Every year millions of people make New Year's resolutions that revolve around two words: weight loss. And, they take up the dreaded “d-word” (dieting) to get there. However, when it comes to slimming down, a few tiny tweaks can tip the scale in the right direction – and it doesn’t mean labeling your favorite foods as “off-limits,” either.
Kathy Haugen, a registered dietitian at the TriHealth Fitness & Health Pavilion, shares some of her favorite nutrition tips so you can set yourself up for success in your quest to lose weight.
#1. Don’t Deprive Yourself
“Once you say that a food is off limits totally – that you can never have a specific thing you like for the rest of your life – that sets you up for failure,” Kathy points out.
She suggests following the 80-20 rule, which means 80-percent of the time you eat nutritious foods and 20-percent of the time, you allow yourself to have a treat. “I’m all about eating what you like, but aiming for smaller portions.”
#2. Know Your Serving Sizes
Paying attention to serving sizes is critical when it comes to losing weight. “One of the best things people can do is shrink their plate,” Kathy explains. The average American plate size is 12 inches, but Kathy recommends using a plate with a 9-inch diameter, which is typically the size of a salad plate.
She also suggests visiting www.choosemyplate.gov to learn what standard serving sizes are and how to build a healthy plate.
#3. Resurrect Your Crockpot
When people have busy schedules, their diet is usually one of the first things to fall to the wayside. The key is convenience. “Whenever you crock pot, double-batch and then freeze it for later on in the week,” Kathy says.
She also makes a point of keeping an ongoing grocery list so she always has healthy ingredients at her fingertips. Her favorite food staples are whole grain pasta, frozen vegetables, and boneless chicken or turkey breasts. “It saves you so much time, because you’re making sure you have everything.”
#4 Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand
Keep nutrient-rich foods in your office, car or any other place where you might be tempted to munch on unhealthy treats. Kathy’s favorite snacks include string cheese, trail mix, yogurt and fruit with a little peanut butter.
As she mentioned earlier, pay attention to portion sizes – especially if you are eating nuts. “If you don’t pre-portion them, it’s like ‘uh-oh,” Kathy laughs. The standard serving size for nuts is a ½-ounce, which is the equivalent of 12 almonds, 24 pistachios or seven walnut halves.
Learn more healthy eating tips in the TriHealth.com Health Library:
#5 Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
When you’re establishing weight loss goals, follow the S.M.A.R.T. Rule, which means setting goals that are:
- Specific. The goal should be detailed and focused, making it easier to create an action plan.
- Measurable. You should be able to quantify your goal, so you can determine whether you have achieved success.
- Achievable. Your goal should be something you can feasibly attain.
- Realistic. Your goal should be something you have the means to achieve, yet challenging.
- Time-bound. You should choose a specific date for completing the goal.
Kathy also suggests focusing on only one or two goals at a time. “If you do more than that, it’s overwhelming.”