As the holidays approach, it is important to keep in mind the overall nutritional recommendations and guidelines for maintaining a healthy weight through the season. You’ve been working hard all year, don’t let a few days or weeks derail it. Note that I say nutrition, not diet. Certainly, there are dietary guidelines, and different diet plans, but don’t look at your food as a “diet”, look at is as a nutritional plan. In the end, it’s all about calories in vs calories out. Are you fueling your body to perform its functions?
While the general dietary guidelines vary by age, the average adult should be using the following outline:
- Vegetables: 2-4 cups
- Fruits: 1.5-2.5 cups
- Grains: 5-10 oz
- Dairy: 3 cups
- Protein: 5-7 oz
- Oils/fats: 22-44g
Following these general guidelines is a good starting point for the average person. Of course, there are variations with activity level, a construction worker doing 8 hours a day of heavy manual labor is going to require more calories to sustain than someone sitting at a desk.
It’s All About Maintaint a Deficit
On average, for sustained weight loss it is recommended to have a deficit of about 300-500 calories per day. It takes approximately a 3000-calorie deficit for 1lb of weight loss. Now that may seem like a slow progress but losing 1 pound every 10 days over a year is a 36-pound weight loss, which is more than significant for essentially anyone.
There are many different nutrition plans that can be followed. No one has shown any significant difference over another in total weight loss so long as calories-in are less than calories-out. Different plans may be easier to follow based on certain lifestyle factors. Some of the more common plans include calorie counting, DASH, Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Intermittent fasting, Keto, Paleo, and Points based. In the end, finding a plan that fits in to your life and is one that you can follow is most important.
Don’t Let Setbacks Stop You!
We are all going to have days where we fall off the plan, but it is important to not give up. Just because you go a little over on calories, and have a slight setback is not a reason to stop. If we spill a little water, we take some towels and clean it up. No sense in just pouring out the entire cup just because a little spilled over. Enjoy the holidays, have that slice of pie, take that extra slice of turkey. But then get back to it!
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