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Guidelines for Weight Reduction

There is no magic formula for losing weight.  you must simply eat less.  It is best to get into a regular exercise program and follow a nutritionally balanced diet low enough in calories to result in the loss of one to two pounds per week.  This adds up to 50-100 pounds per year! Losing weight at this rate gives you time to change your eating and activity habits to keep the excess weight off.


  • Weigh once a week at the same time of day and on the same scales.  Keep a record of your weight loss on a graph.  Imagine how you'll feel as you see the curve go downward.

  • Write down all the food you eat.  It makes you aware of what and how much you are eating.  It will also show the eating patterns you need to change.

  • Work on changing one problem food habit at a time.

  • REMEMBER:  It can take up to four months to change any habit.


  • Eat slowly.  You will feel satisfied with eating less.
    • Take small bites.  Put your fork down between mouthfuls.  Slowly chew and swallow each mouthful before refilling your fork.
    • Sip beverages.
  • Choose to eat in only one place both at home and work - a place where you can always sit down.  This will keep you from picking up food as you walk around the house.
  • Avoid walking by or being in places where you tend to overeat or consume high calorie foods.
  • Choose forms of food which require chewing such as fresh fruit.  They decrease the temptation to gulp down high calorie juices.
  • If you need to keep sweets in the house, put them in an inconvenient location or a seldom used cupboard, etc. and let others serve themselves.
  • When you eat really enjoy the experience of eating.  Don't let reading a newspaper or watching TV distract you from enjoying your food.  Don't associate eating with these activities.
  • Save one item from each meal for a snack later on - if you must snack.
  • Make small portions of food appear as large as possible:
    • Use a small plate for yourself.
    • Spread out the food on your plate.
  • When you envy something another person is eating, serve yourself one tiny bite to satisfy yourself.
  • Get plenty of rest.  you will have more energy if you are well rested.  Fatigue can give you false cravings for a food or beverage.
  • If you are eating a nutritionally balanced weight reduction diet and experience hunger pangs, remember that they will pass.  Become active or do something which makes eating impossible until the pangs subside.
  • Change what you and your friends do if your social occasions usually involve food.
  • Reward yourself for reaching short term weight loss goals - but not with food.
  • When a meal is over do not linger at a table still laden with food.  If possible ask family members to clear the table.
  • Resist the temptation to eat leftovers.
    • Freeze them immediately or
    • Put them in opaque containers or
    • Put them in back of other foods in the refrigerator so that the sight of them will not tempt you to snack.
  • When you eat a snack, prepare one portion and clear all the food away - including the crumbs - before you eat it.  It will be easier to resist indulgence in a second portion.
  • Determine the hardest time of day for you to resist snacking or eating.  Plan projects that are incompatible with eating - preferably away from the kitchen.
  • Make a list of odd jobs to do around the house or things you've always wanted to do but never have the time.  Refer to this list when you want to eat because of boredom.
  • Eat just enough food to satisfy your hunger and save any extra for another meal.  At a restaurant order fewer items or ask for a container for leftovers.  Finishing your plate after you are no longer hungry is "wasting" food.


  • Shop after you eat or only when you are not hungry.
  • Don't buy foods that may later be a problem to resist.
  • Resist the free snacks that are offered at the supermarket.
  • Buy the lowest calorie form of food:
    • Examples:  Tuna fish packed in water; Fresh fruit or fruit packed in its own juices; Plain vegetables rather than those frozen in butter or with sauce; Skim or 2% milk; Lean mean.
  • Check the calorie count of "low calorie" products to see that there is more than a minor difference from the regular product.  Remember that commercially prepared "low calorie" food still contain calories!


  • If you are extremely hungry when you begin food preparation, take time to sit and sip a very low calorie beverage or eat a small salad.  this will take the edge off of your hunger.
  • Chew gum while you are preparing food if you are tempted to snack.
  • Decrease the amount of fat you use in cooking.
    • Do not fry foods.  Brown meat and poultry in the broiler.
    • Trim all fat from meat and remove skin from poultry.
    • Experiment with interesting herbs and spices for flavoring.
    • Take butter or margarine out of the refrigerator ahead of time.  The softer it is the easier it will be to spread and the less you will use.
  • Serve a salad for the first course of a meal.
  • Arrange to have low calorie foods available when you are entertaining.
  • Make low calorie foods as attractive as possible.  Garnishes brighten up a platter and also taste good.


  • Arrange legwork as part of your schedule.
    • Walk rather than ride short distances.  Park the car a block away from your destination.
    • Get off the bus one stop earlier and walk the difference.
    • Climb stairs rather than take the elevator.
    • Stand for periods of time when you would normally sit, such as while you talk on the phone.
  • Increase the vigor and effort that you put into your normal activities.
  • Develop a fun exercise program.
    • Associate exercise with pleasurable activities such as listening to the radio, watching TV or being with a friend.
    • Choose an exercise partner.  you'll tend not to put exercising off if you know someone is waiting for you.
    • Choose the kind of exercise that fits your personality and lifestyle.
    • Plan to exercise at a time when you are not normally tired.
    • Don't set up too many rules.  Rigid exercise programs discourage many people.


  • Losing one to two pounds a week is an ideal rate of weight loss.
  • Most women will lose 1-2 pounds per week on 1200 - 1500 calories daily.  Most men will lose this amount on 1500 - 1800 calories per day.

Below are outlines of nutritious eating patterns.

The first column is "Food Serving Sizes" and the next 3 columns are
 "The number of servings from each food group per day".

*This is just an example of a balanced diet - please remember that you it is not set in stone and
you can change/add/etc. as you see want to fit into the Calories Per Day Column.  

Food Serving Sizes

1200 calories 1500 calories 1800 calories
MILK 1 cup skim, 1% or 2%,
1/2 cup low fat, plain yogurt




VEGETABLES Raw vegetables
1/2 cup cooked vegetables

1 serving

2 servings

2 servings

FRUIT 1/2 cup fruit or juice, 1 small
apple, orange, pear, peach, 2 plums,
apricots, 1/2 banana or grapefruit,
1 cup melon or berries, 15 grapes or
cherries, 2 tbsp raisins or 2 pieces
 dried fruit




STARCHES 1 slice bread, 1/2 bagel,
1/2 english muffin, 1/2 cup rice, pasta,
6 crackers, 1 graham cracker, 1/2 cup
cereal, 1/2 cup starchy vegetables
(potatoes, corn, etc)




1/4 cup cooked meat, fish, poultry,
1 oz. cheese (3 1/2 inch sq., 1/8th inch
thick), 1 egg, 2 tbsp peanut butter,
1/4 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup cooked
dried beans

6 ounces

6 ounces

7 ounces

FATS 1 tsp. butter, margarine, oil or
mayonnaise, 1 tbsp salad dressing, cream
cheese, 1 slice bacon, 6 small nuts, 5 small
olives, 2 tbsp cream or sour cream




FREE FOODS:  Black coffee, tea, fat free broth, condiments such as spices and mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, diet gelatin, artificial sweeteners, diet soft drinks, rhubarb and cranberries without sugar.

From a HealthFirst Medical Group phamplet