By Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, DBA, MS, RD
When talking about weight loss, everyone has an opinion about how you should lose those excess pounds. But are those thoughtful tips based on science, or mere personal opinion? Let’s get right to it and highlight the best guidelines that are proven to help you manage weight loss without losing your mind.
You must eat your meals
Your body runs on the fuel that comes from the foods you consume, so scheduling your meals and snacks, if needed, are vital. Keep in mind, what really counts at the end of the day is the total amount of calories you eat over the course of an entire day. If you eat most of your calories before your bedtime, your digestion will probably still be in progress, and you may not have sufficient time to burn some of those calories by the time you go to bed. However, if you consume 500 calories less than you physiologically need, otherwise known as a calorie deficit, you will still lose weight. That said, this may not be the most efficient way to lose weight.
Carbohydrates are not your enemy
Unfortunately, many companies have taken advantage of the low carb craze by developing and marketing their new low carb products for the mere intention of getting consumers to buy their products by tricking consumers into believing they’re “better for you” products. However, many of these products are not even healthier than their regular counterparts, and often come with more sugar and saturated fat. Carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced diet because they provide an abundance of key nutrients such as B vitamins, like folic acid, iron, fiber, and many others. The key is to not eat more than the recommended portion sizes for your age and activity level.
Fruits are essential
All fruits contain fructose, which is a carbohydrate, but these carbohydrates are needed for many important functions. However, we have to understand that fruits are not only part of a balanced diet, but they also contain dietary fiber which helps slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. They also provide a significant number of nutrients, including powerful antioxidants, which are known to decrease chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Although, the US Dietary Guidelines recommend Americans consume at least 2 servings per day, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only 14% of American adults are meeting the recommendations for vegetables and fruits
How to be a smart weight loss candidate:
- Practice mindful eating – think before eating
- Be aware of how many calories your body needs to lose weight safely and efficiently
- All foods can be part of a healthy diet when eaten in moderation
- Drink plenty of water during the day, especially while you are active
- Take advantage of any opportunity to be active during the day- Every step counts towards your exercise goals
- Cook more at home so you can create delicious balanced meals for you and your family
- Use smaller plates and cups so you will automatically be eating fewer calories
- Get enough rest so you can make better food decisions at the table.
- Seek the counsel of a registered dietitian nutritionist so they can properly guide you through a safe and effective weight loss program
Remember that proper weight loss can be hard and challenging, but is not impossible. Practice these effective tips and you should be on your way to a healthier body and mind.