So busy ladies, what is the real secret of a successful diet? Is it that BIG secret to guarantee weight loss that your BFF told you about? Did your doctor tell you to just “eat less, exercise more”? Did your neighbor (who is still overweight) tell you to just give up bread? It’s no wonder you are feeling totally confused! Below are a few common “diet” questions where the truth will be sorted out once and for all.

  • How many calories should I eat so my body don’t go into “starvation mode”?

The number of calories that a woman needs to eat to prevent her metabolism from slowing down will differ from woman to woman. It depends on how much weight you need to lose and your genetics. Most women shouldn’t eat less than 1,200 calories a day, simply because it’s becomes really difficult to get adequate nutrition (fats, carbs, proteins, vitamins and minerals) to maintain health at such lower calorie levels. In general, it is safe to aim for no more than 1-2 pounds of weight-loss per week. It takes burning 3,500 calories to lose just ONE pound. So, you need to either cut or burn 500-1000 calories per day.

  • Is there one food that I should absolutely avoid to lose weight?

The simplest answer is no. There is no single food that causes weight gain. The good news is that all foods can fit into a healthy eating plan. Avoiding a particular food completely may cause you to crave it even more (missing the well when the water runs dry). That could lead to binge eating for some of us ladies. For example, instead of eating both twinkies from the package, just eat one. Then save the other one for later that day or even the next day. The easiest way to do portion control is to find small portions that are individually packaged to prevent you from reaching into the economy-sized bag for more. Or just get into the habit of reading the food labels and put a portion size on your plate. While eliminating “non-essential” foods like soda, sugar, sweets and the like can help you lose weight and enhance your health, people lose and maintain weight loss and improve their health simply by cutting back on these foods rather than eliminating them entirely.

  • Do I have to be hungry all the time to lose weight?

Absolutely not! When your body starts to feel hungry, it starts to feel like you neglecting her. She, therefore will hold on to the fat that is currently in the body for fear of not getting more food. So, making it a habit of eating every 2 hours is a good habit for not being hungry and losing weight. Try eating 45 to 60 grams of carbs for breakfast and 15 to 20 grams for snacks in between. This will keep your body reassured that your will feed her again soon; therefore, she will release the fat that she has been in the habit of hanging on to for dear life.

If you feel overwhelmed by trying to make too many lifestyle changes at once, it’s fine to start by focusing on what you’re currently eating. As you get used to your eating plan and it becomes second nature,you can start adding exercise into your daily routine, until that, too, is just a part of your new life.