Nutrition for Weight Management

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Nutrition for Weight Management

Leah McCabe

Written by Leah McCabe

Leah McCabe

Leah McCabe

Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

Linda Anegawa, MD, FACP

Reviewed by Linda Anegawa, MD, FACP

March 17, 2023 / Read Time 7 minutes

Nutrition for Weight Management

March is National Nutrition Month! To celebrate, we're sharing some of the most effective ways nutrition can help with weight loss.

You may know that healthier eating can help you lose weight. But there is a lot of information out there, and some of it is not only confusing but frankly contradictory. Weeding through all that advice can be easier said than done.

That’s why we’ve compiled some tips and information on nutrition to optimize your weight. We want to help you succeed on your weight loss journey, so you can live a longer, healthier life. 

  1. 1

    Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  2. 2

    See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  3. 3

    Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

Consequences of Obesity

Obesity increases your risk of early death due to serious diseases and health conditions, such as:

  • Abnormal cholesterol, including low HDL cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides (dyslipidemia)

  • Coronary heart disease

  • Gallbladder disease

  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems

  • Mental illness like anxiety, clinical depression, and other mental disorders

  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning

  • Many types of cancers

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Stroke

  • Abnormal blood sugars including prediabetes, gestational diabetes, and type 2 diabetes

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

  • Low quality of life due to associated chronic pain and low self-esteem

Tips for Eating Healthy

Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind about how to start to improve your eating:

  • Consider tracking what you eat, using one of the many available apps or even a notebook.  Tracking increases our awareness of what you eat and can help make you more mindful of how what you eat can affect the scale.   It’s also fun to watch your eating patterns change over time.

  • Start with a small change, such as eliminating soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages.

  • Consider eating out one less time per week and choosing to eat at home instead.  Purchasing fast foods or other grab-and-go items gives us less control over what we eat.  

  • Learn new methods of food preparation - perhaps incorporating grilling or sauteing - which are healthy, quick and easy.  

  • Begin to focus meals on proteins and greens with healthy Fats added in. These types of foods increase fullness, so we are less likely to overeat and binge. Even changing one meal per day is a great start! Example: for breakfast, try scrambled eggs with spinach and avocado, topped with tomato salsa and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese.

Meal Prep and Planning for Weight Management

Meal planning can help you stay on track and have meals or food items ready to go during the days you may not feel up to cooking or need something quick that you can warm up for convenience. Some patients have success in preparing meals two to three days ahead of time for themselves and or their families (“cook once, eat twice”).

Meal prepping can help you stay consistent with eating meals and snacks at home, while not choosing fast food items when you are out. A good way to start meal prepping is by having a protein source as a base and adding in green vegetables.

Here are some tips to make meal prepping and planning work for you:

  1. Make meals ahead of time: Full meals cooked in advance can be refrigerated, portioned out, and reheated when you are ready. This is particularly handy for lunch or dinner meals.

  2. Cook in batches: Make large batches of a specific recipe, then split it into individual portions to be frozen and eaten over the next few months. These make for popular warm lunch or dinner options and help increase eating variety. It can also be a relief at the end of a busy day to know you can just go home and pop something healthy into the microwave for dinner with no work!

  3. Individually portioned meals: Prepare fresh meals and portion them into individual grab-and-go portions to be refrigerated and eaten over the next few days. This is particularly handy for quick breakfasts or lunches.

  4. Ready-to-cook ingredients: Prep the ingredients required for specific meals ahead of time. This is a way to cut down on cooking time in the kitchen. This is particularly handy for crockpot or instant-pot friendly recipes.

When we think about which meals to make for the week, it’s best to start with a number of recipes that you already know and enjoy making. This will ease your transition into meal planning and prepping! It’s also important to avoid picking only one recipe for the whole week. This lack of variety can lead to boredom, and then grazing on other items which may not be the healthiest.

If you’re looking for inspiration, some pre-cooked protein options can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Fish (including sashimi and other raw fish such as poke cubes if made with sugar free sauce)

  • Shellfish: shrimp, prawns, scallops, clams, mussels, oysters

  • Beef, pork, chicken & poultry

  • Protein products, like jerky (turkey, fish, or vegan options - look for sugar-free brands)

  • Vegetarian & plant-based protein: tofu, tempeh, or other vegetarian protein options such as black soybeans, natto, Beyond Meat, Impossible Burger, Morningstar Farms products, Gardein, etc.

  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts, macadamias, brazil nuts, peanuts (also contains carbohydrates and fats)

  • Edamame: hot, cold, or dried, this is an excellent vegetarian protein source (also contains carbohydrates)

  • Eggs and egg products, such as egg bites or boiled eggs

  • Full fat dairy: cream, whole milk, greek yogurt in single serve cups (also contains fat, so choose low fat dairy products if you have high LDL cholesterol - discuss with your doctor)

  • All cheeses: also contains fat (limit or substitute with dairy-free options if you have high LDL cholesterol - discuss with your doctor)

Prepping protein-filled “on the go” snack options in case you feel overwhelmed with a midday craving is also a great option!

It is important to pay attention to food safety guidelines when meal prepping and storing food. Learn more about recommended food safety and storage guidelines.

Our trusted doctors are here for you and can help you come up with a customized nutrition plan to fit your weight management needs. Book an appointment today to learn more.

  1. 1

    Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  2. 2

    See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  3. 3

    Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

The Top Weight-Loss Friendly Foods

You might think that 100 calories is the same no matter what food it comes from. However, that’s not really true since some foods are more nutritious or filling than others. Here are some of the top weight-loss-friendly foods:

  • Eggs (whole) are nutrient-dense, high in protein, and keep you full longer.

  • Leafy greens are low in calories and carbohydrates and high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

  • Salmon is high in protein, healthy fats, iodine, and omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Cruciferous vegetables (like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts) are high in fiber, have a decent amount of protein, and help keep you full.

  • Chicken breast and lean beef is high in protein, keeps you full, and helps you burn more calories.

  • Tuna is high in protein and low in fat.

  • Cottage cheese is high in protein and calcium and low in fat.

  • Certain types of fruit have low energy density, and the fiber content helps prevent the natural sugar from being released too quickly into your bloodstream. (examples: dark berries)

Unhealthy Diet or Exercise Programs

It seems like there’s a new fad diet every few months. Generally, any diet that removes food groups or severely restricts calories can cause problems. A few examples of dangerous fad diets include:

  • Military Diet: This low-calorie diet of odd food pairings (like bun-less hot dogs with banana, carrots, and broccoli) can create nutritional deficiencies and lead to disordered eating patterns. 

  • Apple Cider Vinegar Diet: There’s not enough evidence to show that drinking apple cider vinegar every day promotes weight loss, and it may cause stomach irritation or tooth erosion.

  • Cabbage Soup Diet: There’s no research to suggest that eating cabbage soup three times a day will lead to consistent, healthy weight loss. 

  • Dukan Diet: This ultra-high-protein diet can cause nutritional deficiencies.

  • Cleanses and detoxes can be dangerous and lead to nutritional deficiencies or rebound binge eating. 

Weight Loss Myths

There are a lot of weight loss myths on the internet, and some can be downright dangerous. Here are some of the most common weight loss myths on the internet:

  • All calories are equal: We’ve been taught that “calories in, calories out” is the main way to think about weight loss, but that’s far from the truth. The way our bodies regulate weight is less like a math equation and more like a complex chemistry lab! Therefore, protein, fat, and carbohydrates can affect your body differently.

  • Losing weight is a linear process: The process of weight loss can be quite irregular.  It’s common to lose more quickly initially, and then to have weeks where you lose nothing or even gain a little. Entirely normal!  

  • Supplements can help you lose weight: Most over-the-counter supplements are ineffective at causing weight loss.  Reported positive results are usually due to either the placebo effect or something called publication bias, where only research showing a positive effect is published.

  • Obesity is about willpower: There are many biological and genetic factors that can cause obesity and make it difficult to lose weight.  In addition, once we’ve gained weight, our body creates a high weight set point, which can increase the challenge.  Over-relying on willpower can set you up for frustration.

  • Fat makes you fat: Fat has been unfairly demonized over the years, when in fact it is one of the two essential macronutrients that our body needs day to day for survival (the other is protein). Fat can actually help us lose weight by decreasing hunger and when combined with carbohydrate reduction, can reduce levels of the fat-storage hormone insulin.  

  • Weight loss diets work: 85% of dieters end up gaining back the weight within a year. This is why eliminating the “all or none” mentality of chronic dieting is so important in long-term success.  One truly has to think of the path towards wellness as lifestyle change.

  1. 1

    Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  2. 2

    See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  3. 3

    Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

Want a Doctor’s Advice?

Creating a new diet plan can be tricky. Our board-certified doctors can help you come up with a weight-loss plan you can actually stick to. Book a phone or video appointment with one of our trusted doctors to learn more about our medical weight loss programs.

Read More About Nutrition For Weight Management


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