Where to Start With Nutrition | Q+A

Where to Start With Nutrition | Q+A

Question:

Hello, I’m a new member. I’m a 360 lb. and 5’8” female. I don’t know where to start with my nutrition. What do I eat? What serving size should I eat? How many meals a day and when do I eat? What should I shop for when buying food and drinks? Thank you.

– Sherland B.

Answer:

Hello Sherland and welcome! Getting started on a new eating plan can be overwhelming. I’m guessing you have some idea of what healthier choices look like, though. Key points on choosing good foods are to:

  • Focus on complex carbohydrates
  • Eat plenty of vegetables
  • Choose lean protein and low-fat dairy
  • Opt for plant sources of fat
  • Avoid fried food, candy, junk food, alcohol and soda

Most often people don’t need nutrition information which you can get from a book but rather, they could use guidance on lifestyle and behavior. Your best bet may be to meet with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who can work with you to create a personalized plan based on your lifestyle and goals.

Without the level of detail necessary to give personalized advice, my initial nutrition advice would be to follow the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans which are supported in the ChooseMyPlate.gov recommendations and MyPlate checklists. For an estimated 1800 calories that would be daily intake of:

1 ½ cups FRUIT

  • 1 cup of fruits counts as:
  • 1 cup raw or cooked fruit; 1/2 cup dried fruit; or 1 cup 100% fruit juice

2 ½ cups VEGETABLES

  • 1 cup vegetables counts as:
  • 1 cup raw or cooked vegetables; 2 cups leafy salad greens; or 1 cup 100% vegetable juice

6 ounces GRAINS

  • 1 ounce of grains counts as:
  • 1 slice bread; ounce ready-to-eat cereal; or 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta, or cereal

5 ounces PROTEIN

  • 1 ounce of protein counts as:
  • 1 ounce lean meat, poultry, or seafood; 1 egg; 1 Tbsp peanut butter; 1/4 cup cooked beans or peas; or 1/2 ounce nuts or seeds

3 cups DAIRY

  • 1 cup of dairy counts as:
  • 1 cup milk; 1 cup yogurt; 1 cup fortified soy beverage; or 1 1/2 ounces natural cheese or 2 ounces processed cheese For a sample menu, see our answer to another member’s question by clicking here: How many calories a day should I eat and what should I be eating to lose weight?  The daily pattern above, combined with good food choices, can be helpful in creating a new routine to jump-start change.

– 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.

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Share In Good Habits To Keep Fit By Dining With A Friend

Share In Good Habits To Keep Fit By Dining With A Friend

SHARE IN GOOD HABITS TO KEEP FIT BY DINING WITH A FRIEND

Workout with a friend & dine with a friend. Good news – if your friend is a healthy eater you may make better food choices, too! Simply put, we use what others eat as a guide for our own eating behavior. People are prone to mimic the behaviors of others that they want to affiliate with, often without conscious awareness. Simply observing others making lower-calorie food choices increases the likelihood that you’ll make similar choices. More than “monkey see, monkey do,” this reflection of action is with intent and direction.

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Positive messages in your environment work, too. Reading a daily affirmation or reminder about healthy eating can also impact decisions and actions at mealtime. Consider signing up to receive a daily inspirational quote to your phone or email each morning. Subscribe to our blog to be notified of new Living Healthy articles.

So what does that mean if you are a healthy eater, but your meal partner is not? Consider the dining opportunity as your chance to model healthy food choices and intake for him or her. The effect is subtle and can happen over time with repeated occurrences, so no verbal discussion about nutrition or health with your friend is necessary, which may be construed as unwanted “advice” and end up being counter-productive. Just set a good example of eating nutritious foods in appropriate portions, and order first if you are at a restaurant.

If your wider social circle regularly consumes unhealthy foods, don’t conform to the majority! They may unwittingly undermine your intentions to be healthy. Keep in mind that when others ask you to share in their indulgences, they don’t just want you to enjoy that specific food or drink, but may really be looking for your acceptance and approval of their choices by your participation. It generally takes three polite “No, thank you” responses before people quit asking. Your demonstration of self-restraint might be the influence they need to do the same.

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.

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