Healthy Weight Loss Tips

I recently taught a nutrition workshop on healthy weight loss and gave some tips on what to look for and what to avoid when it comes to finding an eating plan that works for you. Some guests commented that they found this helpful, so I thought I would share some of the highlights from the workshop.

I understand the need and the desire to want to lose weight, and lose it quickly. As a teenager, I went on my own weight loss journey and was able to lose 100 pounds in just over a year. I have maintained that weight loss for the past 17 years. Although it has not been an easy road, it is definitely doable, especially if it’s done in a healthy way.
So, what is healthy weight loss? I believe weight loss is very individual, as each person’s situation and body are unique. Having said that, there are some guidelines that can be followed in order to ensure your eating plan is promoting good health. Here are some general tips to keep in mind when determining if your weight loss plan is healthy and will provide all the nutrients your body needs for optimal health:
  • Avoid extremes–if it looks and sounds extreme, it most likely is.
  • In general, avoid extreme, quick weight loss–healthy weight loss over the long term is about 1-2 pounds per week.
  • Avoid extreme calorie restrictions–in general, don’t go below 1,200 calories per day. It’s very difficult for you body to get the vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients it needs from foods with extreme calorie restrictions.
  • Avoid eating plans that encourage eliminating one or more food groups. Each food group is important and provides different nutrients for health and well-being.
  • Avoid eating plans that don’t promote eating a variety of foods within each food group.
  • In general, avoid colon cleanses. If you want to clean out your colon, eat plenty of fiber in the form of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds and drink plenty of water.
One of the best tools I have found for ensuring that you have a healthy, balanced meal plan while sticking within a certain calorie level is Here is the link: Once you click on the link, go to ‘my pyramid plan’. After you enter your information, it will give you a certain calorie level and show how the calories are broken down into servings from the various food groups. The website is very extensive and has lots of tools and good information to assist you in healthy eating.
As each person is individual, you need to determine if your healthy weight loss plan is right for you. Here is a list of criteria you can use:
Does your eating plan include:
  • Foods from all the food groups?
  • The right number of servings from each food group?
  • Food you will enjoy eating the rest of your life?
  • Foods you can buy at the supermarket?
  • Some of your favorite foods?
  • Foods that fit into your budget and lifestyle?
  • Promote balance, variety and moderation?
If you are looking to lose weight, and don’t want to count calories, the plate method is a great tool for healthy eating. Make 1/2 of your plate fruits and vegetables, 1/4 of your plate whole grains, and 1/4 of your plate lean proteins. This really helps in achieving balance and moderation.
If you are investigating certain popular diets and wondering if the messages are healthy or unhealthy, the American Dietetic Association’s website,, can assist with this. On this website, there is a tab for the public. In this tab, there is a section called ‘popular diet reviews.’ You can search for various diet and lifestyle books by author or title. The books are reviewed by a dietitian, and the review gives the main claims of the book, a synopsis of the diet plan, the nutritional pros and cons, and the dietitian’s overall conclusions. This can be a great tool in helping you demystify certain ‘diet myths’ or philosophies. If you want to check it out, here is the link.
The most important thing to do when losing weight healthily is to make lifestyle changes rather than seeking a quick fix. Balance, variety and moderation are important concepts to incorporate into a healthy weight loss plan. By utilizing these concepts, your body will get the nutrients it needs for optimal health and well-being.
Rachel Cope MPH, RC, CD