Sticking to your New Year’s resolutions is always tricky, especially those around weight loss. But with small changes to your routine, healthier eating habits can be adopted to help make your 2017 the best one yet!
First, make sure you have breakfast; it is the most important meal of the day. How often have we heard that? There are studies to support that consuming a meal or something substantial within an hour and a half of waking up has been shown to increase metabolism, decrease larger portions later in the day, and keep people more focused and energized. If you’re not used to having “breakfast,” having something as small as a piece of fruit or yogurt will be enough to boost your metabolism.
The next important thing is to stay hydrated. We have a nerve in our body (called the vagus nerve) that travels from our brain stem to our stomach which tells us when we’re hungry and full, among other functions. But, it doesn’t tell us if we’re thirsty — just that our bodies want something. Typically, it will trigger cravings for something salty or sweet towards the end of the day. That response can often be attributed to dehydration. By staying hydrated, the body won’t crave that end-of-the-day snack. On average most of us need at least 64 ounces (or half gallon) of beverages daily.
Lean protein and colorful meals with minimal starches is a good way to balance your diet. You need the three macronutrients that make up our food and beverages, which include protein, carbohydrates, and fats. We typically have diets that are heavy on the fat and carbohydrate side. Focus on proteins and non-starchy vegetables to help keep you full. Proteins and plant fibers take longer to breakdown than starches. A good rule of thumb to follow is 75 percent of your plate should be protein and vegetables, 25 percent can be a starch so you can still have a “taste” of it, without cutting it out completely.
Finally, don’t get frustrated in your weight-loss goals. It did not take you a few days or weeks to put on the pounds. So don’t get frustrated when it takes just as long, if not longer, to lose them. Make healthier lifestyle changes rather than “quick fixes” that are not as sustainable. Be consistent in your eating. Beware of weekend binging where you did great all work week following your new lifestyle, than the weekend came and for two days you consumed more calories than you had the previous week. Commit to the lifestyle, and stick to it. Can you still have cake? Yes, just not every day.
If you are having trouble getting started on a weight-loss plan that is achievable and sustainable, it is always a good idea to check with your physician or a dietitian.
Joshua George, RD
Cooper Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery