Lifestyle Steps for Healthy Weight Loss Getting Started

Introduction

Healthy bodies come in many shapes and sizes. If you are overweight this fact sheet will help you get off to the right start to lose weight.

Steps You Can Take

Be more aware of what you are eating

Write down everything you eat and drink for at least one typical day. Be as accurate as possible. Use the chart below or make your own chart.

You can include the following information:

  • What you eat, and how it is prepared
  • When you eat
  • How much you eat
  • Why you eat.

Sample Chart:

Time Food/Drink Amount How do I feel?
7:30am Coffee 10 oz Hungry, tired
  Sugar 1 tsp  

Check out what you are eating

  • Compare the foods you eat to "Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide" at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php.
  • Ask yourself these questions:
    • Am I eating foods from all four food groups? To get all the nutrients you need for good health, you should eat foods from all four food groups every day:
      • Vegetables and Fruit
      • Grain Products
      • Milk and Alternatives
      • Meat and Alternatives
    • Am I eating the right number of servings from each food group? Health Canada has worked out how much food from each food group most people need each day. See how much you should eat based on your age and sex. Most people should not eat more or less than the suggested number of servings.
    • Do I eat at least three of the four food groups at each meal? It is important to include at least three of the four food groups at each meal. This will help you get the nutrition you need every day.
    • Do I often eat foods that are not part of Canada's Food Guide? Some examples are cookies, chips, ice cream, doughnuts and muffins, chocolate and candy. Eating foods high in fat and/or sugar adds many extra calories (energy) to your diet, but few healthy nutrients.
    • What kinds of beverages do I drink? Pop, juice, fruit drinks, and other sweetened beverages such as fancy coffee have many extra calories, but few nutrients. They do not fill you up, so you are likely to eat just as much food.
    • Am I really hungry? Sometimes people eat when they are bored, sad or stressed. This can lead to eating too much food, such as food that is high in fat and sugar. Are there times or places that I regularly eat unhealthy food such as at work, or while watching TV? Take time to reflect on your daily routine. It is easy to get stuck on old habits.

Making changes

Now that you are more aware of what you are eating and drinking, look for ways to eat healthier. Perhaps you could make some healthier changes:

  • Eat more vegetables and fruit (fresh, frozen or canned)
  • Substitute whole grains for refined grain products
  • Eat smaller amounts of meat, fish and poultry
  • Eat less high fat foods
  • Eat less high sugar foods
  • Drink water when you are thirsty. Drink smaller servings of high calorie or low nutrient drinks like pop or fruit drinks
  • Avoid eating when you are not hungry. Find ways to fill the time. Phone a friend. Go for a walk. Read a book.

Now that you really know what you are eating, get ready for some healthy changes. The tips in the "Lifestyle Steps for Healthy Weight Loss: Taking Action" fact sheet can help you.

Additional Resources

HealthLinkBC www.HealthLinkBC.ca Medically approved non-emergency health information and advice.

Dietitian Services Fact Sheets available by mail (call 8-1-1) or at www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthyeating:

Dietitians of Canada, "Eating + Activity Tracker" www.eaTracker.ca

Last updated: December 2010


These resources are provided as sources of additional information believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of publication and should not be considered an endorsement of any information, service, product or company.

Distributed by:

Dietitian Services at HealthLinkBC (formerly Dial-A-Dietitian), providing free nutrition information and resources for BC residents and health professionals. Go to Healthy Eating or call 8-1-1 (anywhere in BC). Interpreters are available in over 130 languages.

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