As a dietitian, people often ask me “what’s the best way to lose weight?” “which foods burn fat?” and “I need to lose 30 pounds for my wedding next month, what do I do?”
I hate to tell you guys but there is no easy or quick way to lose weight. There’s no magic pill that is going to make you lose 30 pounds in 10 days. Unfortunately the diets and articles out there lead us to believe that it is possible.
Trust me, even as a nutrition student in college I desperately wanted to believe there was a way to lose the 20 pounds I had gained my freshman and sophomore year. Each new diet ended up being more disappointing than the last. I would lose 5 pounds the first week only to gain 6 pounds back after resuming a 3 meal a day regimen.
Finally I was able to get my s**t together and use what I had been learning during the past four years of schooling.
Losing weight is HARD but it isn’t impossible. These are some tips I have learned first hand that helped me lose those pesky pounds.
- Target a healthy weight loss: An average weekly weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week is great! More than that will put you at risk for losing muscle rather than fat mass. Less than that is perfectly fine too.
- Eat every 3-4 hours: Keep that metabolism revved by eating throughout the day. Avoid skipping meals. Not only does this slow your metabolism but it can also cause you to eat more than you normally would at your next meal. I’m not saying to eat continuously throughout the day, but 3 meals and 2-3 PLANNED snacks will keep your body fueled and ready to go.
- Eat your breakfast: Remember when your mom said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Well she was right… AGAIN. Breakfast fuels our bodies for the day to come and revs that metabolism. Even if it is something as quick as a protein shake or cereal with milk. Getting yourself in the habit of eating breakfast will be a game changer.
- Drink that water: This is coming from the queen of dehydration. Aim for at least 64 ounces of water per day. Not only will the fluids keep you hydrated but thirst can sometimes be mistaken for hunger. Water also has zero calories! Avoid drinking your calories by staying away from high calorie and sugar items such as soda, juice, coffee drinks and sports drinks.
- Listen to your body: This sounds pretty straightforward but many of us don’t listen to our bodies’ cues. We no longer belong to the “Clean your plate club”we belonged to growing up. When you’re hungry eat, when you’re not hungry anymore stop eating. It takes several minutes for our stomach to tell our brain that we’re full. Eating slowly can help you savor your food and also be more mindful of what your body is telling you.
- Don’t forget the protein: Make sure every meal and snack contains at least one protein source. Meat, fish, poultry, dairy, nuts, eggs and beans are all great sources of protein. These will help keep you fuller longer and maintain steady blood sugar levels.
The most important thing that I have learned is to stop paying attention to the scale or my goal weight. I learned that when I avoid the scale, eat a balanced diet with fresh and whole foods, and incorporate physical activity into my daily routine the weight comes off and STAYS OFF! Think about the big picture of developing a healthy and sustainable lifestyle rather than suffering through a month long diet. 🙂