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I saw that I could email you questions!
If my goal is to lose weight and inches, what standards do you believe I should base my diet on?
I am 25 years old, female, 5’8” and weigh 210 pounds.
I work an office job with a long commute, so I am mostly sitting. I visit the gym for strength training and/or running 3 times a week for 30-60 minutes.
Diet concerns: I struggle with portion control as I often feel hungry. I eat out a lot due to time constraints.
Any recommendations or guidance? – Natalie



I’m glad you reached out, Natalie! From your description it sounds like you should focus on satisfying foods that are quick to prepare (or pick up) and some low-calorie extras that you can eat at your liberty. Here, I would NOT advise following calorie, gram, or portion guidelines since they are more of a restriction and hindrance than simply eating the proper type of food. You can move on to greater structure when you can commit more time to preparing the bulk of your meals.

Shop for filling (protein or fiber-rich) items:

  • Individual serving packages of cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, hummus, nut butters, reduced fat cheese, tuna salad, canned chili with beans, baby carrots, microwave popcorn, hard cooked eggs and 100-calorie packs of nuts.
  • Frozen single chicken + vegetable dinners, bean burritos, egg sandwiches, steam in the bag vegetables, stuffed bell peppers, and 5-inch ‘thin & crispy’ pizza.
  • Fresh apples, bananas, pears, plums, peaches, grapes, mini cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, sugar snap peas, and bell pepper strips. Grab anything that you don’t have to cut or cook!

Have these low-calorie extras on hand for anytime:

  • Unsweetened green tea, hot or iced.
  • Salsa and bagged green salad – any kind!
  • For the pantry — rice cakes, puffed wheat/rice/or oat cereal, and canned broth-based soup.
  • Refrigerated sugar-free gelatin cups and frozen single popsicles.
  • Grapefruit and oranges to peel.


When ordering at the quick counter choose:

  • Plain chicken, pulled beef or pork, and grilled seafood.
  • Salads with beans, corn, or nuts.
  • Any vegetables. Any!
  • From the under 500 calorie menu if available.
  • Limit cheese, bacon, sausage, fried or breaded items and cream sauces.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition?

Ask our dietitian by submitting your question to or simply ask it in the COMMENTS section below. To learn how to follow the “Ask Our Dietitian” Q&A CLICK HERE!

Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.



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