Depends on your age. Any weight loss by someone younger than 18 years of age should be under the guidance of a doctor. Weight loss in teens and children can negatively impact their future height so it is usually not a good idea. Generally, we work with teens and children to grow into their weight over time so that what they weigh now will be within a healthy weight for their height when they grow taller.
For young adults, weight loss is a combination of eating less food and exercising more especially if you are a student who sits a lot. Aim to lose 1 or 2 pounds per week and focus on losing 5 to 10 pounds in a month. Congratulate yourself for losing weight at the end of 1 month. Then set a goal to lose another 5 to 10 pounds the next month. Just focus on the next month goal weight rather than the lowest weight you want which may seem out of reach now. Repeat with monthly weight goals until you reach a healthy weight.
As far as what to eat, choose a variety of foods from meat, poultry, fish, low-fat or fat-free dairy, whole grains, fruit, vegetables and healthy fats (olive, peanut, Canola, tree nuts, and avocado). You don’t have to buy any special foods.
If you add sugar to coffee or tea, I would suggest an artificial sweetener instead. If you drink carbonated beverages, switch to the sugar-free type. Try substituting water for some of the diet soda you drink. Adding a slice of lemon or some fresh fruit helps flavor water and encourages you to drink more water.
Also, other than fat-free milk and plain yogurt, you don’t need to buy fat-free foods. They don’t taste as good as the real thing and research has proven that you will eat the same number of calories of fat-free food as the regular fat version. Food is meant to be enjoyed.
If you are unsure how much food to eat, try my Healthy Body Calculator® which will calculate a healthy weight range for your height and weight as well as a Calorie Daily Value which you can set as a goal. If you want a personalized healthy eating plan, add your Calorie Daily Value to HELP Healthy Eating for Life Plan®. Choose the type of milk you want, meat or not, beans or not, and snacks or not. HELP will create a custom eating plan and each food group is linked to a small database of foods from which you can make a menu to eat. Print off your HELP eating plan and cross off foods on your plan as you eat them. Another sure-fire research proven method is to keep a food journal of food as you eat it. Research shows that people who write down what they eat are more likely to lose weight. Plan ahead so that you don’t eat whatever is handy when you are starving and eat every 4 to 6 hours so that you don’t get to that starving eat anything in sight mode.
Lastly, if you are an adult and in good health, exercise to break a sweat for 60 minutes 5 days a week. If you have a chronic illness, ask your doctor before starting an exercise program especially if you are very overweight. If you are under 18 years of age or college student, enroll in a physical education course.