Winning the Weight Battle
~ By Laura Brieser-Smith, Registered dietitian, certified personal trainer ~
If you are like many Americans, one of your resolutions for the New Year is to lose weight. The question is what is the best way to achieve successful weight loss? The answer is that there are many approaches that work. When researchers have looked at the macronutrient composition of the diet (i.e. how much carbohydrate, protein, and fat the diet contained), they found that it really doesn’t make much difference whether people followed a low fat or a low carb diet. In fact, to lose weight, you can follow pretty much any diet you want to, just as long as it involves a restriction in calories.
However, weight loss is not the only piece of the equation; we also need to be thinking about maintaining that weight loss over the long term. Unfortunately, preventing the regain of unwanted pounds proves to be the biggest challenge for most people. Consequently, the diet you choose should be something that you can follow long-term (many fad diets are too restrictive to be followed for more than a few weeks) and provide all of the necessary nutrients to promote heath.
So, what does that diet look like? While there is not a “one size fits all” diet, the following strategies tend to work well for many people.
- Eat small, frequent meals and snack to keep your metabolism running high and prevent overeating due to extreme hunger.
- Eat smaller portions of all foods. A general rule to get you started is to take a look at what you normally eat, then cut that portion in half.
- Eat more fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Eat a source of protein at most meals and snacks. Some examples are lean meats, eggs, low fat cheese, nuts and legumes.
- Eat fewer empty calorie foods such as desserts and sweetened beverages.
Of course the diet that you follow is only one tool. Here are some additional tactics that most people find helpful in their weight loss battle.
- Keep a food diary. Write down everything that you eat to help you discover problem areas such as overeating at night or emotional eating.
- Be as active as you can throughout your day.
- Engage in at least 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity exercise performed most days of the week.
- Refocus your efforts away from weight loss being the top priority. Most people find they are much more successful if they work more on being healthy and less on weight loss alone.
Laura Brieser-Smith, RD, MPH, CHFS is the owner of Healthy Designs, LLC which provides nutrition counseling and personal training to clients in their homes or offices. She can be reached at 303-635-1131 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.