Smart Weight Loss
o Set small goals and think long-term.
It may take 2-3 years to reach a healthy weight. Expect ½-1 pound weight loss per week
average. The number on the scale is a result, not a goal. Set small goals to change habits
that will lead to weight loss.
o Plan extra time each week.
Healthy eating requires anywhere from 7-14 hours per week of time. This includes meal
planning, grocery shopping, cooking, food preparation, and cleanup.
o Get rid of sugary drinks.
Sugar hides in soda, sweet tea, lemonade, sport drinks, energy drinks, fruit juice and
coffee drinks. These drinks don’t make the body feel full and are linked with weight gain.
o Eat 3 meals and 0-3 snacks each day.
Make time for breakfast. Don’t skip meals. Try to eat every 3-5 hours.
o Plan ahead.
Make a list and grocery shop once per week. Bring food to work or school each day.
o Limit restaurant and take-out meals to 2 times per week or less.
o Drink plenty of water- 6-8 cups (48-64 ounces) daily.
Make at least half of your total liquid water.
o Use smaller plates and bowls.
Try to use an 8 inch plate for meals (most dinner plates are 11-12 inches). This helps you
eat smaller portions.
o Eat at least 1-2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables daily.
Include a fruit or vegetable with every meal and snack. Eat fruit and vegetable first to
help decrease hunger for the rest of the meal.
o Exercise about 30-60 minutes per day.
Walk, bike, or swim at a moderately brisk pace. Start slowly and increase intensity,
duration and frequency of the exercise as tolerated.
o Limit screen time.
Aim for less than 10 hours per week playing on the computer or watching TV.
o Write down what you eat every day.
You can use paper and pencil, or try free web tools or phone apps to help you keep track.
o Weigh yourself once a week, at most.
It may be better to hide the scale and focus on how you feel and how clothes fit.
o Use a support network.
Keep a personal journal to track your progress and goals. Check in with a friend, attend a
support group, or follow up with a dietitian every week to discuss your progress.
o Figure out why you eat.
If you reach for food when bored, stressed, or sad, you may be giving your body food it
doesn’t need. Learn to identify true hunger and ask your dietitian or doctor for ways to
cope with emotions instead of eating.
What is the most important thing you learned from this handout?
What changes will you make in your diet/lifestyle, based on what you learned today?
If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions please contact UW Health at one of the
phone numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition.
Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s
Hospital (AFCH) can be reached at: (608) 890-5500.
Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) can be reached at: (608) 287-2770.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 2/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Clinical Nutrition Services Department and the Department
of Nursing. HF#531