly, keep in mind that eating better and being healthier is not about 3 weeks from now or even 3 months or 3 years. This is about making significant lifelong change. Plan for that and you'll be successful for sure.