Tips for Losing Weight

  • 4 Minutes Read

The following practices will help you lose weight - whether you are just starting out, trying to break out of a weight stall, or simply want more tips or ideas.

Tips for Losing Weight

Set a Safe & Practical Weight Loss Goal

You will be more successful in achieving your ultimate weight goal if you break it up into stepwise goals. A good initial goal for basic health would be to lose 7% of your starting body weight (which is 0.93 x starting body weight). Losing 7% of your body weight will help reduce risk for chronic diseases, especially Type 2 diabetes. Resources to help you identify your target weight and set goals:
Is Your Weight Goal SMART?
Setting a Healthy Target Weight

Log Everything, Everyday

Log all foods and beverages consumed no matter how small the nibble is. Log exercise that is above and beyond what your overall activity setting already includes. Log daily and log accurately. It is human nature to underestimate calories consumed and overestimate calories burned from exercise. Check daily reports to find and correct errors and missing entries. Review weekly reports to discover relationships between food and nutrient intake, exercise, and weight loss. Resources to help you track:
Measuring and Estimating Portion Size
Tips on Food Logging
Tips for Accurate Recipes

Whoa! How low is your Target Daily Food Calories?

If you are trying to lose weight by diet and exercise on your own, please be sure to read Calories & Weight Goals: How It Works with MyNetDiary. If you don't understand how the settings work, you could end up with an inappropriately low target calories. This might not be a health risk for short periods of time but it could be a risk for nutritional deficiency if your average intake over months is less than about 1200 kcal without medical supervision. Learn how to use MyNetDiary fully to get appropriate and safe goals for your weight loss journey.

Tip: Very low caloric diets, bariatric surgery diets, and protein-modified fasts are programs that are safest with regular medical supervision.


Meal Skipping?

If you skip meals, then check your food reports to see how it affects your overall caloric intake for the day as well as for the next day. Excessive hunger can cause people to eat more calories by the end of the day. Challenge yourself to find what meal/snack pattern works best for you. You might do better by creating new meal habits.

Eating Most of Your Calories at Night?

Are you starving and eat a lot in the late afternoon and up until you fall asleep? It might be time to experiment with eating more food earlier in the day.

You could also experiment with switching your dinner and breakfast meals - read more about this here: What You Eat for Breakfast Might Help You Lose Weight.

Eating Enough Fruits & Veggies?

Do you eat at least 2 pieces of fruit and 2 cups cooked or 4 cups raw of veggies everyday? Non-starchy veggies are especially helpful with weight loss since they are naturally low in calories yet high in vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber. For a helpful list, check out the American Diabetes Association's "Non-Starchy Veggies."

Tip: Sweet Tooth messing with your calories intake? Explore fresh fruit. A small/medium piece or 1 cup of berries or melon could nip that sugar fiend in the bud. Need something even sweeter? How about trying 1 date or 1/4 cup raisins instead of ice cream or cookies.

Tip: "The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet" by Barbara Rolls, Ph.D. is a great approach for losing weight while also encouraging a high intake of fruits and veggies. The key is consuming more low calories-dense foods.

Getting Enough Protein?

Protein intake can help you feel less hungry while you lose weight. Try to get at least 20 grams of protein per meal from all sources, whether plant and/or animal depending upon your dietary style. Resources on protein:
Protein Foods
Healthy Proteins on a Budget
Use of Protein Shakes in Weight Control

Being Choosy with Your Carbs?

Do you eat a lot of refined grains and grain products? Do you choose foods and drinks with added sugar? Time to be picky! Whether you follow a low or high carb diet, pick carb choices that are more weight-friendly and healthier: fresh or plain frozen fruit, unprocessed or minimally processed complex carbohydrates (e.g. whole grains, dried beans/peas, and whole starchy veggies), and unsweetened milk or yogurt.

Tip: stop drinking sugar-sweetened beverages (e.g. pop, juice drinks, sweet tea, sweet coffee drinks, and energy drinks).

Tip: stop drinking sugar-sweetened beverages (e.g. pop, juice drinks, sweet tea, sweet coffee drinks, and energy drinks).

Resources on carbs:
Carbohydrates: Sugar, Starch, and Fiber
Diabetes Basics (includes tips for carb goals for meals and snacks)

Simple Meal Planning

Meal planners can be helpful if you need ideas on how to put it all together. Here are some simple tools:
Meal Planning with MyNetDiary
Sample Menus
Simple & Healthful Meal Planner - The Plate Method
USDA's ChooseMyPlate


Chronic sleep deprivation affects appetite and stress hormone production which can affect caloric intake and physical health. That is, not sleeping well and/or not sleeping enough can make it harder for you to lose weight. Resources on sleep and weight:
What Else is Making You Gain Weight? Not Enough Sleep Could be Impairing Both Your Weight and Diabetes Control


Exercise is not just about calories burning - it improves overall health as well as reduces risk for chronic disease, especially cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. Try to do cardio daily and weights 2-3 days/week. Exercise is especially important for maintaining that hard won weight loss. Weights (resistance exercise) will help preserve muscle as you lose weight. Read Physical Activity for more 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. Reflect and make connections by journaling. Keep your goals posted in your kitchen 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

Emotional Eating

Why are you eating more than you intended to - is it due to true physical hunger or is it mindless eating? Learn how to tell the difference. If you feel that you are out of control and need help, then get that help from a qualified medical professional. If you just need ideas and tips to help you change habits that are working against a healthy weight goal, then explore these popular books on emotional eating:
50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food. Susan Albers.
Breaking Free from Emotional Eating. Geneen Roth.
Intuitive Eating. Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch.
Life is Hard. Food is Easy. Linda Spangle.

More Resources at MyNetDiary

Community Forum
Website Articles

Don't Give Up!

I know losing weight is difficult - and it takes time and practice to figure it out. Although weight loss is simple in theory, it is not in practice. But it is possible if you have the time and motivation to focus on the problem. Be patient and keep trying new ways to achieve your goals. But remember, it isn't a race - it's your life.

Weight Loss->Goals & Monitoring Weight Loss->Plateau (Weight Stall) Weight Loss->Weight Loss Tips & Quips Tracking & MyNetDiary->Tracking Tips
Sep 4, 2015
Katherine Isacks
Katherine Isacks, MPS, RDN, CDE - Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

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