Basic Tips for Losing Weight

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Trusty go-to tips for losing weight.

Basic Tips for Losing Weight

The following practices will help you lose weight - whether you are just starting out or trying to kick start out of a weight plateau. The key is to not give up - keep experimenting to discover what works best for you.

Track Intake & Exercise

Track intake and exercise: do it daily and do it accurately. Review weekly reports to find relationships between food and nutrient intake, exercise, and weight loss. Do you notice any trends? Resources to help you track:

Measuring and Estimating Portion Size
Tips & Tricks for Entering and Correcting Food Items in MyNetDiary
Tips for Entering Your Recipes into MyNetDiary Like a Pro!

Set Reasonable or Achievable Weight Loss Goals

You will be more successful in achieving your ultimate goal if you break it up into stepwise goals. Aim to lose a modest 7% of your starting body weight. That is, your first target weight would be 0.93 x starting body weight. Losing 7% of your body weight will help reduce your risk for chronic diseases, especially Type 2 diabetes - it is a great first milestone. Resources to help you identify your target weight:

Is Your Weight Goal SMART?
Setting a Healthy Target Weight
Calories & Weight Goals: How It Works with MyNetDiary


Don't skip meals. Consider eating a lighter dinner and have your main meal earlier in the day. Read What You Eat for Breakfast Might Help You Lose Weight.

Eat your veggies. Try to consume up to 7 servings a day. Non-starchy veggies are especially helpful with weight loss since they are naturally low in calories yet high in vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber. American Diabetes Association has a list of sample veggies.

Get enough protein. Protein intake can help you feel less hungry while you lose weight. Aim for about 20 grams of protein per meal from all sources. 3 oz cooked lean meat, fish/seafood, poultry provides about 20 g protein. Legumes, nuts/seeds, egg, milk, yogurt, and cheese are also high in protein. More protein resources:

Protein Foods
Healthy Proteins on a Budget
Use of Protein Shakes in Weight Control
Can a High Protein Meal Plan Help You Lose Weight?

Keep the Healthier Carbs. Include fresh fruit and high fiber, unprocessed/minimally processed complex carbohydrates (e.g. grains, legumes, and starchy veggies). Avoid drinking your calories, especially from sugar sweetened beverages. For more basic info on carbs, read:

Carbohydrates: Sugar, Starch, and Fiber
Diabetes Basics (includes discussion of carbs and carb goals for meals and snacks).


Chronic sleep deprivation affects appetite and stress hormone production which can affect caloric intake and physical health. There is also research that shows exposure to bright light in the morning (e.g. daylight) seems to be related to lower body fat and lower BMI - another good reason to work on improving your sleep. For more information on sleep, read:

What Else is Making You Gain Weight?
Diabetes Diary: Not Enough Sleep Could be Impairing Both Your Weight and Diabetes Control


Exercise is not just about calories burning - it helps improve overall health as well as reduces risk for chronic disease, especially Type 2 diabetes. Try to do cardio daily and weights 3 days/week. Exercise is especially important for maintaining that hard won weight loss. Weight training (resistance exercise) will help preserve muscle as you lose weight. Read Physical Activity for basic information.


Staying motivated to lose weight over a long period of time is hard. You have to find out what motivates you and seek new sources over time. Ask for support when you need it. Know when you need professional help and get it. Attend group meetings. Or reflect and digest by journaling. Keep your goals posted in your pantry or on your frig so that there is a moment of thought before action. Some posts you might find helpful:

How Weight Loss Stories Can Motivate You!
Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

Simple Meal Planning

Eat More Food!
Foods to Meet Nutrient Needs
MyNetDiary Meal Planner - is in its beta testing stage. Please contact if you are interested in test driving this product!
The Healthy Plate

Resources at MyNetDiary

Community Forum
Website Articles

I know losing weight is difficult - and it does take time and practice to figure it out. Although weight loss is simple in the that it just requires creating enough of a caloric deficit over time - in practice, it is not that easy to do. But it is possible if you have the time and motivation to focus on the problem. You can do this!

Weight Loss->Goals & Monitoring
Apr 15, 2014
Katherine Isacks
Katherine Isacks, MPS, RDN, CDE - Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

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