How Many Fat Grams Should I Eat?

By June 6, 2012

I am 5’2″ and 180lbs. I was used to being very physically active at 130 lbs, before I had my two year old. I want to lose weight and am trying to go back to a healthy way of eating, but I can’t find time to exercise the way I used to. I was wondering if there is a certain number of fat grams that can be consumed and still lose weight? – Martha

Dear Martha:

Mothers of young children do face challenges when it comes to eating well and exercising. I’m glad you wrote in to share what are common frustrations for women in your season of life. But this is also a precious time, so enjoy your little one. Try to make your goal to live a healthy lifestyle that you can model and pass on. It’s not too early to establish healthy attitudes and good eating habits in your child.

Let’s talk about exercise first. Even though it may be hard to fit in structured classes or visits to the gym at this time, you can still lead a physically active life. Pushing a stroller, playing in the park, lifting your toddler, and dancing to Sesame Street songs are all forms of exercise, too. Each time you chase after your two-year old, you are doing a mini-sprint. All this body movement adds up over the course of a day. So instead of feeling frustrated that you can’t work out the way you used to, embrace all the new creative ways you can get some exercise. In the meantime, you will be demonstrating to your child the joys of being active. And before you know it, life will settle down and you’ll find blocks of time to return to your previous forms of exercise.

In the long run, simply counting fat grams is not the key to attaining and maintaining your healthiest weight. It’s good to check labels on occasion and be aware of fat grams, but trying to control fat intake without looking at all the other aspects of eating well is too limited an approach. People who are most successful work at making healthy food choices most of the time, along with establishing good eating patterns. I would recommend that you check out some of the articles here on the website, especially “Eleven Keys to a Healthy Lifestyle,” “A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Weight,” and “The Truth about Fats.”

Measure success by the positive attitudes and behaviors you implement, as opposed to becoming too food-focused and weight obsessed (which is an easy trap to fall into during any season of life). If you make eating well a priority and keep up with your toddler, your weight will naturally start to fall to its healthiest level. And your whole family will be better off in the process.

My best to you,