When people hear that I am a registered dietitian, I am often asked many questions on various nutrition subjects. Most commonly, I am asked, “What is the secret to losing weight?” My response to this question is simple. There is no “secret.” The information has always been out there. We simply need to have less energy coming in (calories in food and beverages) than energy that we burn off (through regular body functions, exercise, etc.). The easiest way to achieve this calorie deficit is by eating a healthy diet, most of the time, and being physically active.
I know. I know it sounds too simple. Surely there is some other trick to it, like avoiding carbs or participating in another of the latest weight loss fads, but it really is that simple. Now, I did say “simple” not “easy.” Losing weight is a challenge for most and keeping it off is yet another hurdle. To help you on your journey, I have put together a list of tips that might help you get started and on your way to a new you.
- Give up on yo-yo dieting: fad diets don’t work. Many diets are overly restrictive or eliminate entire food groups, which makes them unrealistic or unhealthy to follow for the long term. Instead, make permanent changes in lifestyle by committing to eat healthier, most of the time.
- Don’t make unrealistic goals: A weight loss goal of 0.5 to 2 pounds per week is much more realistic and healthier for the body. Remember, you didn’t put all that extra weight on in a couple of months, so you shouldn’t expect it to come off that quickly either.
- Exercise most days of the week: Burning off calories through exercise can help allow your diet to be a little less restrictive. It also will help you increase your lean body mass and boost the metabolism. Participate in a variety of cardiovascular and muscle building activities for the best results.
- Eat a balanced diet: Visit choosemyplate.gov to check out how to fit in all of those food groups. Make the shift to consuming mostly fruits and vegetables combined with smaller servings of lean proteins and whole grains.
- Don’t fall off the wagon after a small relapse: A normal balanced diet can contain a treat or two. Just get right back on track, and make sure it’s not so frequent that it gets in the way of achieving your goals.