The Calorie: Your Weight-Loss Best Friend, Part Deux

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"Good Morning America" health contributor Diane Henderiks reports:

The final paragraph of my article last week titled  "The Calorie - Your Weight-Loss Best Friend" begins with "Not all calories are created equal and the quality of your calories is very important (that will be a whole other article)."

Well, here's the whole other article, which makes this Part II and they work as a team, like pb&j (all natural, of course). I suggest you read both so follow this link to Part I.

OK, so you've taken my suggestion, clicked the link above, did a little math and calculated your ballpark calorie level.  Now put that number "in the vault" and draw on it from time to time for a calorie reality check.

Now, let's discuss just where your calories should come from because the quality of the calories you consume is extremely important. You can eat only soda and butter every day and lose weight if you consume it in the right calorie amount, but is this healthy for you?  Of course not, and don't try that at home.

If you want to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, choose foods that are as close to their natural state as possible and are unprocessed.  Select a variety of the following nutrient-rich foods as your source of calories and as the foundation of your diet:



Lean meat, poultry  and fish (trimmed of fat)

Legumes and Beans

Nuts and seeds

Unsaturated fats

Whole grains

Low-Fat Dairy

Some of you are thinking, carrots have sugar, don't they? Pineapples are loaded with sugar, right? Potatoes are high in sugar, right?  My response: It's not the fruits and veggies that are hindering your weight loss. Think about it.

I believe that the key to achieving and maintaining  a healthy weight is to eat the right quantity of the right foods. Of course, there are times when cheesecake, wine, cookies, ice cream and French fries are taunting you, so what do you do? Take a forkful, spoonful, small glass, small bite or just a few to satisfy that craving then carry on with your daily routine.

In my experience, those who tend to lose weight and keep it off do the following:

  1. Are motivated to be healthy not skinny, and motivation is the starting point for change.
  2. Let their intelligence determine food choices, not fleeting cravings.
  3. Eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups.
  4. Eat breakfast, smaller meals and smart snacks between meals every day.
  5. Are aware of foods that they have a difficult time limiting portions so they avoid eating them.
  6. Exercise (mostly walking) everyday for at least 45 minutes.
  7. Cook or, at the very least, attempt to cook most meals at home.
  8. Indulge in their favorite sweets on occasion.
  9. Do not reward themselves with food.
  10. Don't beat themselves up when they overindulge or make a not-so-healthy choice.  They get right over it and move on instead of having a momentary slip up turn into a weeklong binge-fest.

Now take these ideas and put them to the test.  Weight loss does not happen overnight so take it day by day. Patience is definitely a virtue in your quest to live a healthier lifestyle.  You might (and most likely will) have your ups and downs and that's OK.  Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on. Go for it and keep us posted.

Henderiks is a registered dietitian and the founder of

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