Spring is a season to refresh, reset and begin again. If you kicked off 2023 with a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, but your efforts didn’t make it past January, now is the perfect time to pick up those plans. Rather than experimenting with the latest diet trend, skipping meals or counting on unproven diet supplements, take some time to consider these dietitian-recommended strategies to reach your ideal weight – and stick with it.
9 Weight Loss Tips from a Dietitian
1. Don’t say diet
Remember: diets have endings. What you should focus on is a long-term healthy eating plan that takes your lifestyle, habits and preferences into account. Diets tend to be one-size-fits-all rather than tailored to your personal needs. If your weight-loss plan is rigid and unaccommodating, consider revamping your strategy.
2. Patience is key
Slow and steady wins the race! If you burst out of the gate and move full speed ahead, you’re bound to run out of steam, become exhausted and eventually get discouraged. Instead, make small, incremental changes that are long-lasting. Try to prioritize changes that are doable and realistic. Once you’ve made one change and feel comfortable with it, add another. Over time, your changes will add up to a new way of living.
(Note: A safe, sustainable amount of weight to lose is about one half to two pounds per week. Any quicker weight loss may be hard to keep off.)
3. Don’t ditch food groups
Any diet plan that instructs “cut” or “eliminate” is a red flag. No foods or food groups should be avoided completely unless you have a food allergy or intolerance. Each food group provides something that your body needs. A well-balanced diet will contain protein, carbs, fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals which fulfill all your nutritional needs and help to keep you energized.
4. Rethink the scale
When trying to lose weight, you may use a scale as your only measurement of success. But remember, weight should be just one metric that you track. You can gauge how your clothes fit, your energy level, body measurements or progress photos.
Weight naturally fluctuates throughout each day and week depending on what you’ve eaten and how hydrated you are. By focusing solely on the scale, you may get discouraged by these fluctuations. If you do use a scale, don’t weigh yourself more than once per week, and do it at the same time of day and on the same day of the week.
Hate the scale? Weigh-ins aren’t at all necessary, and it is perfectly fine to ditch the scale altogether. Improving health should be your focus, not just losing weight.
5. Get professional help
With so many diet plans out there, it can be very confusing and difficult to know what’s best. A registered dietitian can help you with losing weight in a healthy way while meeting your nutritional needs. They also will individualize a plan for you that fits your lifestyle. Did you know that many insurance plans cover visits with dietitians? Click here to book a visit with a Kroger registered dietitian today!
6. Use mindfulness
Rather than eating a specific amount of food and following a specific diet plan, listen to your hunger and fullness cues to judge how much food your body needs. By paying attention to these cues and eating mindfully, you’ll be able to avoid eating for reasons other than hunger (emotional eating, for example). Keep a journal of your hunger and fullness along with stress levels and emotions to be more aware of your eating patterns. It’s also a good idea to avoid distractions such as TV, computer or phone scrolling while you eat so that you can fully enjoy your food.
7. Eat foods that you enjoy
If you’re eating food that’s considered “good for you” but you don’t like the taste, you probably aren’t going to continue the plan. If you don’t like vegetables, find different ways to prepare them and give them a chance. Throw some spinach into a smoothie, or try roasting some vegetables with some olive oil. Allow yourself to try new foods, but if you truly don’t like something, don’t eat it
Also, don’t deprive yourself of your favorite foods. Fit them in with mindful portions so that you feel satisfied with what you’re eating.
8. Don’t skip meals
If you’re intentionally skipping meals to reduce your overall intake, you may be setting yourself up for a late-day binge. Eating at regular times throughout the day keeps your blood sugar levels steady and lessens feelings of extreme hunger. Work on eating smaller portions rather than skipping meals to reduce your overall daily food intake.
9. Include activity
Being active is part of a healthy lifestyle, and it’s been shown to help keep weight off over time. But be sure to take it slow in the beginning if you’ve been sedentary for a long period of time. Start slowly by increasing the number of steps you take each day. Focus on activities that you enjoy and can see yourself doing long-term. If you have trouble getting started, reach out to a friend to join you.
If you’re starting a weight-loss journey, begin by making healthful changes to your diet and increasing your activity level. Remember to include all food groups, don’t skip meals, eat mindfull, and enlist the help of a professional if needed. Over time, your newly formed habits will pay off and you will become a healthier version of you.