Nutritional Strategies

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Anyone that has ever tried to lose weight will likely reflect on how difficult it can seem at times to reduce their caloric intake and eliminate their excess body fat. Many individuals claim to be able to lose weight by simply exercising all of the time and eating whatever they want.

While this works for some individuals, exercise alone will not be sufficient for most people that set out to lose weight. As such, dietary intake and nutrition become integral parts of the journey towards a successful weight loss program.

This article provides information on dietary and nutritional strategies that you can implement to support and form the foundation of a successful weight loss program. No amount of push-ups or time on the exercise bike can completely strip away the added effects of eating two cheeseburgers and a large fries every day.

You need to form a solid approach to your dietary intake and change the way you eat every day, not just when you are attempting to lose weight. In other words, effectively and safely losing weight, and thereafter maintaining your optimum weight, is more about incorporating a healthy, well-balanced and nutritious dietary regime that becomes part of your lifestyle. By following the dietary and nutritional advice within this article and throughout this website, you will be much more likely to successfully manage your weight over the long run.

Every effective weight loss program is composed of three different elements: a nutritional element, a physical element and a mental element. The intent of this article, and many additional articles located on our website, is to discuss the nutritional aspects of effective weight loss.

Many believe in the misnomer that you must essentially starve yourself to effectively lose weight. Not only is this a very unhealthy approach, but it is also unnecessary and detrimental to the success of your weight loss program. Individuals that drastically decrease their caloric intake end up decreasing their Basal Metabolic Rate. By doing so, they will decrease the number of calories their body burns on a daily basis through involuntary body functions, and hence decrease the rate at which they are able to lose weight.

Reduce Caloric Intake

Dietary and nutritional aspects associated with safe and effective weight loss are actually fairly simple to understand and implement. For example, you will need to consume 3,500 fewer calories than your body burns to lose one pound of body weight. The example below is designed to provide a solid approach to losing weight in a safe and effective manner:

    diet and exercise
  • You set your weight loss goal to effectively and safely lose 2 pounds of excess body weight per week, This is a very doable, safe, and reasonable goal.

  • Based on the math, you will need to eliminate 7,000 calories per week from your dietary intake (or 1,000 calories per day) to meet your goal.

  • You determine that you currently consume approximately 3,400 calories per day.

  • You will need to decrease your daily caloric intake to 2,400 calories per day to meet your personal weight loss goal of losing 2 pounds per week. By doing so, you will create a caloric deficit of 7,000 calories, enough to safely lose 2 pounds of body weight per week.

Although this seems very simple, there are a few additional factors to consider when decreasing your caloric intake.

  1. Eliminate calories derived from foods that do not provide nutritional value such as highly processed foods, foods that are high in sugar and fat, and foods that provide a high number of empty calories (calories that do not provide vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates or amino acids). Soda is a perfect example of an empty-calorie food to eliminate.

  2. Do not replace sugary foods with sugar-free or low-fat alternatives. These products leave you feeling less full and may make you crave more sugar or fat. In short, eating a 700 calorie meal that is derived from healthy foods is much better than eating seven 100-calorie sugar-free cookies.

  3. Eliminate the consumption of diet soda. The sugar substitutes are actually sweeter than sugar and leave your body craving more. In addition, the ingredients in many diet sodas tend to stagnate fat loss by preventing fat cells from shrinking.

  4. Drink as much water as you comfortably can. Water will refresh and rejuvenate your body like no other beverage, and will assist in the removal of the excess body weight you are seeking to eliminate.

Common Misconceptions About Nutrition and Dietary Approaches

  1. If I eat only one meal per day, I will lose weight.

  2. Actually, consuming one meal per day may cause you to gain weight. Scientific research has shown that eating only one meal per day will decrease your metabolism, and more of the calories consumed from the one meal you eat will be stored as fat. By consuming only one meal per day, your body will automatically go into starvation mode and store more of the calories that are consumed to ensure that it has an adequate level of energy reserved for times of severe food shortage. Your body is not able to determine that the starvation mode that it has entered is self-imposed by you consuming only one meal per day.

    The best approach to safe, effective and permanent weight loss is to consume five or six small meals that are calorie-conscious, balanced, healthy, nutritious and derived from whole foods. All healthy weight loss programs should include an exercise or physical activity portion as well.

  3. Supplements will replace all of the nutrients that I do not get through my diet.

  4. This is incorrect as well. Supplements are intended to compliment the hard work that you are doing, not serve as a standalone approach to nutrition. For example, avoiding vitamin C from food and then expecting a multivitamin to meet your daily needs of this important vitamin is an ill-conceived plan. Your body is designed to intake and digest real food, not pills. In addition, your body will crave food and you may find that you are binge eating, which may actually lead to weight gain. Add nutritional supplements to your dietary regimen to ensure that you are getting enough vitamins and minerals, not as a replacement for food.

  5. I do not need to exercise if my nutritional habits are sound.

  6. No matter how good your nutritional habits are, exercise is an important part of dieting and your overall lifestyle as well. This is not to say that you need to go to a fitness center and work out for hours every day. If your nutritional habits are sound, a 30-minute to 1-hour exercise routine performed 3 to 4 times per week is sufficient. Think of exercise as an additional support function for your weight loss program. From the previous example, you already know that you will burn 2 pounds of excess body weight per week based on your reduction in dietary intake. By adding an exercise routine to your weight loss plan, you will create an environment where you are burning additional calories per week and improving your physical health at the same time. This approach will increase the rate at which you are able to effectively and safely lose weight.

    In addition, exercise has been shown to improve mood, reduce food cravings, improve cardiovascular endurance, increase lean muscle mass and strength, improve coordination, balance and flexibility, and provide a whole host of additional benefits like strengthening your heart, maintaining bone density, and minimizing the probability of contracting a degenerative disease. If nutrition forms the walls and floor of your "weight loss house," think of exercise as the roof. It is important that your "weight loss house" be constructed on a solid foundation - an overall approach and lifestyle that is conducive to good health, fitness and mental well-being.

Additional Information

We have dedicated an entire section of our website to weight loss. Within the weight loss section, you will find information related to Determining Your Optimum Weight, examples of how to determine the number of calories your body typically burns per day by calculating your Basal Metabolic Rate, creating a system to monitor your results and stay on schedule through defining your Personal Weight Loss Goals, implementing a Healthy Nutritional Strategy that is conducive to promoting safe and effective weight loss, and regularly performing an effective Weight Loss Exercise Routine that complements your dietary regime.

Our goal is to provide you with solid, scientifically-proven data on all aspects of good health, fitness and mental well-being. To this end, we have created entire sections that discuss a large number of topics related to nutrition, weight training, cardiovascular training, supplements and physical injuries, to name a few.

Our overall intent is to provide you with tangible information that is easily implemented into your lifestyle. Remember, good health and fitness is obtained through a lifestyle that is practiced over a lifetime.