As the new year began, millions of Americans made the resolution to lose weight. Unfortunately, many of their efforts may have already fallen short, primarily due to a lack of commitment or good planning. Weight loss is more than calorie counting and hitting the gym. To be successful, you must have a good understanding of your eating habits and how that relates to exercise.
“The most common problem with losing weight for people is a confusion about what they think are good foods or bad foods,” said Laura Vikmanis, RDN, LD, bariatric dietician with Kettering Health Network Weight Loss Solutions. “Most foods have nutritious and not-so-nutritious qualities, so look for foods that offer the most nutrition, such as protein and fiber. If the food choice is providing protein and/or fiber that you need, then it’s probably a beneficial choice for weight loss and good nutrition. However, if the food is high in sugar, fat and/or calories and offers little protein and fiber, then you should limit eating it.”
With that in mind, Vikmanis offered some tips for weight loss in the new year.
1. Don’t diet. Fad diets simply do not work and starting one as a New Year’s resolution is not a good idea for sustainable weight loss. Instead, you should make realistic, long-term, healthy lifestyle choices in eating and exercise. Take the time to prep your meals and be diligent when eating out. Consistency is vital to weight loss success.
2. Have a plan. Planning your meals, as opposed to having no plan at all, helps you make healthier eating choices and keep you from grabbing fast food. Plan for three protein-vegetable meals per day and three protein snacks. If you know you’ll have to go more than four hours without a full meal, plan for a protein-filled snack, which will give you energy that you need and keep you from getting hungry.
3. Give protein the priority. Always eat protein first. It makes you feel full longer and helps to sustain blood sugar more evenly.
4. Beware of starches and carbohydrates. Limit starches and carbohydrates such as potatoes and breads. “When people think of starches, they mostly think of bread, but all carbs turn into blood sugar. Some have very little useful fiber and no protein,” Vikmanis explained. “People think that, since it’s not bread, it’s OK to eat. But what we really want to do is be less concerned about which starches to eat and make sure you eat the protein-rich food first.”
5. Don’t drink your calories. Beverages can be another road block to healthy weight loss. Liquid calories are more quickly absorbed into the blood stream, causing you to crave even more sugary drinks or food. Water is best, but if that is not as appealing, look for other low- or no-calorie drinks.
6. Don’t let your emotions rule your stomach. One serious problem many people have is eating for emotional reasons, rather than nutrition. “Many of our surgical patients come from a background of family-learned, emotional eating,” Vikmanis said. “Most were never taught good nutrition or didn’t have the resources to make healthier food choices. Many of those people have to learn how to use food in a healthy manner.”
7. Start moving. The benefits of exercise, alongside a healthy diet, cannot be understated. People who are successful at weight loss have found a balance between a healthier diet and regular exercise.
8. Don’t give up. Remember, you do not have to be perfect at all of this. Preparing your meals ahead of time can make it easier to develop new routines, which will lead to healthier eating habits. Creating healthy habits is a long-term lifestyle change, not a quick fix.
“Things get in the way of your plans,” Vikmanis said. “If you get derailed, make adjustments to get moving again. Learn what your boundaries are and do your best to get back to a healthy routine. There is no good, bad, yes, no, on, or off a diet. It’s about planning and keeping your healthy routine.”
For those struggling with being severely overweight, a surgical solution may be right for you. Kettering Weight Loss Solutions offers a wide range of support, including seminars to help explain bariatric surgery and how to get started.
For more information on the bariatric weight loss seminars or to make an appointment, visit KetteringHealth.org/weightloss or call (937) 433-5957.