Dian Thomas
A Cottage Cheese Sundae, topped with raspberries, bananas, pineapple and slivered almonds makes a great, low-fat dessert.

You've got to eat in order to lose weight.

WOW. For someone who loves to eat, that was music to my ears.

The other night I was talking to my niece's husband, Richard Swenson, and that is what he said.

Richard will graduate as a medical doctor in April. It was not so long ago that when I would miss a meal I remember saying, "good, that will help me lose a little weight."

On my journey to lose more than a hundred pounds and keep it off, I have learned how important it is to eat three meals a day. I also eat three snacks daily.

I love the regiment, as I love to eat and all I have to do is wait about every 2½ hours and I get to eat again.

What I have learned while losing the weight is how important it is to eat the right foods at regular times.

Here are some guidelines I have adopted to help me lose the weight.

1. I eat 1,600 to 1,800 calories a day, broken down into three meals and three snacks. Check with your health specialist first for your optimal calorie intake for weight loss. For a regular fuel injection, eat a meal or a snack every two to three hours.

2. Eat eight servings of fruits and vegetables daily. A serving of fruit or vegetable varies from a half cup to one cup.

3. Limit bread to two servings per day, and choose complex carbohydrates from whole grains, as opposed to refined foods, such as sugar and white flour.

4. Consume two tablespoons of healthy oil, such as olive oil or oils found in nuts or vegetables each day. Most oils I use come from meats, fish, salad dressings and nuts.

5. Control portions. Pre-measure food items into proper portions so you'll be less tempted to overeat. By weighing and packaging foods ahead of time, you can better control your serving size. When I fail to do this step, I usually get tripped up and end up eating too much.

6. You don't have to leave out dessert. Even dessert is a must on my list when I am at a party or special occasion. I still avoid the high calorie treats and instead go with fruit or one of my favorites, which is the Cottage Cheese Sundae.

All you need is no-fat cottage cheese plus toppings. For each dish, use ½ cup of cottage cheese. Then top it with raspberries, bananas, pineapple and a few slivered almonds. Total calories for this dish will be around 200 calories.

Other key things that will help you lose weight would be to exercise, control stress, get a full night's rest, drink eight glasses of water each day, plan and prep your meals, make yourself accountable and enjoy the journey.

For me, deciding to take of the extra pounds and then getting onto a program that would support my weight loss was the main key to my success. Was it worth the effort?

It gave me a new life and freedom from the aches and pains that had filled my days. It was worth every effort it took to change my life.

TV personality and author Dian Thomas shares her journey of weight loss, exercise and life on the run every other Wednesday in the Deseret News and at www.DianThomas.com. Her weekly blog also runs Mondays at www.deseretnews.com and she takes tour groups to China. Contact her at www.www.dianthomas.com/travel.htm.