For people who are barely starting to exercise, what would you recommend on a planned diet? I am over 180 pounds and I see and read diet plans. But as a person who is starting to exercise I was curious if there are any recommendations for diet plans. I know this will all depend on maybe a personal assessment but I just wanted to ask.

– Esme


Welcome to the LA Fitness family, Esme! It’s great that you began exercising and want to add in a planned diet. It’s okay to focus on your new exercise routine for a while and once you’ve got that established, then address your nutrition.

What I’d specifically recommend really all depends on what your diet is like now. You should start with assessing your current diet to see where you can improve. Keep a food diary for a few days and enter it into a dietary analysis program, app or website that will show the average calories, fat breakdown, protein, carbohydrate breakdown, and vitamins/minerals you consume.

If there are areas you know need to change, and you can practically address those, start there. You’ll have greater long-term success by amending how you eat rather than adopting a rigid, generic plan that doesn’t take into account your preferences and lifestyle. See our previous article “The 3 Pronged Attack for Weight Loss – DIET.”

That said, you may want to look at some key targets of a healthful nutrition plan:

  • Hydration – drink at least 1 ounce of water per 2 pounds body weight daily
  • Fiber – eat at least 25 grams dietary fiber daily from vegetables, legumes, whole grains and fruit
  • Low Saturated and Trans Fat – consume no more than 7-10% of your daily calories from saturated fat and limit yourself to 2 gm trans fat daily
  • Consistent meals/snacks – try to follow regular eating times that fit your schedule and consume similar volumes
  • Limit convenience foods – opt for fresh and raw whenever possible instead of something prepared (e.g. apple vs. applesauce, baked potato vs. French fries)
  • Practice portion control – take small servings and eat just enough to satisfy your hunger

Readers, are there other GENERAL tips that worked for you when starting out that you’d like to share? Enter them in the comments area below!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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