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Weight Loss starts with a Solid Meal Plan

fresh luxurious salad

The statistics are becoming frightening. The rate of overweight and obese American children and adults has increased steadily over the past few decades. The answer for some is to go on a fast fad diet. This is one of the ways to lose weight fast that people see as believable. The only problem is that research indicates that losing weight in this manner is not effective. Even those who become part of a weight loss program face the difficulty of keeping the weight lost off.1

In order to help Americans fight this battle of the bulge, it is essential to adopt a sensible and well-balanced approach. One of the best weight programs in the world is designed for you, applied by you and maintained by for. This may be achieved by finding the right weight loss program that helps you identify your problem, takes into stock your particular body issues and helps you learn how to implement the necessary changes and integrate them into your life. It may be possible to locate suitable online weight programs that fit this description. You may also be suited to a managed weight loss plan. Yet, probably the best way to lose weight appropriately and healthily is through putting together a viable meal plan.

What to Look for and Where

Creating the right meal plan does not simply involve sitting down and writing out a daily menu. This is a start, but it is not enough. You need to look into what comprises your daily food intake. You need to look at such things as calories, nutrients, portion sizes, meal designs or plans and substitutions. While there are several sources for this type of material, including library shelves, book stores and nutritionists, one of the best starting points for this is the United States Food and Agriculture web site. They have information on one of the building blocks to all good diets – MyPlate.2

MyPlate and the Food Pyramid

The MyPlate is a recent addition to help Americans identify a healthy diet. Its intent is to illustrate by using a common food-related item, a plate, what to eat and how much. The Myplate icon replaces the former long-lived Food Pyramid. The image of a plate is perceived by several experts as being easier to relate to and simpler to understand.

The message of MyPlate is helpful when you are considering what to eat and how much. The virtual plate reveals one half of the plate filled with vegetables and fruit. One-fourth of the same plate contains grains. The final fourth of the plate consists of protein. This could be meat, fish or poultry. A small circle, representing a cup, contains dairy. This helps you decide the basic amounts of each type.

The emphasis on the need for vegetables and fruit is reflective of the areas where most Americans fall down in the nutrition department. While they eat too much salt, fat, refined foods, particularly grains and sugars. Meanwhile, they do not eat sufficient fresh fruit and vegetables. Americans also consume too little amounts of whole grains (not to be confused with wheat or white grain) that are high in fiber, seafood low fat milk or even milk products. A full 35% of the caloric make-up of the average American diet consists of sugar additives and solid fats.

Both MyPlate and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans3 promote healthier choices. The intent is for people to realize what they are eating and how much they should eat. The message is to encourage individuals to eat what is good for them in the right amounts. The sites contain suggestions as to what needs to be replaced. For example:

* Do not consume large portions. This is applicable to both healthy and unhealthy food products

* Read the labels. Look at how much sodium, sugar and fat foods contain. Opt for healthy alternatives or the same product with less of such ingredients

* Drink low fat milk or water instead of those full of sugar and artificial flavor

Why?

Nutritious recipes focus on making sure there is a balance of the right types of food in your diet. This means the restrictions of certain foods and food groups. More fiber helps the gastrointestinal system work smoothly and effectively. Decreased fat and meat prevents the ingestion of too many carbohydrates. Sugar appearing too often in meal, often hidden in the ingredients of fruit drinks, pop and other drinks, increases the chances of tooth decay and obesity.4

Adjusting the diet to include low or no fat substitutes aids in the decrease of non-essential nutrients in the system and gets rid of “empty calories.” Consuming more fruit and vegetables help fight-off various diseases and disorders. This is the result of immune enhancing antioxidants present in a wide assortment of vegetables and fruit.

Reading labels is also important. Research indicates this not only to be the informative thing to do, but it can also help you stay on your diet.5 As for reducing the serving sizes – research shows that when you give larger portions, people tend to eat everything. The result is increased incidences of obesity.[6] Put less on their plate and make the meal filling. They will have sufficient nutrients and calories. They will also avoid such things as hypertension, high cholesterol, cardiovascular problems, obesity and type-2 diabetes.

Conclusion

Meal planning involves many different aspects of preparatory work and implementation. Consult the USDA web sites for further tips on what and what not to eat. You can still enjoy your food while eating right. It is simply a matter of opening your mind, changing your diet and finding out how good healthy food can really taste.



References

1 Chapman, K. (2010). “Can People make Healthy Changes to their Diet and maintain them in the Long Term? A Review of the Evidence.” Appetite. 54(3): 433-441.

USDA (2011). “Choose MyPlate.” Retrieved from www.choosemyplate.gov/.

3 USDA (2011) “Dietary Guidelines.” Retrieved from www.choosemyplate.gov/guidelines/index.html.

Benjamin Caballero, B. (2007). “The Global Epidemic of Obesity: An Overview.” Epidemiologic Reviews. 29 (1): 1-5.

5 Mandal, B. (2010). “Use of Food Labels as a Weight Loss Behavior”. Journal of Consumer Affairs. 44:516–27.

6 Piernas, C. and Popkin B.M. (2011). “Food portion patterns and trends amongU.S. children and the relationship to total eating occasion size, 1977-2006.” Journal of Nutrition. 141(6):1159-64.

DISCLAIMER

The content provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Our content is not medical advice and you should seek a licensed physician or health professional regarding all health issues. WEIGHTLOSS.US takes no responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, or application of medication which results from reading this site.