For weight loss, the most efficient way to cut calories is to remove the foods that fit into the topmost portion of the Food Selection Pyramid (e.g. desserts, regular soda, fried foods, popcorn, chips, high-fat meats). These foods provide a lot of calories without much protein or other important nutrients.
Foods in the bread/grain/cereal group also provide calories without much protein. Reduce the amount of these foods you eat, but don’t cut them out entirely. Instead of two slices of toast with breakfast, have one. Instead of chips with your sandwich, have another piece of fruit or a handful of fresh veggies.
Step 1: Establish healthy eating
If you haven’t established a healthy eating pattern that you are happy to sustain, please go back to the eaters section. This is important for two reasons. First, our weight loss diet is based on a healthy weight maintenance diet. If you eat healthfully, it is very easy to convert your weight maintenance diet to an effective weight loss diet. Second, keeping weight off is much more challenging than losing weight. If you haven’t found healthy eating for weight maintenance, weight will start coming back as soon as you stop dieting.
Step 2: Establish regularly scheduled meal times
In other words, begin having breakfast, lunch and dinner all at specific times throughout the day. During weight loss, our body adapts to this special condition. Irregular eating breaks this adaptation and causes hunger.
Have breakfast everyday and make sure it includes protein.
Examples for breakfast protein: leftover turkey, chicken, beef, canned sardines, salmon, lunch meat (turkey, low fat pastrami, chicken, roast beef), Canadian bacon, turkey sausage and eggs.
Step 3: Cut out extra fats and sweets, then reduce the amount of breads and grains you eat by one-third.
Fats and sweets need a larger cut because they are filled with calories. If you are aiming to lose 2 pounds a week, there will be no room for food of this group during weight loss.
Need some examples? Instead of having two pieces of toast in the morning, have one. Instead of two servings of pasta, have one. Instead of pretzels with your sandwich, have another piece of fruit. You may feel hungry for the first day but it will be gone in a few days.
Continue to eat the same amount of dairy, meat/fish/legume, vegetable and fruit as you would in a weight maintenance diet (as shown in the trapezoid). These amounts do not change!
Step 4: Maintain or increase your physical activities
If you don’t have enough energy for physical activity, it may be a sign of something wrong with your dieting. Check if you are doing Steps 2 and 3 correctly.