Diet Plan to Lose Weight
By Mike Jackson
You know the drill: eat healthy, don’t eat too much, and exercise.
So why is losing weight so hard?
Unfortunately, it takes drive, motivation, and a lot of willpower to be healthy and maintain the right size for your body. You need to be in it for the long haul, rather than the quick fix.
If you are sick of fad diets and want to lose weight the right way, here are some tips to help you shed fat and eat right.
Keep Track of Calories.
Losing weight amounts to a simple equation: eat fewer calories than you burn.
Studies show writing down what you eat every day significantly impacts how much weight you lose.  This is because it helps dieters become more accountable for the foods they eat, and they become more aware of their portion sizes.
When you look back on a day full of healthy things, you’ll likely want to continue your success. Even if you don’t eat healthily, keeping track of your calories encourages you to change that behavior in the future.
Using a smartphone app is a quick and easy way to record what you eat. Many apps calculate total calories, macronutrients, and some micronutrients. Some even calculate energy expenditure through your personal body composition and exercise.
Eat a Good Balance of Macronutrients.
If your diets consist primarily of carbohydrates, it’s time to focus on finding a balance with protein and fat.
Studies show fat and protein reduce the glycemic effect of carbohydrates when eaten together. This means that when you eat potatoes or pasta, eating meat in the same meal keeps insulin levels from spiking, which is good news if you are trying to lose weight. 
However, finding the perfect balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat can be confusing – especially since medical authorities disagree as to which ratio is best for weight loss.
For example, the US government recommends a 2,000 calorie diet consist of 20-30% fat, 45-65% carbohydrates, and 10-35% protein, depending on your specific needs. 
However, one study compared popular diets with different macronutrient focuses such as the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN Diets. Researchers found subjects (overweight women) lost the most amount of weight on a low-carb, high-protein diet. 
Make Healthier Food Swaps.
In addition to finding the proper balance of macronutrients, it’s important to choose the healthiest, nutrient-dense foods to supply those nutrients.
When picking protein, for example, it’s best to choose lean meats like fish or poultry instead of red meat like beef or pork. While red meat is an excellent source of iron, it’s also high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
You can make an even healthier swap by picking legumes and beans for protein over meat, as they supply the necessary protein in addition to a healthy amount of iron and fiber, which improves digestion and promotes weight loss.
Just look at how nutrition compares between these three typical protein sources with similar calorie amounts:
- 85/10 ground beef: 204 calories (85 g), 12 g fat (5 g saturated), 77 mg cholesterol, 0 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 22 g protein, iron 13% 
- Lean turkey (white meat): 220 calories (140 g), 5 g fat (1 g saturated), 97 mg cholesterol, 0 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 42 g protein, iron 10% 
- Lentils: 230 calories (198 g), 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 g cholesterol, 40 g carbohydrates, 16 g fiber, 18 g protein, iron 37% 
As you can see, each food has its pros and cons, and none of them is a perfect protein source. However, by paying attention to the cholesterol, fiber, and iron amounts, you can gain a better understanding of where you can “trim the fat,” so to speak.
Cultivate Your Sweet Tooth.
While cutting back on the sugar is a good idea, declaring all sweets and treats “forbidden” makes it difficult to continue your diet. When cravings hit, it becomes too easy to throw away your hard work in a moment of weakness.
Fortunately, you can still satisfy your sweet tooth and lose weight at the same time.
Start by swapping ice cream or other heavy desserts with cups of fruit. Fruits have enough natural sugar to satisfy that sweet tooth, and they contain essential vitamins, nutrients, and fiber that your body needs to stay healthy. Better still, when you replace dessert with fruit, you eliminate excess calories and saturated fat. Let’s compare two alternatives:
- 1 cup Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream: 360 calories, 16 g fat (12 saturated), 42 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 10 g protein, 30% calcium, 4% vitamin C 
- 1 cup raspberries: 64 calories, 0 g fat, 15 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 1 g protein, 3 % calcium, 5% iron, 54% vitamin C 
Though ice cream does provide a good amount of protein and calcium, it comes at the cost of high calories, sugar, and fat. Raspberries, on the other hand, have no fat for a fraction of the calories. And, you can top them with low-fat or non-fat whipped cream to turn them into a special, sweet treat.
Keep in mind it is alright to indulge in your favorite treat once in a while. Just stick to small portions and swap it out for other healthy treats as often as you can.
Cut Back on the Condiments.
Dressings and other condiments pack on fat and calories to otherwise healthy foods, like salads and sandwiches.
For example, let’s take a look at two different salad dressings:
- 2 T Original Hidden Valley Ranch: 140 calories, 14 g fat (2.5 g saturated) 
- 2 T Wish-Bone Balsamic Vinaigrette: 60 calories, 5 g (.5 g saturated) 
As you can see, using lighter dressings still packs a tangy flavor and spices your food but without adding twice the calories and nearly 3 times the fat.
Additionally, if you want to cram more nutrients and flavor to a salad, throw in some pecans and berries or other nuts and fruit.
Take Precautions When Eating Out.
Restaurants often serve much more than needed in a single entre. Consequently, it’s easy to eat almost an entire day’s worth of calories.
Take the popular restaurant chain Applebee’s, for example:
- If you split an appetizer, spinach and artichoke dip and chips, equally between yourself and 3 other people. You consume around 330 calories and 22 g fat.
If you order the Applebee’s House Salad, it totals to 230 calories and 15 g fat (7 g saturated). Top it with ranch dressing, and that adds 200 calories and 21 g fat (3.5 saturated).
- If you get a soup, perhaps the broccoli cheddar soup, you consume 390 calories and 29 g fat (18 g saturated).
If you got water to drink and didn’t order dessert, you may have initially thought it a healthy meal. However, the shared appetizer, salad, and soup come to a whopping 1,150 calories, 87 g fat, and at least 34 g saturated fat (close to 150% daily maximum levels). 
That is why you have to be cautious while eating out; ask for nutritional info before ordering your meal.
And, consider asking for a to-go box even before taking your first bite. By putting food aside for later, you’ll be less tempted to eat the entire meal at once. Out of sight; out of mind.
Or better yet, split a dish with a friend to reduce cost and stay slim.
Get a Supplement to Help
While diet pills don’t always have the best reputation, the right weight loss supplements can make a difference when it comes to losing weight. But there aren’t the sole solution and should never be treated like the miracle so many people wish they were.
You can find a list of some of <a href=” http://www.esupplements.com/best-diet-pills/”>the highest rated diet pills here on esupplements.com</a>.
If you do choose to use a supplement or diet pill to help you reach your weight loss goals, be sure you’re also eating right and getting regular exercise.
By following some of the tips above, you can create a diet plan to lose weight that really works. IT might not be as easy to follow initially, but those willing to stick with a diet plan can see great results.
References Hitti, Miranda. “Keeping Food Diary Helps Lose Weight.” WebMD Health News. 2008. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20080708/keeping-food-diary-helps-lose-weight  Moghaddam, E., Vogt, J. A., & Wolever, T. M. (2006). The effects of fat and protein on glycemic responses in nondiabetic humans vary with waist circumference, fasting plasma insulin, and dietary fiber intake. The Journal of nutrition, 136(10), 2506-2511. Available from: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/136/10/2506.full  “Protein: Moving Closer to Center Stage.” The Nutrition Source. Harvard School of Public Health. Available from: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/protein-full-story/  Coffman, Melodie Anne. “Recommended Fats, Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Sodium.” SFGate. Available from: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/recommended-fats-carbohydrates-proteins-sodium-4478.html  Gardner, C. D., Kiazand, A., Alhassan, S., Kim, S., Stafford, R. S., Balise, R. R., … & King, A. C. (2007). Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN diets for change in weight and related risk factors among overweight premenopausal women. JAMA: the journal of the American Medical Association, 297(9), 969-977. Available from: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=205916  “Beef, ground, 85% lean meat/ 15% fat, loaf, cooked, baked [hamburger, ground round].” Self Nutrition Data. Available from: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beef-products/6202/2  “Turkey, all classes, light meat, cooked, roasted.” Self Nutrition Data. Available from: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/poultry-products/825/2  “Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt.” Self Nutrition Data. Available from: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4338/2  “Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.” Fat Secret. Available from: http://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/blue-bell/homemade-vanilla-ice-cream  “Raspberries, raw.” Self Nutrition Data. Available from: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2053/2  “The Original Ranch.” Hidden Valley. Available from: http://www.hiddenvalley.com/products/dressings/original-ranch/original-ranch/  “Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing.” Wish-Bone. Available from: http://www.wish-bone.com/product/detail/96878/wish-bone-balsamic-vinaigrette-salad-dressing  “Applebee’s Nutritional Information.” Applebee’s. Available from: http://www.applebees.com/~/media/docs/Applebees_Nutritional_Info.pdf