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Healthy Weight Center > Nutrition > Facts & Tips: 1 | 2

Weight Loss Facts & Tips
by Christine Palumbo, RD

If you're confused by conflicting advice on weight loss, take heart. It's frustrating to follow what you think is a low calorie regimen, only to find weight loss elusive. Myths abound on what it takes for weight loss. Here are five facts to help you reach your goals.

1. Cutting Calories Can Be Counterproductive

A lot of the old weight loss diets drastically cut calories—as low as 1,200 or even 1,000 a day. A more realistic level, depending on your size, gender and activity level, might be as many as 1,800 calories. In fact, the National Research Council reference woman is 25-50 years old, 5'4", 138 pounds and needs 2,200 calories to maintain her weight. She would safely lose weight by eating about 1,700 calories. And that's more than most of us expect.

Cutting more calories could be counterproductive. A powerful tendency to resist starvation and store fat to survive often kicks in.

2. Nibbling IS Noticeable

Research shows that keeping a daily journal of everything you eat—and drink—helps you lose weight. It works for several reasons. It's a real eye-opener when you realize just how much food you eat and when. For example, some people constantly taste food while they're cooking. And those calories do count. Or mothers may nibble foods off their children's plates. Keeping a food journal can help you see patterns in your eating. You can identify the sources of empty calories and know when you overeat, such as at late afternoon, right after work, nighttime or periods of stress. Finally, writing down what you eat helps you focus and make weight loss a conscious part of your life.

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