Rule #1. Calories. Eat the correct number of Calories to reach or maintain a healthy weight.

For a moderately active person, this is typically 12-14 Calories per pound of body weight. To lose weight, allow 10 Calories per pound of goal weight.

Rule # 2. Vegetables. Include 3-4 cups non starchy vegetables each day.

Non-Starchy vegetables include salad greens, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, cucumbers, mushrooms, onion, asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, and cabbage. Starchy vegetables include corn, peas, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Starchy vegetables count towards grain/starch allowances and should not count towards your daily vegetable consumption.

Rule # 3. Grains and Starches. Limit grain/starch consumption to 5 servings/500 Calories.

Focus on whole grains, including whole wheat, brown rice, whole grain pastas, and sweet potatoes. Limit refined or quickly digested starches, including white potatoes, white bread, white pasta, and white rice.

Rule #4. Dairy. Consume 2-3 servings of dairy each day.

Limit whole and reduced fat products, focusing on skim/nonfat products.

Rule #5. Protein. Consume whole-food protein sources.

Most adults typically consume adequate protein, but tend to consume too much of the wrong types of proteins. Fatty and processed meat products comprise a large segment of the average adult's regular intake. So how much is enough, and what should you eat?

Women typically require 40-55 g/day. Focus on lean, whole proteins and use supplements when needed. The one exception to the “lean protein” rule is fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and albacore tuna, which are high in beneficial Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

Rule #7. Fats. Pay attention to the amount and quality of your fat sources.

Fat should comprise no more than 20-35% total Calories. Foods like avocado, olive oil, nuts, and nut butters - while healthy, are just as high in calories as butter or lard, and the effects on body weight are the same. Limit fat consumption to 65 g per day or less.

Rule #8. Fruit. Focus on whole, hydrated fruit, rather than juice or dried fruit.

Consume 2 servings of fruit each day, in whole form. 1 serving is approximately 1 cup, or 1 piece of whole fruit. Avoid fruit juices (even those with no sugar added) and dried fruit, both of which are calorically potent and detrimental to weight maintenance.

Rule #9. Treats. Limit treats to 10-25% total Caloric intake.

Caloric beverages (including alcohol, juice, smoothies, soda, gourmet coffee, and energy drinks), desserts, and snack foods should comprise no more than 10-25% total Caloric intake.

Rule #10. It’s a marathon, not a sprint! If you fail one day, try again the next day!

No one is perfect. We all have days where we’re less than our best. If you get off track for a day, a week, or a month, get back on the horse. Start small, improving over time, and don’t beat yourself up.