Loads of research demonstrates people who log everything they eat — especially those who log while they're eating — are more likely to lose weight and keep it off for the long-haul. Start tracking on an app like MyFitnessPal when the pounds start sneaking up on you. It'll help you stay accountable for what you've eaten. Plus, you can easily identify some other areas of your daily eats that could use a little improvement when it's written out in front of you.
Eating right and watching your weight are key to a healthy future. What's missing? Exercise, of course. A regular routine, if right for you, will help you burn more calories, feel more energized and build lean muscle mass. Check with your physician before beginning and exercise routine. For tips on making exercise part of your life, check out the President's Challenge, an interactive website that helps you get fit no matter your age. www.presidentschallenge.org
"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL
This is a tricky question. You can eat whatever you want and lose weight as long as you stay in your calorie range. Theoretically, you could eat candy bars all day and lose weight. But you probably wouldn't want to. Why? Because it would be very hard to stay in your calorie range if you don't eat nutritious foods. Healthy foods help you to feel strong, energized and satiated. Empty calorie foods don't provide your body with the nutrients you need to live an active, well life. And when you eat junk food, you're likely to get hungry more often and overeat as a result.
But what if you want your weight to stay the same? The calculator can figure out how many calories you should eat to maintain weight as well. This information is helpful for many healthy eaters. If you are at a healthy weight and want to maintain your body size, you should make sure that you don't eat too much or too little. For some adults, that means consuming a 2000-calorie diet. That's the number that is referenced on the Nutrition Facts label. But many people are larger or smaller than average, or are more or less active than normal and have different calorie needs.
There are many approaches to weight loss and there is no set ideal method that works for all people, which is why so many different diets and exercise regimens exist. While some methods are more effective for each individual person, not all weight loss methods are equivalent, and studies suggest that some approaches are healthier than others. That being said, one of the most commonly effective weight loss methods is counting calories. In its most basic form, calories consumed minus calories expended will result in weight gain if the result is positive, or weight loss if the result is negative. However, this is far from a comprehensive picture, and many other factors play a role in affecting healthy, sustainable weight loss. For example, there exist conflicting studies addressing whether or not the type of calories or foods consumed, or how they are consumed, affects weight loss. Studies have shown that foods that require a person to chew more and are more difficult to digest result in the body burning more calories, sometimes referred to as the thermic effect of food. While the increase in burned calories may be marginal, foods that are more difficult to digest such as vegetables generally tend to be healthier and provide more nutrients for fewer calories than many processed foods.
“Diet and exercise are a marriage that should never divorce,” said Giancoli, noting that the benefits of exercise aren’t restricted to the sheer number of calories you burn during thirty minutes on a treadmill. (Need one of those, by the way? We have some favorites.) Instead, research shows that muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, proving that “muscle mass is a key factor in weight loss.”
Spoon Guru nutritionist Isabel Butler (MSc, ANutr) recommends that “the best way to reduce weight and maintain the weight loss is by simply eating a balanced and healthy diet, without refusing yourself particular foods… If you do cut out foods, you need to make sure your diet is still balanced and you are getting the nutrients your body needs from other sources.”