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Stay On Track With 20 Tips & Tricks From A Registered Dietitian

June 19, 2017

From my 17 years in the nutrition profession, I have been afforded the unique opportunity of witnessing and being a part of thousands of patient’s lives. My patients have all been from varying backgrounds but with one common thread; to live better by losing weight, reversing or delaying illnesses and achieving a greater enjoyment out of their daily lives.

Each year more and more people are diagnosed with being overweight, obese, and the top diseases of our country namely heart disease, cancer, and diabetes to mention a few. From this experience, I have created a list of my top strategies to lose weight, be healthier and enjoy life!

Tips & Tricks To Lose Weight, Be Healthier & Enjoy Your Life

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Drink water throughout the day.

This healthy habit can keep your energy up, minimize unnecessary snacking or cravings, alleviate joint pain and nourish the skin for a vibrant appearance.

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Make meal timing a priority.

The timing of 3.5 to 4 hours is best between meals. Snacking throughout the day may be detrimental to your weight loss goals as adequate meal timing allows your body to burn through your prior meal and reserves before you add more. Conversely, too many hours between meals may signify that your meals are too large for your healthy metabolic needs and may make harnessing portion size at the next meal more difficult.

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Make exercise a priority most days of the week.

Our physical bodies are meant to move daily and extensive research indicates that a sedentary lifestyle is linked to numerous health problems including the risk for obesity. Get your 10,000 steps a day whether at the gym or out and about.

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Put protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

This habit not only provides essential nutrients for the body it also helps signal fullness for often fewer calories. Additionally, protein helps stabilize blood sugar and mood swings and promotes the absorption of important vitamins and minerals that absorb better from food than from vitamins.

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Add vegetables to your meals.

Veggies are loaded with vital nutrients that nourish the blood and digestive system. Consuming vegetables with protein maximizes nutrient absorption of the whole meal and delays gastric emptying which helps with mood balancing, and blood sugar as well as appetite and weight control.

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Make fruit a scheduled snack instead of consuming haphazardly or with a carbohydrate-based meal.

Fruit is essential for optimal health but more than 2-3 servings can add unnecessary carbohydrates to any weight control plan so be strategic and make each serving count. For example, you might replace the bread at your meal with a piece of fruit or choose to have an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter as an afternoon snack.

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If you drink caffeine, do it in the morning only.

Caffeine does actually stimulate metabolism, making it great to drink before exercise but consuming greater than about two 8oz servings can have the opposite reaction in the body creating unnecessary fatigue and irritability. Furthermore, if consumed too late in the day or without sufficient water throughout the day caffeine can lead to unnecessary food cravings and may hinder nighttime sleep patterns.

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Make scheduled not random small, healthy snacks.

Snacking unnecessarily can cause weight gain but strategic snacking at specific times can aid in metabolic efficiency and improve energy throughout the day.

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Make a weekly food plan.

Having a loose meal plan offers an organization for a busy schedule or a preoccupied mind. This habit makes grocery shopping predictable rather than a shot in the dark and those who have a plan make better progress with weight control than those who go with the flow of their environment. Often our food environments serve up unhealthy choices. Whether it is the co-worker's birthday cake or the hallway vending machine or the last-minute dash to the fast-food restaurant across the street, the outcome is downhill for health.

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Make weekly grocery shops a priority.

In order to eat healthy, we have to have healthy food at home or in the office. Grocery shopping from a list helps avoid impulse buys and can keep you from forgetting your weekly essentials.

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Choose friends with a similar lifestyle.

It is easy to be swayed by our environments so when you hang out with friends who practice a healthy lifestyle, eating right and exercising can be fun and not a chore. Plus you will be in the “in” crowd instead of the “out” crowd.

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Try to meet friends for activities instead of meals.

Any chance to move more will help your health and your weight control. We can always eat but we can’t always be active so seizing the opportunity with friends can be a blessing and also help inspire even more healthy behaviors like a healthy dinner that evening.

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Give yourself some non-food rewards.

Always practice non-food rewards to yourself and others with gifts of fitness clothes, pedicures, days at the beach, art projects or the many alternate and creative ways to enjoy the time.

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Attempt adequate nightly sleep most days of the week.

7-9 hours is recommended because that suits most people’s brain and body needs for optimal functioning including energy, thinking clearly, the motivation for daily activities, and good decision making as well as hormone and mood balancing.

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Have desserts occasionally, not routinely.

It is human nature to push a good thing. When desserts are consumed daily it usually leads to dessert consumption more often and to bigger sizes. Keeping it in check is important for health and weight control. So record your habits, observe your recent routine behaviors and make the necessary adjustments whether that means consuming dessert daily, nightly or weekly make a plan that benefits your weight and health.

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Recognize emotional or environmental red flags that would otherwise trigger eating.

Become mindful over and over again about physical vs emotional needs for food. Often regular self-reminders are necessary especially when food is readily available in most of our living environments whether home or office or otherwise. Often just driving down the street becomes a battle of, “am I hungry” with the plethora of street signs, billboards, and advertisements or the innocent candy bowl at your local bank!

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Focus time and energy on good things.

When we focus on good things, this habit can improve mood and energy and make you less susceptible to emotional, as opposed to physical food choices.

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Make long term goals with attention on only today.

If you find yourself thinking too often about long term goals and your lack of accomplishment between where you are today and the goal you set one year from now you will have a greater tendency to boycott your plan. However, if you continuously focus on your achievements of today you will be more likely to stick to the plan and eventually succeed with your long term goal.

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Boycott processed food.

Any food that is sold in a box, bag, can or package with a label has some level of processing and will likely satisfy you less than a whole food that resembles what it is from nature. When a less satisfying food is chosen there is a tendency to consume more of it and possibly push the boundaries on your overall calorie budget.

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Do food logs to get a grip on your actual habits versus what you think you do.

It is mind-blowing and can help you really see your unhealthy behaviors, choices, and patterns. Only in recognition, can we make a positive change.

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With over 17 years of experience, Misti Gueron, MS, RDN comes to the Khalili Center from her private practice specializing in weight control, weight loss surgery and eating disorders. With insight, understanding, and her friendly style, Misti helps each patient and groups by teaching, problem solving, and new ways of eating and food behavior. She celebrates their many successes, helps with setbacks and is there for the long term outcome.

Read more articles from Misti!