Friday, February 26, 2021

Healthy Diet: How to Plan a Diet That Works for YOU


A good diet and lifestyle seems simple right? Eat clean, exercise more, and maintain your weight….

Yet…Statistics show that more than a third of people are overweight and many suffer from obesity.

Being overweight puts you at a higher risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis, and many other diseases.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

The body mass index determines the degree of your body weight. The guidelines are set up to determine if you’re under weight, fit, overweight, or obese.

Calculate Your BMI

  • Multiply your weight (in pounds) times 704
  • Divide that by your height in inches
  • Divide that number by your height in inches again


  • You’re 5’4″ (62 inches) and weigh 160 pounds
  • 160 x 704 = 11264
  • 11264 divided by 62 = 1816.77
  • 1816.77 divided by 62 = 29.30
  • he BMI would be 29.30

Find your results:

  • 18.5 and under – Under weight, extremely active or still growing
  • 19 – 24.9 = Fit
  • 25 – 29.9 = Overweight
  • 30 + = Obese

Body Mass Index Calculator


Underweight is considered to be under a healthy weight. Most consider individuals under 18.5 to be underweight – although some authorities use a higher value of 20. It is important to note that the BMI is a statistical estimate and some individuals classified as underweight may be perfectly healthy.

Overweight is defined as weighing more than is normal, necessary, or allowed, especially having more body weight than is considered normal or healthy for one’s age or build.

Obese is defined as well above ones normal weight. A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are more than 20 percent over their ideal weight.

The body mass index is very useful to doctors in determining relative weight to height and measures your total body fat. The BMI is an accurate measurement of body fat with the exception of people that are very muscular or have lost a lot of muscle.

You should consult your doctor before starting a weight loss program.

Exercise & Fitness

A healthy diet and physical fitness are the key factors to maintaining good health and a healthy lifestyle.

Eating healthy is not always easy, but it is doable. The temptations of “what’s easy to grab and fix” is always right in front of you, whether it’s at the grocery or as you’re driving home past the fast food places.

It’s a matter of going back to the fundamentals of good food and nutrition. It will take some planning to start, but you can find a healthy diet that fits your lifestyle.

Achieving A Healthy Diet –
How Many Calories Do You Need for a Healthy Diet?

You need to know how many calories you need to consume to maintain your weight.

To maintain your weight you need to consume about the same amount of calories you burn every day.

If you need to gain weight, you need to consume more calories than you burn.

If you need to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. To lose weight you would need to reduce your daily caloric intake by 300 to 500 calories. However it is not healthy to go under 1,200 calories per day.

To determine how many calories your body needs to function, you can calculate your…

BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the calorie energy used by your body to function inclusive of energy used internally for respiration, to control your body temperature and heart beat.

It is the amount of calories used by your body when you’re completely inactive. Your age, gender, weight, muscle mass and body size all impact your BMR.

Your body “burns” more calories throughout the day than just the energy exhausted when relaxed to sustain your body’s normal functions.

This constant labor accounts for 60 percent of calories used by your body.

Determine Your BMR

The formula for calculating your BMR:

BMR for males = 66 + (13.7 x W) + (5 x H) – (6.8 x Y)
BMR for females = 655 + (9.6 x W) + (1.8 x H) – (4.7 x Y)

W = Weight in Kilograms (Pounds ÷ 2.2)
H = Height in Centimeters (Inches x 2.54)
Y = Age in Years

Basal Metabolic Rate Calculator

Gender Weight Height Age
Pounds Feet Inches Years
BMR: Calories Per Day

As we age, our BMR will decrease because we have less lean body mass. Height is also a consideration in your BMR, being tall and lean you would have a higher BMR.

Other issues that can lower your BMR are high levels of stress hormones, fasting, malnutrition and changes in the environmental temperature.

Quick weight loss diets with extremely low caloric intake decreases your BMR, which makes it harder or almost impossible to lose weight.

Aerobic fitness will boost your BMR. It improves your health when your body isn’t able to burn energy as fast.

What Foods Should you Eat on a Healthy Diet?

You need good foods and healthy available snacks that are nutrient rich to make sure your body is getting all of the nutrients it needs to function throughout the day.

If you are lacking the needed nutrients in your diet, you may want to consider nutritional supplements to maintain good health.

I personally believe that the foods we eat today have changed enormously from what our parents and grandparents consumed. You may want to consider organic foods, the benefits of organic food encompass our health as well as preservation of our planet in my humble opinion.

Healthy Diet Recommendations

It’s easy to fill up on “empty calorie” or “nutrient-poor” foods. When you’re making choices, consider the following:

  •  Choose fat free, low fat and one percent fat dairy products.
  •  Limit your fat intake and use hyrogenated vegetable oil sparingly to reduce trans fat in your diet.
  •  Choose foods lower in cholestorol and keep your intake between 200mg and 300mg daily.
  •  Meats should be lean with very little fat and poultry should have the skin removed.
  •  Cut back on added sugars such as glucose, fructose and corn syrups.

Healthy Cooking

Healthy home cooking is a good way to control the foods that you eat ensuring what you’re eating is good for you.

If you’re a salt user, hide the shaker!

Marinate and season veggies and meats with fresh herbs and spices and eliminate store bought mixes.

Hide your skillet and your cooking oil and try some of these healthier tips.

Healthy Cooking – Substitutes

  •     Use two egg whites for one whole egg or three egg whites for two whole eggs.
  •     Use skim milk instead of whole milk or two per cent milk.
  •     Use a variety of spices and herbs. Try them in different dishes, meat, vegetable and fruit.
  •     When you’re baking muffins and breads, add fiber like oatmeal, wheat germ or raisin bran.
  •     Use low sodium or non-sodium ingredients.
  •     Replace or use less sugar with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla or caramel when you bake.
  •     Use nonfat sour cream, yogurt, or cottage cheese in place of sour cream. A little dill added is excellent for flavoring.
  •     Mix whole grains into your ingredients when using wheat flour or cornmeal.
  •     Use applesauce in place of oil when you’re baking.

Healthy Cooking Tips

Steam or grill veggies, they retain more flavor and nutrients.

Trim fat from meats before you cook them.

Remove fat from your stews, soups and stock before using them again.

When your recipe calls for oil, use olive, sunflower or canola oil.

Use cooking spray in place of oil and butter.

For Great Flavor and Nutrient Retention Use These Healthy Cooking Tips

Poaching is gently simmering foods in broth, water or juices.

Stir frying veggies, seafood and poultry requires very little moisture, use veggie stock, a small amount of olive oil or wine.

Baking doesn’t require added fats to cook. If you don’t use a cover, certain meats may need basted so they don’t dry out.

To braise you brown your ingredients in a pan on top of the stove, and then add a small amount of water or broth to finish cooking.

Grilling or Broiling
Grilling outdoors or broiling meat on a rack will eliminate the drippings from the meat.

This is a good alternative because it’s fast and doesn’t add fat or calories.

Use nonstick cookware to eliminate heavy fried foods. Wine, broth or vegetable sprays work well.

Healthy Diets for Special Needs

Many people have health issues or allergies that require a special healthy diet. We will be adding to this list often.

Healthy Heart Diet

As more and more Americans and people from all over the world suffer from heart disease, it’s crucial now more than ever that you are eating for a healthy heart.

This includes eating foods that have less strain on the arteries because this in turn effects how hard the heart has to work to pump and circulate blood.

If you are concerned about your heart health then read more about eating a heart healthy diet.

High Cholesterol Diet

Cholesterol impacts women’s health daily. Men are also affected by cholesterol, however, studies show women have the highest rate of this disease.

Women normally have higher HDL levels than men do because the female sex hormone estrogen tends to raise the HDL levels.

Women normally have higher triglyceride levels. As you age or if you become overweight, the triglyceride levels rise.

High levels in your blood can easily lead to heart disease which is the number one killer in America of both men and women.

If you are overweight, you should lose weight and get 30 minutes a day of aerobic exercise four days a week. Start gradually and work your way up.

Recommendations for A Healthy Cholesterol Diet

Choose healthy foods that are nutrient dense, high in complex carbohydrates and fiber. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are low fat and cholesterol free.

Choose lean meat and skinless poultry, prepare them by broiling, roasting or baking instead of using added fats. Cut back on red meat.

Eat fish at least two to three times a week. Omega-3 fatty acids help lower triglycerides. They also help reduce high blood pressure and the risk of blood clots.

Oils should be the lowest in saturated fats and used in moderate amounts. Sunflower oil, olive oil, sesame oil and safflower oil are good products to choose from.

Soluble fiber reduces LDL cholesterol. It’s found is apples, prunes, brussel sprouts, oatmeal, barley, and kidney beans.

Replace or use less sugar with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla or caramel when you bake. Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.

Select fat free, 1 percent fat, and low fat dairy products.

Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. Use spices and herbs for flavoring or a salt substitute such as Mrs. Dash.

If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation.

Studies have shown that walnuts can significantly reduce blood cholesterol. Only a handful though because they are high in calories. Nuts and seeds provide ample protein and are great choices.

Always read the the labels on foods you purchase. Many foods have saturated fat or trans fat that can raise your levels. Also check the sodium content which can increase your blood pressure.

Your fat intake should be less that 35 percent daily. Your cholesterol intake should be under 300mg daily, unless you’re on medication to reduce your cholesterol. In that case it should be under 200mg daily.

Lactose Intolerant Diet

How common is Lactose Intolerance? Almost 70% of the world’s population has this problem.

Can we have a lactose-free diet? Yes, we can make changes.

It’s caused by a deficiency of lactase, which is an enzyme that absorbs and digests milk sugar. When it’s not digested, it ferments in our intestine, creating stomach pain, gas, bloating and diarrhea.

Lactose Intolerance is sometimes misdiagnosed as a bowel disorder.

If you have this condition, you should consult your doctor.

Your Tolerance Level

What you eat and drink depends on your tolerance level for lactose. Some of us can manage small portions of milk products, especially combined with other foods. Others may have to take supplements to help digest the milk products.

You can control Lactose Intolerance by modifying your diet. It’s recommended you get the assistance of a nutritionist or dietitian.

Read the nutrition labels for the ingredient list on products before buying them. If whey, curds, milk by-products or dry milk is included, it has lactose.

Products That Aid in Lactose Intolerance

  •     Lactaid and Dairy Ease – These have an enzyme to help digest milk products. They come in caplets or drops.
  •     Lacteeze and Dairy Ease – special milk products
  •     Soy milk

Lactose Free Diet – Food and Drink You Can Have

  •     Reduced or Lactose Free milk, rice milk, soy milk, non-dairy creamers.
  •     Fats and oil from margarine, butter, bacon with zero milk or whey, dressings minus milk or cheese, olives, vegetable oils, olives, non-dairy cream and mayonnaise.
  •     Beverages like non-dairy supplements such as Nutren and Ensure, juices from vegetables and fruit, tea, wine, beer, distilled alcohol, carbonated beverages, cocoa and most coffee.
  •     Water based breads, pasta, potatoes, rice and rice cakes, graham crackers, dry cereals, oats, barley, cornmeal and other plain grains.
  •     Fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruits and vegetables.
  •     Fresh or frozen plain meats, fish and poultry, eggs, kosher prepared meats, wild game, peas, beans or lentils. Check the labels before buying breaded products.
  •     Soybean and tofu products.
  •     Pretzels, corn tortilla chips, popcorn, salsa, ketchup, uncreamed horseradish, mustard, pickles, sauces that are milk free, molasses, corn syrup, honey, sugar, jams, maple syrup, spices and herbs.
  •     Peanut butter, nuts and seeds.
  •     Hard candy, jelly beans, peanut brittle, gum drops and other chocolate free candies. Be sure to read the nutrition labels.
  •     Soups from broth, bouillon, meat, or vegetables. Chowders and bisque mad with water, soy milk or lactose-free milk.

These are some examples, again it’s very important to check labels. There are a lot of products that are lactose free or reduced that you can use.

Calcium can be obtained through vegetables, orange juice, soymilk and rice milk, and in supplement form.

We are all different in what we can tolerate. Basically, we learn through trial and error by trying different products.

The only treatment is diet modification and lifestyle changes.

Lactose Free Diets and Books

How to Tolerate Lactose Intolerance: Recipes & A Guide for Eating Well Without Dairy Products

200 Best Lactose-Free Recipes: From Appetizers and Soups to Main Courses and Desserts

Gluten Free Diet

Celiac disease affects 1 in 133 Americans. It’s also known as gluten intolerance. Gluten is a form of protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

Weight Management

You have worked hard, planned and maintained a healthy diet, have lost some weight or you’re now at the stage of maintaining your weight.

What are the steps you can take to do maintaining your weight?

Proper weight management strategies can help you manage and lose weight, yet effort and commitment needs to come from you!

After working so hard to change your lifestyle, eat right and accomplish a healthy weight, so many people fail because they don’t make the commitment or they don’t understand the issues that caused the weight gain in the beginning.

In order to maintain a healthy diet, a healthy weight and a health lifestyle, let’s take a look at some of the issues we face today.

Gloria Brown
Women's health and wellness retreat leader providing vacations and trips for women to get in shape -- and stay that way! On you can find my articles about weight loss, health and women's issues. Please feel free to contact me on

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