Some of the simple healthy eating guidelines for losing weight.

Each day brings new research and information on healthy eating guidelines when you're losing weight. It can all get very confusing, but there are some standards, or guidelines that exist through all of this information. From there you can start working these into consistent healthy eating habits.

Healthy eating guidelines...sticking to the basics

Here are some general guidelines that don't seem to be changing every five minutes. And while they are listed here as a framework for losing weight, they are also ones that I've stuck too in maintaining my weight for over five years.

  • Everything in moderation - nothing is off limits, and you can have everything, just in moderation. What is moderation? I stick to the following notion: if it's high fat, high sugar or highly processed...moderation is one of these food types each day in a small quantity.
  • Variety is the spice of life - vary things as much as you can. Pick vegetables that are a variety of colours and textures and eat them in a variety of ways...raw, steamed, even fried (in just a little oil). Same goes for meats, fish and chicken. Mix these throughout the week so that you're getting a variety of nutrients and tastes.
  • Up the vegetables and fruits - I add this here because these are the two things that seem to be lacking in most people's diets. Use the variety tips (different colours, different preparation methods) to find a range of these that you like and concentrate on at least 2 fruits and 5 vegetables a day.
  • Fats - you do need then, even when you're losing weight. It seems though that there is general agreement that fats that come from plants (such as olive, canola, sunflower oil) is the better fat as it contains no cholesterol. So keep animal fats (butter, fat in meats to a minimum). Fish fats such as omega-3 are important to have in your diet too. Again if you vary your meats, you'll get a variety of the healthy fats that you need.
  • Portion sizes - overall too much food is being consumed for our daily needs, especially of high calorie foods, so we need to be mindful of actually how much we're eating in relation to how much activity we're doing
  • Limit fast and processed foods - this is one that is definitely common. Restrict the amount of processed and fast foods that you eat. These tend to contain very high amounts of fat, salt and sugar as well as being very calorie loaded. Just a little of these foods can give you all of the calories that you might need for a day. They also leave you feeling very hungry shortly after eating you want more food, even though you've had enough.

Making these into long term healthy eating habits

All of these general healthy eating guidelines are a great place to start working on losing weight, and to keep in mind when you're maintaining weight.

To make them habits that will see you through the years and keep your weight controlled, you need to work these guidelines in slowly so that they do become habits.

If you start with introducing variety into your eating, try lots of different things in lots of different ways. Note down the ways and things that you like and add these into your weekly meal plans. Keep track of them and consciously swap these throughout your meals. Give them time to become part of your meal repertoire.

If you decide to swap from animal based fats, such as butter, to plant based, do it slowly, try a few of the flavours, and give your tastebuds time to adjust and you to adjust to the new items on your shopping list.

Given time...all these healthy eating guidelines can become reliable healthy eating habits.

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