Weight Management Tips — Diet

Successful weight management involves reducing the amount of calories you eat, increasing your exercise level, and making lifestyle changes. This information will help you understand how you can make changes in your diet to affect your weight.

A calorie is a measurement of energy. Just about everything we eat has some calories, and we need a certain amount of calories every day to keep us going. Some types of foods have more calories than others.

Carbohydrates and protein contain 4 calories per gram, and fat contains 9 calories per gram. This is why cutting down on the amount of fat you eat can help you lose weight.

You can lose about 1 pound a week if you reduce your calorie intake by 500 calories a day. To lose one pound, you need to cut 3,500 calories out of your meal plan or exercise enough to burn off 3,500 calories. If you cut 500 calories each day for a week, that adds up to 3,500 calories (7 days times 500 calories = 3,500 calories).

Adding exercise to your daily routine can speed up the process.

Most people need a daily diet of at least 1,200 calories a day. If you eat less, you could be missing important nutrients your body needs. It’s important to take a multivitamin and calcium supplement if you are on a weight loss plan.

Here are some important tips to follow to lose weight:

  • Eat at least 3 times a day. Smaller meals spaced throughout the day can reduce the urge to snack on high-calorie foods.

  • Start with a good breakfast every morning. Remember it’s important to “break the fast” and jump-start your metabolism for the day. Skipping meals can lead to eating extra calories at the end of the day.

  • Bake, broil, grill, poach, or steam all of your meats, instead of frying.

  • Steam your vegetables. Use some different herbs and vinegar or lemon juice to season them, or steam them over chicken broth for extra flavor.

  • Drink between 6 and 8 (8-ounce) glasses of water a day. Choose low-calorie or no-calorie drinks such as tea, diet soda, or diet fruit drinks. Juice, regular soda, and some sparkling waters can be high in calories.

  • Limit your meat intake to 6 ounces a day. A 3-ounce piece of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.

  • Choose healthy, low-fat snacks. Nonfat yogurt, non-fat cottage cheese, fruit, vegetables, pretzels, and low-fat popcorn are good choices.

  • Pay attention to portion sizes. One of the easiest ways to lose weight is simply to reduce your portion sizes by one-quarter.

  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods are high in fiber, fill you up, and give you lots of nutrients your body needs.

  • Read labels. If the label says an item has 190 calories per serving, and you eat 3 servings, you are actually eating 570 calories.

  • Limit the amount of fatty foods you eat, like fried foods, cheese, snack foods, and desserts.

  • Reduce the amount of butter, margarine, and oil you use by one-quarter to one-half.

  • Remember: “low-fat” does not necessarily mean “low-calorie.” Often, low-fat items have extra sugar. They may be lower in fat but may have the same amount of calories as the regular item.

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences | Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit www.healthwise.org

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA | UPMC.com