Successful Weight Loss is a Matter of Quantity and Quantity


It is something we cannot do without – food. It is also obvious that some of us are eating far too often and far too much. North Americans in particular suffer from weight control issues1. Yet, it is not simply the amount and frequency that has resulted in a growing number of obese and overweight Americans. It is the quality of food and the choices made.

If you want to lose weight, you need to address these issues. You need to consider what is wrong with your diet. You can then make plans to change your eating patterns, food choices and lifestyle. It all begins with the decision to lose weight. This is a very important choice that will affect other aspects of your life.

Making A Plan for Weight Loss

When you decide you need to lose weight, you must then begin to implement phase one: putting together an inclusive plan. It should include all facets of your life. You need to prepare a list of guidelines for developing a basic, healthy plan2. This should look at such things as:

  • Your personal state – physical, psychological and emotional
  • Your actual weight versus your hoped-for-weight – be realistic
  • The type of weight loss program that you believe will work best for you
  • Your support system
  • Your ability to adhere to the program
  • Any special needs to make the plan work
  • Any special equipment (exercise or otherwise) you need to purchase or have access to

Once you have mulled over and considered the basics, you can then look at establishing the essentials of your new, healthy meal plan.

Health Eating

Healthy eating begins with a good, solid breakfast3. Any meal plan must take this into consideration. Without breakfast, you may not have the right amount of energy to function for the rest of the day. This will lead to snacking and seeking out food high in energy, low in nutrition and high in calories.

When planning your healthy meals, you need to also keep in mind such things as how to achieve a balance. This will involve you understanding what foods contain what and how much of them you need. Dieting is not and should never be a fad. It is a solution to a food-related eating problem. When you understand the connection between food and weight loss, you can manipulate your diet to address weight increases preventing them from occurring.

MyPlate and Meal Planning

You do not need to go to expensive measures to find out what is good for you to eat. Along with your medical professional, the information is available through government sources and online resources. The most common form of information on what everyone should and needs to eat used to be the USDA Pyramid. Recently, however, this has been replaced by a more visually evocative and considerably more applicable plate4.

MyPlate provides you with hints and information on how best to address your nutritional needs5. It lets you know what foods contain what and how to best work with them to fulfill your caloric and nutritional needs. MyPlate, like the USDA Pyramid, is all about balancing calories and nutrients so you can stay healthy, eat healthy, and be a healthy weight.

The issues MyPlate discusses involve not only the quality and content of food but also the quantity. Portion size is important when you are eating to lose weight6. The right serving sizes are essential if you are to satisfy your hunger but not overeat. MyPlate also offer suggestions on the best type of snacks to prepare for yourself and your family. Replace sweet snacks with fruit, vegetables and wholesome treats. Fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber speeding up the passage of fat and waste products through your body. Through meal planning, you can discover healthy substitutions for snacks and treats.

Substitutions, Choices and Planning Resources7

Dieting is frequently about substitution. You need to rewire your brain and appetite to accept healthy choices for fast-food and commercially prepared snacks. While low calories substitutions are available and replacements for sugar and fat can be purchased, it is often the healthiest choices that remain the simplest and most effective. You can add a sugar substitute to drinks and make foods using it. You can opt for brown sugar over white. You can also simply switch to something that is all-natural. This is easier when it comes to snacks.

Fruit in various forms can replace chips and cheesies. Low fat food options, if the fat meets the requirements for being nutritionally sound, are better than whole fat food options. Instead of fat cuts of meat, replace them with lean. Beans can replace some meat products. Soy now comes in a variety of attractive looking and delicious forms. Instead of red meat serve chicken and other types of poultry. Fresh vegetables are superior in quality and nutritional value to canned goods.

Make your choices wide and varied and do not hesitate to turn to knowledgeable resources such as government programs and diet programs. Some help you count calories and specify specific nutritional value of foods. Some resources such as books will take you step-by-step through the planning process. They will provide meal suggestions, outline a dieting plan and guide you through a trip to the grocery store. Other nutritional plans will simplify the entire process by taking over the planning process for you. Not only does the program plan your meals, you will also eat food products allowed under the program to help you balance calories.


Planning a diet can be compared to planning a military campaign. It involves many different variables including developing a strategic approach. You must be willing to “take orders” by following healthy meal guidelines or the tenets of a healthy weight loss program.

You can let others create the weight loss plan for you or design it yourself. You can follow the rules laid out by MyPlate or adhere to those of a diet guru. You can think and plan ahead, creating a balanced meal plan. You can also sign up for a prepaid plan which can offer advice, provide you with the guidelines of their plan and, in some cases, even make the food for you. The choice is yours. What is essential is that you come to realize that there is a distinct and irrevocable connection between your choices in food and your weight gain or loss.


1 Kelly, E. B. (2006). Obesity. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.

2 Fishback, Alexa L. (2008). Women’s Health. The Daily Fix. Rodale Press.

3 Kant, A. K.; Andon, M. B.; Angelopoulos, T. J. and Rippe, J. M. (2008). Association of Breakfast Energy Density with Diet Quality and Body Mass Index in American Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 1999–2004. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 88 (5), 1396-1404.

4 Nelson, J. and Zeratsky, K. (2011). Step Up to Myplate, the New Food Icon. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic at: www.mayoclinic.com/health/myplate/MY01784.

5 USDA (2011) Dietary Guidelines. Retrieved from US Department of Agriculture at: www.choosemyplate.gov/guidelines/index.html.

6 Nelson, J. and Zeratsky, K. (2009). “Portion Control – Downsize Portions for Better Weight Control.” Retrieved from www.mayoclinic.com/health/portion-control/MY01101.

7 Mayo Clinic (2011). “Weight Loss Basics.” Retrieved from  www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss/MY00432.


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