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Weight Management Tips

Here are tips to successfully manage your weight.

Cut down on portions

Portion your meals in a calorie-conscious manner. One quarter of your plate should comprise a palm-size portion of lean protein, such as salmon or chicken breast; another quarter should comprise a fist-size portion of unrefined grain, such as brown rice; and one-half of your plate should be filled with a variety of colorful vegetables.

See the example below:

Healthy Portions

If you are still hungry after eating your meal, try waiting about 20 minutes to allow your food to digest. If you are still hungry, eat a tossed salad, extra vegetables, or a small piece of fruit.

Do not skip meals

Eating three meals a day plus snacks is essential in weight management. Don’t forget breakfast! Eating breakfast in the morning jump-starts your metabolism. Remember that food is your body’s fuel: without it, your body cannot work as efficiently.

Front-load your calories

Eat the majority of your calories in the first half of your day. Enjoy portion-controlled snacks during the day to keep hunger under control at night. After all, you’re generally most active during the day. Choose lighter dinners to coincide with evenings when you are less active.

Double up on fiber

Most women do not receive the 25-30 grams of fiber recommended each day. To help you boost your fiber intake, choose whole-grain, high-fiber breads and cereals; choose whole-wheat pasta and rice instead of white; and include more dried beans in your meals. Fiber helps fill you up faster, which can cause you to eat less and curb hunger. Most importantly, soluble fiber can help lower your cholesterol.

Good Food Sources of Fiber

Insoluble Fiber: whole-wheat products like breads, pastas, cereals, wheat and corn bran, the skins of fruit and root vegetables, and most vegetables (like broccoli, potatoes and green beans).

Soluble Fiber: oats, oat bran, barley, psyllium, legumes like dried beans and split peas, most fruits and vegetables.

Exercise daily

Participate in physical activity daily as recommended by your physician or exercise physiologist.

Include 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day

Fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are naturally low in calories and fat.

  • Eat at least 2-3 servings of fruit daily
  • Avoid juice and canned fruit
  • Eat fruits with the skin for added fiber and nutrients
  • Have plenty of vegetables with lunch and dinner daily. They are also great as a snack.
Drink plenty of water

Include 6 to 8 glasses of fluid each day. It’ll help keep you adequately hydrated and often helps prevent overeating.

Here are a few key nutrition tips to follow when trying to lose weight:

  1. Always start your day off with breakfast. It gives your metabolism and brain a jump-start, fueling your body for the busy day ahead. Studies show those who eat breakfast are successful at losing weight and keeping it off.
  2. Fuel your body the right way (and shed excess weight too) by eating four to six mini-meals each day. Four to six mini-meals is no license to eat whenever, whatever or how much you want – plan breakfast, lunch, snack(s) and dinner ahead and moderate your portions. Small, frequent meals and snacks keep your metabolism burning efficiently and prevents binge eating. Skipping meals, on the other hand, reduces your metabolism and increases your risk of eating excessively after a long fast.
  3. One of the most successful strategies to losing weight is to PLAN meals and snacks ahead of time. Regardless of your time commitments and constraints, if your goal is to lose weight and lose it the right way, MAKE the time. Nobody said this would be easy but like everything in life we need to work for it. Bring along fresh fruit, vegetables, nonfat yogurt or cottage cheese, low-fat granola bars or peanut butter on whole grain crackers for a mid-afternoon snack. Pack a fresh salad and top with raw nuts, tuna or a chicken breast or a sandwich with fresh veggies for a quick and healthy lunch. Set some time aside to prepare a menu of meals you’ll have for the week ahead. Prepare dinner ahead of time, defrost your meats in the refrigerator, or have all of your ingredients ready to go so you can quickly prepare and serve after a long day at work.
  4. Keep a food diary. Take a look at our food diary for an example. Studies show that people who keep a continuous food diary successfully lose weight and keep it off.
  5. Inventory your portion sizes. To effectively inventory your portion sizes, keep a food diary. That way you can see how your portion sizes have changed over time and how it corresponds with your weight loss over the long-term. Don’t know what a serving size is? Find some portion size examples. Too much of any food (be it fruit, vegetables or a brownie) will result in weight gain so keep an eye on your portions!
  6. Choose highly nutritious, low-calorie foods to fuel your body for energy. Choose filling foods, rich in nutrients yet moderate in calories like fruit, vegetables or nonfat yogurt before reaching for chips, a cookie or candy bar. Take a look at our 200 calories or less snack list for some healthful ideas.
  7. Clear your cupboards of high calorie snacks like tortilla chips, cookies, frozen pizza rolls, cheese curls and the like. Keep your cupboard stacked instead with graham crackers, oat bran or whole wheat pretzels, low-fat breakfast or granola bars, fruit canned in it’s own juice, nonfat pudding packs or dried fruit and nut mixes.
  8. Avoid excessive calories from beverages. Some people drink over 500 calories a day from sugar-sweetened sodas, teas, juices or alcohol. Consuming an additional 500 calories each day is equivalent to a one-pound weekly weight gain! Avoid "liquid calorie" weight gain by eliminating these beverages. And don't forget to keep alcohol intake moderate (one drink a day for women, two drinks per day for men).
  9. Drink lots of water! Aim for eight, 8-ounce glasses of water each day. It’s calorie and caffeine-free, versatile (e.g. add a lemon ring, orange zest or mint leaf for flavor), easy to carry and inexpensive. Plus it helps to keep you well hydrated. Did you know that we too often mistake dehydration for hunger? Keep that water handy!
  10. Eat until 80% full. This may seem tough at first but focus on being satisfied after a meal – not full. A little practice and you’ll be amazed at how much less food it’ll take to satisfy you.
  11. Avoid eating two – three hours before you go to bed. If you have diabetes you may need a nighttime snack, discuss this with your dietitian or physician. Eating before you go to bed is like putting gas in a parked car; if it’s not going to be used or “burned off” it’s going to sit in the “tank” and be stored (stored as fat in our case). Use it or you won’t lose it.
  12. Don’t overwhelm yourself. This is easy to do when trying to lose weight. Review your food diary and start making small changes like adding a vegetable to lunch, eating breakfast, cutting back on dinner portions, or increasing from two to three pieces of fruit each day. Accomplish your goal for a few weeks to a few months before moving onto the next one. Small changes over time will make a big difference – you can count on it.

Reviewed: 07/14

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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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