Once you reach a healthy weight – the first step to achieving optimal health – your next step is to transition from your weight loss routine to eating healthy for life to sustain long-term weight management. In Element 14, you’ll begin to incorporate a full range of healthy foods into your diet so you’re able to prepare a variety of meals. If you aren’t yet ready to transition, stay focused on your health goals and reaching your healthy weight.
For the first four weeks of your transition, Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen recommends increasing your daily caloric intake gradually by adding back in the four food groups you avoided during Phase I: additional vegetables, fruits, dairy, and whole grains. Here are some tips to follow when reintroducing these types of foods back in your diet:
- Week 1—Additional Vegetables. Add an extra cup (two servings) of vegetables from the green section of the chart (page 293 of Your LifeBook). This week you should be consuming between 850 – 1,050 calories per day.
- Week 2—Fruit. At this point, you should remove one Fueling and add two medium-sized pieces or one cup of chopped fruit or berries from the green section of the chart on page 294 of Your LifeBook. This week you should be consuming between 900 – 1,150 calories per day.
- Week 3—Dairy. Your dairy option can include low-fat and sugar-free yogurt or milk. This week you should be consuming between 1,000 – 1,300 calories per day.
- Week 4—Whole grains & lean protein. During this week, you should add a whole grain option instead of a Fueling: one slice of whole grain bread, ¾ cup of high-fiber cereal, ⅓ cup of whole wheat pasta, or ½ cup of brown rice. You should also add 4 ounces of lean meat, poultry or fish per day. This week you should be consuming between 1,100 – 1,550 calories per day.
At this point, you should now be eating three Fuelings, one Lean & Green meal, one additional cup of vegetables, two medium-sized pieces of fruit or 1 cup of berries or chopped fruit, one cup of low-fat or fat-free dairy, one portion of whole grains, and 4 ounces of additional lean meat, poultry or fish per day.
Your weight may fluctuate during this transition phase as your body gets accustomed to the additional carbohydrates, salt, and calories. Remember to monitor your weight and adjust your caloric intake if you fluctuate more than a few pounds from your healthy weight. Work closely with your Coach to determine your plan of action.
In Element 15—your blueprint for sustainable success in managing your eating habits for life—we’ll explore Dr. A’s Healthy Eating System, which allows you to add calories progressively to maintain an optimal weight.
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