Low-fat diets involve the reduction of the percentage of fat in one's diet. Calorie consumption is reduced because less fat is consumed. Diets of this type include NCEP Step I and II. A meta-analysis of 16 trials of 2–12 months' duration found that low-fat diets (without intentional restriction of caloric intake) resulted in average weight loss of 3.2 kg (7.1 lb) over habitual eating.[1]
“For some people, it’s knowing, ‘Typically I eat a whole sandwich,’” says Gagliardi. “‘Now, I’m going to make the decision to eat half a sandwich at lunch and save the other half for my dinner and essentially cut my calories in half. And they feel good about that. They’re not having to do math.” To get started, check out these 25 simple ways to cut 500 calories a day.
The divide continues to grow between those who swear by the “calories in vs. calories out” method and those who tout that body composition changes will come by following a nutrient-dense whole-food diet. When counseling clients, starting out many of them have these types of pre-conceived beliefs on how they should be losing weight or making changes to their body composition overall. Acknowledging calories continue to be a hot topic of conversation, we’ll dive into the science of calories, the complexity of them and when they really matter.

I currently track macronutrients (macros) to monitor my daily food intake which means that I try to stick to a set amount of carbs, fat and protein each day. I have been eating around 1600-1700 calories, 180g carbs, 50g fat, 150g protein and I aim to burn 500+ calories a day – meaning that I’m in a calorie deficit. My exercise routine is based on 5 weight training sessions per week, daily walks to reach my steps and 3-4 short cardio sessions a week (e.g. 15-20 minutes of interval sprints on treadmill 30 seconds sprint 30 second rest at the side). Find out more about macros including how to set your own by clicking here.
The researchers explain that people who cook their own meals may simply have other good-for-you habits, like exercising more. However, they also concluded that home cooks ate more fruits and vegetables (along with a wider variety of foods), have healthier methods of prepping their food, and splurge less on foods high in calories and sugar. No clue where to start? Check out these 25 high-protein chicken recipes for weight loss.
Ultimately, you need to pick a healthy eating plan you can stick to, Stewart says. The benefit of a low-carb approach is that it simply involves learning better food choices—no calorie-counting is necessary. In general, a low-carb way of eating shifts your intake away from problem foods—those high in carbs and sugar and without much fiber, like bread, bagels and sodas—and toward high-fiber or high-protein choices, like vegetables, beans and healthy meats.

For example, you might not realize just how much you eat when you go out to happy hour with friends. But if you take the split second to take a step back and make yourself aware of that fact, you’re more able to make a healthy decision. “The awareness and then planning and coming up with strategies for what else I can be doing—that might give me the same benefit of eating those comfort foods that make me feel better,” says Gagliardi.
When it comes to feeling your best one of the requests I hear from people the most is “I would love to have more energy!” Wouldn’t we all?! As a working parent I’m constantly striving to find the right balance of work and daily activity vs. rest and recovery. Let’s just say there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything on my to-do list done, but I do have some strategic food tactics to help me increase my energy levels throughout the day.
“I lost weight by hula hooping while my son played at playgrounds. It took me about seven months. I used a weighted hula hoop about 30 minutes a day, at least four days a week. Hula hooping is a full body workout, and my son loved watching the hoop go round and round, especially when he was younger. Once I started hula hooping, I started feeling better about myself and made better food choices. I'd pack my lunch—salads with turkey or chicken—with fruits and vegetables instead of heading out for fast food every day. One of the biggest changes was to always have an easy-to-carry fruit on hand in my purse for what I call a ‘hunger emergency.' If a meeting ran long or if I got stuck at the office after hours and found myself really hungry, I'd have an apple or banana instead of hitting up the vending machine for a candy bar. Always being prepared with a healthy snack and never letting myself get desperately hungry has really helped. This has prevented me from stopping at the drive-thru on my way home from work. I've also made sure to also always have a water bottle in my purse. I used to drink soda and fruit juice all day, not realizing how easy it is to drink my daily allotment of calories. I've since purchased a wearable fitness tracker and made sure to find ways to hit the recommended 10,000 steps a day, such as walking my son in his stroller to local parks and libraries instead of driving, and parking as far away as possible from where I was going.”
If you were to put numbers to it, Julie probably burns 2500 calories per day. If she’s eating 1400 calories per day it leaves her in an 1100 calorie deficit. In six months’ time, she should lose about 53 pounds. In reality, she’ll probably lose about 20 and then get stuck. Unless she does something different with her nutrition, or exercises even more, weight loss will slow down because her metabolic rate will adjust to the fact that it doesn’t have available fat to burn.

Some diet plans, such as the MIND diet and the DASH diet, are meant to focus on certain areas of health — and weight loss may be a bonus. Others are created with weight loss as a primary goal. “It is important to remember that we are all very unique individuals,” says Kyle. “We all have different states of health and different lifestyles, which could affect what diet plan is best for us. That means that you should not be considering what is working for your friends or family members — and instead should pay attention to what works for you individually.”

Full Plate Living is a nonprofit dedicated to a simple mission: Encourage, educate, support, and inspire anyone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle. They don’t advocate for starving yourself, spending your life at the gym, or giving up the foods you love. They’re also not about fad diets or weight loss supplements. Instead, they offer practical, straightforward steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Visit the blog.
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