Amy, I'm a 29 year old former college athlete. Up until two years ago, my weight rarely fluctuated and I never really worried about eating healthy and making sure I got a proper workout in every day. In the past two years I have put on 15 pounds and I've found it very difficult to get those pounds off and get back to where I used to be. Even when I do workout consistently 5 days a week and try to eat healthier, the pounds have remained! :( What do you suggest that I do? What types of foods might help provide me with more energy and help with my metabolism? Thanks, Kate

Healthy weight loss is best achieved by a combination of calorie reduction and increased physical activity. It may be helpful for you to first determine how many calories you need per day to allow for healthy weight loss. The Nutritional Needs Calculator on the Healthy Balance website can help you to calculate an appropriate calorie level (select the “lose weight” option). Next I would begin a food diary and record your food/beverage intake for three days. Begin checking labels to determine your portion sizes and calorie contents of the foods that you are choosing. This will hopefully allow you to get a general idea of how many calories you are actually taking in and then you can compare that to your weight loss calorie goals. For example, if you find that you need to reduce your daily calorie intake by 500 calories, I would try cutting out 250 calories from your diet and adding physical activity to burn 250 calories. The Calorie Burner Counter Calculator on the website can help you determine what type of physical activity can achieve this. Daily physical activity is essential for weight loss so I am happy to hear you have begun this again!

Eating a well balanced diet is the best way to achieve optimal metabolism and energy levels. As you look over your food journal, look for “empty” calories (reduced nutritional value foods). If you are a soda/fruit punch drinker, switch to water or Healthy Balance low sugar juice. If you find yourself snacking on potato/tortilla chips, switch to air popped popcorn for a calorie reduction. If you have a sweet tooth and choose ice cream/cookies/candy, try to avoid purchasing these things from the grocery store and stock up on naturally sweet foods like fresh fruit or low fat yogurt. To increase metabolism, make sure you are eating breakfast every day. Choose high fiber cereal with low fat milk, fruit/yogurt smoothie, oatmeal or whole grain toast with peanut butter. I would suggest pre-packing a lunch to avoid mid day fast food cravings. Broth based soup and half of a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread or a grilled chicken salad with added vegetables and low fat dressing are good choices. If you find that you are consuming the majority of your daily calories at dinner, it may be beneficial to add a small snack in the mid-afternoon to avoid this. Try a small piece of fruit, a handful of walnuts, or pre-cut veggies with hummus. Become familiar with portion sizes and make sure you are including many plant-based foods at dinnertime.
Effective and long term weight loss comes with being aware of where your calories are coming and making healthy choices for calorie reduction. Keep up with your exercise regimen and it may be helpful to enlist the help of a fitness partner to keep you motivated!

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