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Never Diet Again: Tips from a Dietician

posted: 05/12/17
by: Katie Morton
Fresh veggies
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Suffering from diet fatigue? Every time we turn on the television or scroll through our Facebook feed, it often feels like there's a new fad diet promising miracle results. Weight loss is by no means an overnight process. It takes time, dedication, and hard work.

We sat down with Registered Dietician and Founder of Top Balance Nutrition, Maria Bella to get her expert advice on how to shed the pounds without caving to the crazy restrictions of fad diets. Here are five of her top recommendations.

1. Create a Plan You Can Stick With

Current scientific evidence suggests that although some diets may produce quicker short-term results, most do not result in long-term weight loss success. Instead of focusing on the latest trends, consider implementing sustainable changes that feel good and work for you.

Keep track of what you're eating. Left-brain, quantitative individuals may enjoy tracking their food by counting calories, whereas right-brain, artistic folks may prefer to keep tack of their food consumption by taking pictures.

Maria's advice for those slip-ups: "While at it, set realistic expectations! You will cheat. I promise. And that's ok--nobody gets fat or has a heart attack because of one cookie. Every year on my birthday, I eat an entire chocolate mousse cake and drink a bottle of champagne. I feel zero guilt during this annual debauchery and it does not result in any lasting weight gain."

2. Focus on Abundance

Restriction is a miserable way to live! Instead of emphasizing what not to eat, consider taking a more positive approach, focusing instead on what you should be eating.

Maria suggests setting up to five measurable and specific goals at a time. If possible, take it one step further, breaking those five goals down into two smaller daily goals. For instance: Aim for six colors of produce per day. Try two new foods per week, such as an exotic fruits or vegetables. And stay properly hydrated by drinking plain or infused water or non-caffeinated, herbal teas.

Explore a different brand, flavor, or possible substitute (for instance, walnuts instead of almonds) to change things up and prevent your taste buds from getting bored.

3. Eat Real Food

"During my travels, I love standing in the supermarket during the busiest hours and watching what people buy. In Europe, the carts are mostly filled with produce, fresh protein, and water, wine, and coffee thrown into the mix. In the United States, we have an emotional attachment to packaged items. Salmon and avocado will always be a better choice than fake whipped cream and sugar-free Jello. Case closed," explains Maria.

Protein foods, such as seafood and poultry, suppress a hunger hormone called ghrelin. Produce gives us tons of volume for barely any calories and lots of nutritional value.

Try consuming your vegetables in fun and creative ways, not just by eating salads. Butternut squash soup with plain Greek yogurt mixed in (for an additional twenty grams of protein) and a side of flaxseed crackers makes for a great meal. Jicama sticks, sprinkled with lime juice and chili powder, can be eaten as a fun snack. Turnips and parsnips can be cut in the shape of French fries and baked in the oven as a side dish. Beets can be baked in foil and eaten in place of a baked potato dinner.

4. Believe in Yourself

"I had no doubt when I started college that I would graduate. I wasn't sure if it was going to be easy or not, but I knew that I was getting that diploma. Diets are not any different. Remember that you are capable of accomplishing anything you set your mind to," shares Maria.

If you run outside and it starts raining, you can always go for a walk at the mall. If the mall is closed and the dog ate your shoes, you can do an online exercise video at home. Phone fell into the toilet and the internet connection is down? Use a jump rope, do jumping jacks, or just jump on the bed.

According to Maria, we make about 200 food-related decisions every single day. Every small, positive choice takes you closer to your goals.

5. Get off the scale

You can control what you eat and how much you exercise, but you can't sit on top of the scale waiting for the numbers to change.

Maria explains, "Wild changes on the scale are not at all uncommon. Constipation, water retention due to an overly salty meal, or even slanted floors can all add up to big fluctuations. I see people restricting because of these false gains, which only leads to deprivation and bingeing--creating a never-ending cycle."

Maria suggests Wednesday mornings for weigh-ins, as they eliminate the weekend mentality and Monday morning start-overs.

Keep in mind that roughly every 10 pounds equals a dress size or pant size. So based on the way your clothes are fitting, you will know whether you have gained or lost weight (without stepping on the scale!).

As you embark on your weight loss journey, ignore the chatter about the latest diet. Create a plan that works for you and then strive to meet it. And along the way keep in mind these five tips. Whatever you do, don't forget, you got this!