Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How Can I Lose 10 Pounds?

"How can I lose 10 pounds?" That is probably the number 1 most asked question of an RD. While I have no statistics to back up my statement, I am almost certain it is at least in the top 3. That along with "How can I lose weight fast?"

Once someone asked me, "Tell me how to lose weight." I said, "Well, that's a loaded question." She looked at me like I had 6 heads. Weight-loss advice is not something to be given in a short amount of time. There is no quick fix or magic pill. Hate to break it to you :) If you see a program saying you can "blast away the fat" or "lose 10 pounds in a week" or selling some magical drink, run away...very quickly! Most of these programs do not work! They get you to buy their expensive products, but don't teach you how to make healthy choices. While you might lose weight, once you stop you have yourself a problem. I have seen so many clients where they tried this diet or that program and then say when they stopped the weight came back on. Most people tell me they still don't know how to eat healthy after being on that "diet". Now, I am not knocking every sort of program out there, just making a generalization about the majority I see every day.

As a dietitian, I typically run through the same points with everyone. It all starts with your current diet. You have to analyze where you are now and be totally honest with yourself.

Ask yourself these questions:
-->Are you getting 3-4 servings of vegetables (or more) per day?
-->Are you eating 2-3 servings of fruit (or more) per day?
-->Are you hitting your fiber intake (generally around 25g per day)?
-->Are you drinking enough water?
-->Are you avoiding drinking your calories like in juices, sodas, and sweetened teas?
-->Are you choosing whole grains over processed refined grains?
-->Are you eating lean proteins with every meal (eggs, chicken, tofu, nuts, seeds, etc)?
-->Are you eating less than 1 sweet per day?
-->Are you eating every 3-4 hours?

In order to answer some of those questions, it is probably best if you do a 3-day or 7-day food journal. Simply write down everything you eat or drink throughout the day. Note the time you eat too because that can help show you if you have gone too long without eating.

From there, figure out a weekly goal. It could be to eat 2 vegetables every day (an increase from your one a day). Or it could be to increase your water consumption from 6 to 8 glasses per day! At the end of the week, look at your progress. Ask yourself if you feel your goal was accomplished or if you still want to work with it. If you did meet your goal, it doesn't mean forget it; it means add something else to it! Maybe the next week you try and have 2 fruits and 2 vegetables every day. Always remember to make your goals SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely).

After you have planned your goal, think about ways you can accomplish this. Maybe, you are going to drink more water. Do you have access to water throughout the day? Do you have a reusable water bottle you can take with you? It is always best to plan ahead! I have a 32-ounce reusable water bottle and I love it! It keeps my water cold for hours and it holds a lot so I don't have to find a water fountain at work all the time.

While exercise is important for weight-loss, I always start with diet first (being the dietitian I am). A lot of times I have people who are not motivated to exercise or cannot because of their size. Usually, your food intake is the best place to start.

My last piece of advice is to focus on one goal at a time; master it and add a new one. Don't start changing everything at once. Remember, you are working towards a healthier lifestyle and moving away from the quick-fix-diets. Change takes time so don't be hard on yourself. If you get to the end of the week and you don't feel that great about where you are with your goals, think about ways to improve. Use set-backs as learning experiences and a new place to start. Remind yourself how far you have already come and how awesome it is that you decided to start!

Anyone have a goal they are working on now? How are you doing with accomplishing your goal?