Six Tips to Prevent Weight Gain in the New Year
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If losing weight is one of your goals this year, you don’t have to reach for diet fads, pricey pills or extravagant methods. Cooper Clinic’s Lizzy McCrary, RDN, LD, offers six tried and true guidelines to help you avoid extra pounds and keep it off.
1. Weigh yourself regularly. Aim for at least once a week, but weigh daily if you are trying to follow patterns with your weight fluctuations. If you notice a few pounds have appeared, take a look at your lifestyle. Ask yourself, “Am I sneaking bites of food, snacking excessively between meals or sitting more often than moving?” Being vigilant and honest can help you catch small amounts of weight gain sooner rather than later.
2. Exercise portion control. No matter how healthy your diet is, you can still gain weight if the calories in the healthy food you consume add up to more than you burn each day. Try using a food diary, such as MyFitnessPal, to assess your portion sizes. A food diary keeps you honest and can be eye-opening. With a heightened sense of awareness, you can make healthy adjustments as needed.
3. Plan ahead. Choose a realistic and consistent eating pattern that’s easy to maintain with your lifestyle. Meal prep for the week, browse the restaurant menu for healthy options beforehand or keep portable, healthy snacks in your car. Aim for an eating style that will last a lifetime and remember, it’s meant to be enjoyable, not unbearable!
4. Eat breakfast daily. This is a common trait among people who have lost weight and kept it off. Eating breakfast helps keep hunger at bay and reduces the temptation to overeat later in the day. Eating at regular times throughout the day helps maintain your metabolism and prevents drops and spikes in blood sugar. Lastly, breakfast is an ideal way to incorporate your daily nutrient needs, such as calcium, fiber and lean protein.
5. Move for 30-60 minutes every day. Select any activity you enjoy! It can be as simple as briskly walking the dog or taking a group exercise class. Experts recommend adding 2,000 extra steps a day to your routine, which you can track using a pedometer. It’s important to also add strength training to your fitness regimen 2-3 times a week.
6. Shave calories with simple swaps. When it comes to healthy weight management, small steps add up. Why? You’re more likely to stick with smaller changes over time. Examples include:
- Make your sandwich open-faced and use one slice of whole-grain bread
- Replace sweetened beverages with non-caloric drinks, such as sparkling water, unsweetened iced tea or plain coffee
- Leave a few bites of food on your plate
- Hold the mayonnaise, cheese and bacon on your sandwich. Use mustard, lettuce and tomatoes for flavor and crunch instead
- Switch from whole to low-fat or fat-free milk
- Try salsa, lemon juice or a tablespoon of hummus for salad dressing
- Opt for vinaigrette instead of creamy dressings and try the dip-your-fork method
- Use nonstick cooking spray instead of butter, margarine or oil for pan-frying
- Put your snacks in a baggie or on a small plate instead of eating straight out of the bag
- Choose a whole piece of fruit instead of fruit juice
- Order a cup of broth-based soup instead of cream-based soup
- Split an entrée with a friend or take half home for leftovers
- Try marinara sauce instead of cream sauce with pasta
- Limit meat portions to 3-4 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards)
And remember, “The best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on.” - Brian Wansink, PhD, Mindless Eating.
For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.
Article provided by Lizzy McCrary, RDN, LD and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.