NEW YEAR, BEST YOU: How to achieve healthy, lasting weight loss

The New Year is when many people take the opportunity to “start fresh.” We make resolutions or goals to better ourselves over the coming year. Oftentimes, those resolutions may be to work towards a healthier lifestyle. Many may find themselves making the same resolution to lose weight year after year with little or no results. Make this year different by following some tips from Magee’s Clinical Dietitians.*

1. Avoid food fads, fad dieting, and detoxes. The food and weight loss industry in the United States is quite a large one. Companies take advantage of consumers with false claims and advertising to sell products. If you have a functioning liver and kidneys, you are already detoxing without the starvation, fatigue, and mood swings that can come with expensive cleanses.

2. Increase intake of low calorie, nutrient rich foods. These types of foods include fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and legumes, whole grains, and lean proteins. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store for fresh foods. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables that are free of sauces and gravies.

3. Cut calories by limiting “empty calories.” Empty calories are from foods that contribute calories but little nutrients, such as sugary drinks, alcohol, and processed baked goods. These empty calories might be enjoyable in the moment but will leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied soon afterwards.

4. Be aware of portions sizes. Read nutrition facts labels and follow the plate method. Fill ½ of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, ¼ with lean protein, and ¼ with starches or whole grain foods. Add a serving of fruit and dairy if you choose for a complete, filling meal.

5. Be mindful. Identify times you are more or less likely to overeat. Determine a plan for how to avoid these instances or a solution for them. For folks who find themselves snacking between meals: plan your snacks. Have them portioned and bagged: 1 cup of air-popped popcorn, ¼ cup of unsalted nuts, or ½ cup of apple slices, for instance. For emotional eaters, discover other outlets, such as walking, yoga, gardening, etc.

6. Set SMART goals. SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. For example, “I want to lose weight,” is an example of a goal that is too broad and does not have any restraints or an action plan. An example of a SMART goal would be, “I want to lose 1 pound per week for a total of 4 pounds by the end of the month by cutting out sugary beverages from my diet.”

• This statement specifies what the goal is.
• It is measurable by losing 1 pound per week.
• It is achievable because this is a realistic goal.
• It is relevant as cutting out beverages is an easy way to cut calories.
• Finally, it specifies the time frame that it will occur.

*Always consult with your physician before starting a new diet or exercise program.

Authors: Rebecca Boova, RD, LDN, Jennifer Leach, RD, LDN, Keith Rickard, DTR, CDM,CFPP

To learn more about the role of Clinical Nutrition at Magee, click here.

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