Eating for Weight Loss & Toning

Following a weight-loss meal plan and exercising regularly will help you shed pounds and tone up. While calorie reduction is one of the most effective weight-loss strategies, adding cardiovascular and resistance exercises helps increase lean muscle and burn excess body fat. Replacing empty-calorie foods with healthier alternatives is a good place to begin your weight-loss and toning journey.

Caloric Requirements

Eating fewer calories than you burn off daily is an effective weight-loss strategy and helps reduce excess body fat -- which is what helps you look more toned. Aim to burn off 500 to 1,000 more calories than you eat by boosting physical activity and reducing your daily caloric intake. Healthy moderately active adults often require about 15 calories per pound of their body weights daily for weight maintenance, according to Harvard Health Publications. Therefore, subtract 500 to 1,000 from this number for your weight-loss calorie needs. Women shouldn’t drop below 1,200 calories daily and men need at least 1,500 calories per day.

High-Fiber Recommendations

How to Lose 20 Pounds of Fat in One Month Without Exercise

Learn More

Dietary fiber often helps you feel full for long periods of time, and it provides few to no calories and may interfere with fat absorption, according to NYU Langone Medical Center. Fiber also helps reduce hunger, according to a study published in 2013 in “ISRN Obesity.” Therefore, fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts and legumes are excellent choices when you’re trying to tone up and shed pounds. Always check with your doctor before trying fiber supplements for weight loss.

Protein Benefits

Protein not only aids in weight loss, it enhances lean body mass -- which is beneficial when you’re trying to tone up. A review published in 2008 in “Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity” found that higher-protein diets increase energy expenditure and satiety and help preserve lean body mass during weight loss. Choose low-fat dairy foods, egg whites, soy products, seafood, skinless poultry and other lean meats, nuts, seeds and legumes to shed pounds. While often unnecessary, whey, casein and egg protein supplements are convenient -- but talk with your doctor before using them.

Weight-Loss Beverage Options

Exercises to Slim Hips, Thighs & Stomach

Learn More

Water is one of the best beverage choices when trying to lose weight and tone up because it’s calorie-free. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your toning workouts -- and even right before meals to boost satiety. Black coffee and unsweetened teas contain very few calories, so they are also beneficial when used in place of higher-calorie sugary drinks. Caffeine found in coffee and tea promotes fat breakdown and enhances your body’s metabolic rate, according to NYU Langone Medical Center.