Weight Loss Tips

USDA: Planning Is Key For Weight Loss (And We Agree!)

Woman standing at counter cutting fruit

Let’s be honest, results can’t come fast enough when trying to lose weight.

You nearly kill yourself week in and week out doing everything from Bikram yoga to spin classes at your local gym, but the pounds seem to drop about as fast as grandma Edna taking a seat in her Lazy Boy recliner.

According to an NIH study done in 2009-2010, more than two-thirds of adults (68%) are considered overweight or obese.  As the problem grows so do the promised miracle solutions. You’re bombarded with the latest tips and tricks that are supposed to help you drop pounds fast but usually just add to your frustrations.

But, if you take a step back and survey the landscape, you’ll notice an underlying theme in the weight loss advice given by some of the most trusted sources.

The USDA for example, has a core mission, which includes science-based dietary guidance, nutrition policy coordination and nutrition education. And the USDA encourages approaching weight loss with a detailed plan.

That’s it: the secret is an organized plan! Yep, it’s that simple.

Creating a plan lets you set clear objectives and benchmarks which is key when setting weight loss goals. It allows you to identify your target weight, control your caloric intake and ultimately create a plan that isn’t only filled with celery sticks, grapefruit, and cardboard flavored snacks.

Where Do You Start?

An organized weight loss plan starts with setting goals and determining how much you should be eating every day to meet those goals. But what exactly do you need to do to make your plan successful?

1. Set Your Goals

It is said that in order to achieve results you must have a goal to work towards. Something specific and measurable that maintains a realistic objective and is done within a timely period.

Too often, we set unrealistic goals because, like we said, losing weight can’t come fast enough. In addition, we set these unrealistic goals because we’re not taking the time to learn about what is best for our own bodies.

Here’s what you should ask yourself about your goal that puts your body as a top priority. Let’s say you have a weight loss goal of losing 40 pounds, fast:

✓ Do you know how many calories you need to cut out of your diet to hit that goal?
✓ Do you know how much daily exercise is required to lose the weight?
✓ Do you know how to check your progress to ensure that you’re staying on track?
✓ Do you know how much time it will take to lose it in a healthy way?

Green Smoothie Next To Shoe Tying

Answering these questions isn’t easy! Especially when it means checking your patience at the door (or doing any type of math–for those of you whom that comes naturally, I envy you). Fortunately, tools like those provided by the USDA let all of us figure out the details of reaching our goals.

To use the tool, you need to enter your weight, height, and daily activity levels, and then specify your goal weight and a timeframe. What’s great is that it will tell you if dropping the weight in your declared amount of time is even recommended.

Having a timeframe and a concrete goal makes it so much easier to stick to your weight loss journey for the long haul. “Let’s face it,” says Bruce Weinstien, PhD, aka The Ethics Guy, “most of the goals we set for ourselves are too ambitious.” Make sure to create sustainable goals that you can accomplish on even the craziest of days.

2. Reduce Caloric Intake

After you use a tool to find the calories you should consume over the given timeframe to lose weight, you’ll probably find that you’ll need to substantially change your eating habits.

But, controlling hunger is much easier said than done! That need-it-now desire we talked about earlier applies here, too. Starving yourself to cut calories ends in disaster, time and time again. We always end up overeating later or totally messing with our metabolism.

Losing one pound of body fat requires eliminating 3,500 calories. In general, if you want to drop two pounds each week, you need to eliminate 1,000 calories from your diet every day. But remember, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that women never eat less than 1,200 calories and men never eat less than 1,800 calories per day.

Girl Packing Exercise Bag

What most people don’t realize is that cutting calories doesn’t have to mean eating less. It just means eating smarter. When combined with a good strength-training program, eating 5 times a day will help in transforming your body into a fat-burning machine.

3. Finding Your Plan

Once you know your target daily caloric intake you’ll need to stick with in order to reach your goals, it’s time to find the perfect plan.

Make no mistake; changing your daily eating and exercise habits is a long road. Most people think it takes 21 days to change a habit. In reality it could take much longer depending on the habit you are trying to create.

The best way to create a habit of eating and exercising daily is to have a plan that fits your life. The plan you choose should provide you with:

✓ Complete control over your hunger and cravings.
✓ A way to reduce calories by eating MORE delicious foods.
✓ Convenient, affordable products that fit into a busy lifestyle.

Stop setting unrealistic goals that push you to a breakdown. A constant mood of ‘hangry’ is no way to live your life! Set yourself up for success with a realistic plan. That’s why the IdealPlan is perfect because it’s all done for me! I can focus on actually enjoying my new lifestyle.

Planning really is the key to reaching your weight loss goals. There really is the perfect plan for everyone, you just need to go out and start! 


Lindsey Mathews

Lindsey Mathews

Head Trainer

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