Weight Control

LAST UPDATED: October 06, 2017

Maintaining healthy eating habits will help you:

  • Manage transition-related stress
  • Prevent unwanted post-retirement weight gain
  • Improve your performance and quality of life as you age
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and other debilitating diseases
  • Protect your immune system

It’s never too late to practice healthy eating. Aim to improve your eating habits by controlling your portions, choosing nutrient-dense foods, planning and preparing meals ahead of time, and snacking smart.

As a Soldier, meeting body fat standards in accordance with AR 600-9 is a job requirement. Beyond that, maintaining a healthy body fat percentage is critical for optimal performance and good overall health. Managing weight is more than going on a diet or upping the amount of physical activity. Weight loss and weight loss maintenance is a bit more complicated and requires behavior modification and commitment to a lifestyle change.

Note: Only intensive counseling has been effective in achieving long-term weight control. Intensive counseling is defined as multiple face-to-face sessions over a period of time.

General weight loss tips

  1. Set reasonable, achievable and measurable goals. Write them down and post them where you see them every day.
  2. Weigh yourself at least once a week. Weigh the same time each day, preferably first thing in the morning, and use the same scale. Track your progress.
  3. Replace junk food in your diet with healthier foods—whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats from foods like nuts and seeds.
  4. Don’t skip meals and keep healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables handy.
  5. Drink 2 cups of water right before a meal. This helps you feel full and may help reduce caloric intake.
  6. Listen to your body. Eat when you feel the first pangs of hunger. Stop as soon as you start to feel satisfied (neither full nor hunger).
  7. Eat slowly. Taking at least 20 minutes to eat gives your “fullness signal” a chance to kick in.
  8. Reduce the number of times you eat foods prepared away from home. Pack your lunch and cook dinner at home.
  9. Reduce calories by decreasing portions a little at each meal. Decrease high calorie food and increase lower calorie foods like vegetables. Try eating on a 10-inch plate or smaller.
  10. Learn how to read and interpret food labels.

ArmyMOVE!

Army dietitians offer a standardized weight management program called, ArmyMOVE! to a Healthier Weigh. ArmyMOVE! is a comprehensive, evidence-based weight management program that includes behavior modification, activity and diet.

In addition, self-monitoring (via use of accelerometers/pedometers and food/activity logs) and maintenance of weight loss is emphasized. ArmyMOVE! meets nutrition counseling requirements per AR 600-9.

The program (Phase I) is spread over three months and requires intensive face-to-face contact of six facilitated group sessions followed by two individual sessions with a Registered Dietitian (RD). Upon completion of the Phase I minimum requirements, participants follow-up with an RD monthly for three months with one last contact on or about the nine-month mark.

Keep your weight in check! If you within 2% of body fat standards, be proactive and consider utilizing the Army Move! Program for prevention.

How to maintain weight loss

  • Balance the number of calories that you eat and drink with your activity level.
  • Avoid extreme diets or drastic weight loss. Rapid weight loss often leads to a loss of lean muscle mass, a slower metabolism and poor health.
  • Eat better while eating less - limit portion sizes to control calorie intake.
  • Be as physically active as you can be.
  • Talk to your health care provider or registered dietitian if you have concerns about your weight.
  • Keep your eating patterns consistent. Try to eat meals and snacks at roughly the same time each day.
  • Eat breakfast every day.
  • Don’t skip meals. Plan ahead and keep healthy snacks handy.
  • Build exercise into your daily routine. Regular exercise helps prevent weight re-gain.
  • Weigh yourself regularly. Once per week is sufficient.
  • Keep a food diary. Evaluate your calorie intake at least once every two weeks.
  • Stay committed to a healthy diet. Use your food diary to evaluate your daily nutrition choices.
  • Minimize screen time. This promotes sitting and inactivity. Commit to moving more and sitting less throughout the day.
  • Exercise at least an hour a day, almost every day. Spice it up by trying different activities.
  • Watch your calorie intake because as your body becomes smaller, it burns fewer calories. Reassess calorie needs every few months.
  • Eat a variety of foods from all of the food groups to get the nutrients you need. A well-balanced diet will help keep you healthy and your weight in check. Try and choose foods from at least 3–4 food groups at each meal and snack.
Example 2200 calorie meal plan
BREAKFAST
Food group Menu item Calories Carbs (g) Fat (g) Protein (g)
2.5 Fruits 1 banana 105 27 0 1
1 orange 87 22 0 2
1/2 cup of 100% apple juice 60 16 0 0
2 Grains 1 cup of unsweetened cereal 100 20 2 3
1 slice of 100% whole wheat bread 80 15 1 3
1 Dairy 1 cup of skim milk 90 12 0 8
1 oz. Protein 1 scrambled egg (large) 91 1 7 6
3 Other 1 tsp. margarine 34 0 4 0
1 cup of black coffee 2 0 0 0
Water 0 0 0 0
Breakfast sub-totals 649 113 14 23
MORNING SNACK
Food group Menu item Calories Carbs (g) Fat (g) Protein (g)
1 Fruit 1 fresh, medium-sized apple 72 19 0 0
Snack sub-totals 72 19 0 0
LUNCH
Food group Menu item Calories Carbs (g) Fat (g) Protein (g)
2 Vegetables 2 cups of leafy greens for salad 15 3 0 1
1/2 cup fresh cucumber (sliced or chopped) 7 1 0 0
1/2 cup fresh tomato (sliced or chopped) 19 4 0 1
2 Grains 1 small whole wheat bun 120 22 2 4
1 Dairy 1 cup of skim milk 103 0 2 21
1 oz. Protein 3 oz. roasted, skinless, boneless chicken breast 90 12 0 8
3 Other 2 tbsp. reduced-fat ranch dressing 80 7 6 0
1 tsp. yellow mustard 3 0 0 0
Water 0 0 0 0
Lunch sub-totals 437 49 10 35
MID-AFTERNOON SNACK
Food group Menu item Calories Carbs (g) Fat (g) Protein (g)
1/2 Fruit 1/4 cup raisins (not tightly packed) 109 29 0 1
2 oz. Protein and 2 tsp. Oil 1 oz. dry-roasted almonds (22 whole kernels) 169 5 15 6
Snack sub-totals 278 34 15 7
DINNER
Food group Menu item Calories Carbs (g) Fat (g) Protein (g)
3 Vegetables 2 cups of leafy greens for salad 15 3 0 1
1 cup of steamed broccoli 55 11 1 4
1 small baked potato 128 29 0 3
1 Fruit 1 cup of fresh strawberries 46 11 1 1
6 oz. Lean Protein 6 oz. grilled tilapia 162 0 3 34
1 Dairy 1 cup of skim milk 90 12 0 8
3 Other 2 tbsp. oil & vinegar dressing 150 1 16 0
1 tbsp. regular margarine 101 0 11 0
Water 0 0 0 0
Dinner sub-totals 747 67 32 51
Daily totals 2183 282 71 116
Example 2600 calorie meal plan
BREAKFAST
Food group Menu item Calories Carbs (g) Fat (g) Protein (g)
3 Fruits 1 Banana 105 27 0 1
1 Orange 87 22 0 2
1 cup of 100% Apple Juice 120 31 0 0
2 Grains 1 cup of Unsweetened Cereal 100 20 2 3
1 slice of 100% Whole Wheat Bread 80 15 1 3
1 Dairy 1 cup of Skim Milk 90 12 0 8
1 oz. Protein 1 Scrambled Egg (large) 91 1 7 6
3 Other 1 tsp. Margarine 34 0 4 0
1 cup of Black Coffee 2 0 0 0
Water 0 0 0 0
Breakfast sub-totals 709 128 14 23
MID-MORNING SNACK
Food group Menu item Calories Carbs (g) Fat (g) Protein (g)
1 Grain 1 oz. or 20 Unsalted Mini Pretzels 110 25 0 3
1 Dairy 1 container (6 oz.) 90 16 0 5
Snack sub-totals 200 41 0 8
LUNCH
Food group Menu item Calories Carbs (g) Fat (g) Protein (g)
2 Vegetables 2 cups of Leafy Greens for Salad 15 3 0 1
1/2 cup Fresh Cucumber (sliced or chopped) 7 1 0 0
1/2 cup Fresh Tomato (sliced or chopped) 19 4 0 1
2 Grains 1 cup of Cooked Brown Rice 218 45 2 5
4 oz. Lean Protein 4 oz. Roasted, Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast 137 0 3 27
1 Dairy 1 cup of Skim Milk 90 12 0 8
2 Other 2 tbsp. Reduced-Fat Ranch Dressing 80 7 6 0
1 tsp. Yellow Mustard 3 0 0 0
Water 0 0 0 0
Lunch sub-totals 566 72 11 42
MID-AFTERNOON SNACK
Food group Menu item Calories Carbs (g) Fat (g) Protein (g)
1.5 Fruit 1 Fresh, Medium-Sized Apple 72 19 0 0
1/4 cup Raisins (not tightly packed) 109 29 0 1
2 oz. Protein and 2 tsp. Oil 1 oz. Dry-Roasted Almonds (22 whole kernels) 169 5 15 6
Snack sub-totals 350 53 15 7
DINNER
Food group Menu item Calories Carbs (g) Fat (g) Protein (g)
3 Vegetables 2 cups of Leafy Greens for Salad 15 3 0 1
1 cup of Steamed Broccoli 55 11 1 4
1 small Baked Potato 128 29 0 3
1 Fruit 1 cup of Fresh Strawberries 46 11 1 1
6 oz. Lean Protein 6 oz. Grilled Tilapia 162 0 3 34
1 Dairy 1 cup of Skim Milk 90 12 0 8
3 Other 2 tbsp. Oil & Vinegar Dressing 150 1 16 0
1 tbsp. Regular Margarine 101 0 11 0
Water 0 0 0 0
Dinner sub-totals 747 67 32 51
Daily totals 2572 361 72 131
Example 1800 calorie meal plan
BREAKFAST
Food group Menu item Calories Carbs (g) Fat (g) Protein (g)
1 Fruit 1 Orange 87 22 0 2
1 Grain 1 slice of 100% Whole Wheat Bread 80 15 1 3
1 Dairy 1 container (6 oz) Light Yogurt 90 16 0 5
1 oz. Protein 1 Scrambled Egg (large) 91 1 7 6
3 Other 1 tsp. Margarine 34 0 4 0
1 cup of Black Coffee 2 0 0 0
Water 0 0 0 0
Breakfast sub-totals 384 54 12 16
MID-MORNING SNACK
Food group Menu item Calories Carbs (g) Fat (g) Protein (g)
1 Fruit 1 Fresh, Medium-Sized Apple 72 19 0 0
Snack sub-totals 72 19 0 0
LUNCH
Food group Menu item Calories Carbs (g) Fat (g) Protein (g)
2 Vegetables 2 cups of Leafy Greens for Salad 15 3 0 1
1/2 cup Fresh Cucumber (sliced or chopped) 7 1 0 0
1/2 cup Fresh Tomato (sliced or chopped) 19 4 0 1
2 Grains 1 small Whole Wheat Bun 120 22 2 4
4 oz. Lean Protein 3 oz. Roasted, Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast 103 0 2 21
1 Dairy 1 cup of Skim Milk 90 12 0 8
2 Other 2 tbsp. Reduced-Fat Ranch Dressing 80 7 6 0
1 tsp. Yellow Mustard 3 0 0 0
Water 0 0 0 0
Lunch sub-totals 437 49 10 35
MID-AFTERNOON SNACK
Food group Menu item Calories Carbs (g) Fat (g) Protein (g)
1/2 Fruit 1/4 cup Raisins (not tightly packed) 109 29 0 1
2 oz. Protein and 2 tsp. Oil 1 oz. Dry-Roasted Almonds (22 whole kernels) 169 5 15 6
Snack sub-totals 278 34 15 7
DINNER
Food group Menu item Calories Carbs (g) Fat (g) Protein (g)
3 Vegetables 2 cups of Leafy Greens for Salad 15 3 0 1
1 cup of Steamed Broccoli 55 11 1 4
1 small Baked Potato 128 29 0 3
1 Fruit 1 cup of Fresh Strawberries 46 11 1 1
4 oz. Lean Protein 4 oz. Grilled Tilapia 108 0 1 24
1 Dairy 1 cup of Skim Milk 90 12 0 8
3 Other 2 tbsp. Oil & Vinegar Dressing 150 1 16 0
1 tbsp. Light Margarine 45 0 5 0
Water 0 0 0 0
Dinner sub-totals 637 67 24 41
Daily totals 1808 223 61 99

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