At the start of a new year everyone is trying to lose weight. That means diet pills, protein shakes, and fad diets will be knocking at your front door. But don’t give in my friends! Yes, I think shedding some extra pounds is a great idea. It’s a great idea any time of the year, and if you feel extra motivated at the start of January then that is even better! I have compiled a list of the do’s and don’ts of successful weight loss. These are my best kept secrets, not only as a Registered Dietitian, but also as a woman that has lost 30 pounds and kept if off for eight years.
Do get support and help from friends, family, or health professionals. And when I say professionals, I mean actual professionals, NOT sales people. My support came from my rugby team and friends. Join a group or go for one-on-one help, whichever you think will work best for you and your goals. If you have no extra money for support groups then just a find a friend and encourage each other to eat healthy and reach your goals.
Do practice mindful eating. Savor your food. Think about the flavor, aroma, texture of your food. Sit down at the table to eat. Turn off the TV/computer/IPAD. Eat slowly and enjoy. A meal should take at least 20 minutes to eat.
Do keep a food journal (electronic or paper). Write down everything that you eat for at least one week. It’s best to write it soon after eating, don’t wait until the end of the day. At the end of the day review what you ate. Did you eat any vegetables, what about fruits? If you find that you are an emotional eater I would also recommend writing down your feelings and hunger level pre-and post-meal.
Do eat three balanced meals and 1-2 healthy snacks in between if you are hungry. Six small meals per day is not practical for most people. Who has time for that? Three meals is more consistent with a “typical” schedule. The science shows that it does not matter how many times you eat, rather it is the total calories consumed throughout the day which is important.
Do exercise. Find something you love and it won’t feel like exercise. Enough said.
Don’t buy the latest and greatest supplement, diet pill, or get-thin-quick plan. Diet pills can be downright dangerous; causing heart irregularities, hypertension, rashes, headaches and a myriad of other health problems. Natural supplements are often times safe but tend to be ineffective. Personally, I steer clear of both. In terms of commercial diets such as Slim Fast, Medi Fast, and Herbalife, if you follow them they will likely work. The problem is that following these plans long term is incredibly difficult and expensive.
Don’t be a slave to the scale. It takes time for lasting weight loss to happen. It’s generally recommended to lose 1-2 pounds per week. TV shows such as the Biggest Loser can sometimes lead us to think we are a failure if we don’t lose at least 10 pounds per week. If you can consistently lose one pound per week you are a winner for sure!
Don’t have an all or nothing mentality. It’s a new year, you are feeling motivated, you want to eat clean for the whole month. That is a great challenge, but if you slip up, know that it is okay. A bump in the road does not mean you should completely give up. The goal is little changes that you can sustain for the rest of your life.
I hope these tips help you accomplish your health goals in 2015. If you are looking for more individualized help and meal plans contact me at Heathermason86 @ gmail.com.