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

How to set weight loss goals and make them happen

When I talk to patients about a goal weight they are shocked when I tell them what an ideal weight should 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. All in all I can't object to the goal of 50 pounds but the plan for them getting there in 3 months is flawed.

The previous chapter talked about considering what motivates you. You might not have taken pen in hand and scribbled your goals on Post-it notes, but hopefully you thought about this. (If not go back and reread Setting Realistic Goals and come back when you have some clearly defined goals.)

So, time to set your goals in action. 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:

Goal: Planning
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.
Figure out when you are going to eat leftovers, when you're going to eat out, and when you'll eat a convenience meal.

Goal: Eat healthier
Stop drinking soda (including diet soda).
Clean out your pantry of processed / boxed foods..
Fill your house with nuts to snack on.
Fill your house with fruit to snack on.

Goal: Lose weight
Start a food diary and write down everything you eat. (See Why You Should Keep a Food Diary)
Buy a food scale.
Buy a scale for yourself.
Write your target weights for the week down each Monday on your calendar.

Goal: Exercise more
Plan your exercise days.
Join a gym.
Get your bike fixed.

You get the idea. It's one thing to have a goal and the second step is to figure out just how you are going to get to that goal.

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.