Guidelines for Losing Weight

Since food equals calories, in order to lose weight you must either eat fewer calories, exercise more to burn off calories with activity, or both. Food that is not used to fuel the body is stored as fat.

A major component of losing weight is to make smarter food choices. Here’s how:

Limit non-nutritious foods, such as:

  • Sugar, honey, syrups and candy
  • Pastries, donuts, pies, cakes and cookies
  • Soft drinks, sweetened juices and alcoholic beverages

Cut down on high-fat foods by:

  • Choosing poultry, fish or lean red meat
  • Choosing low-fat cooking methods, such as baking, broiling, steaming, grilling and boiling
  • Using low-fat or non-fat dairy products
  • Using vinaigrette, herbs, lemon or fat-free salad dressings
  • Avoiding fatty meats, such as bacon, sausage, franks, ribs and luncheon meats
  • Avoiding high-fat snacks like nuts, chips and chocolate
  • Avoiding fried foods
  • Using less butter, margarine, oil and mayonnaise
  • Avoiding high-fat gravies, cream sauces and cream-based soups

Eat a variety of foods, including:

  • Fruit and vegetables that are raw, steamed or baked
  • Whole grains, breads, cereal, rice and pasta
  • Dairy products, such as low-fat or non-fat milk or yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese and low-fat cheese
  • Protein-rich foods like chicken, turkey, fish, lean meat and legumes, or beans

Change your eating habits:

  • Eat three balanced meals a day to help control your hunger
  • Watch portion sizes and eat small servings of a variety of foods
  • Choose low-calorie snacks
  • Eat only when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied
  • Eat slowly and try not to perform other tasks while eating
  • Find other activities to distract you from food, such as walking, taking up a hobby or being involved in the community
  • Include regular exercise in your daily routine
  • Find a support group, if necessary, for emotional support in your weight loss effort

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.