Start off the New Year by making nutrition your secret weapon for diet success.
The most common myth about weight loss is that all you need to do is exercise in order to lose weight. Exercise is an integral piece to the weight-loss puzzle, but it certainly does not stand alone. Eating right is actually more important for weight loss than exercise alone.
The best weight-loss prescription, of course, is to do both—watch what you eat and exercise regularly.
These tips can help you get maximum results for weight loss success.
When it comes to getting the most out of the exercise, an important tip is to change up the exercise routine. Doing the same exercise routine every day can lead to less energy expenditure over time, because you burn more calories when you are first learning a routine.
Interval training, such as walking fast for 2 minutes and then jogging or running for 30 seconds is recommended to increase the number of calories burned. A common myth is that a certain time of day is better to exercise than another and that is not the case. The best time of day to exercise is when you can fit it in – don’t worry if that best time is in the evening or the morning.
One common mistake people make when they become more active is they have a tendency to eat extra food on days they exercise. Many people have an extra bite here and an extra spoonful there, while telling themselves that it is okay because they exercised earlier. The problem is that all of those extra bites and spoonfuls can really add up.
So the most important weapon to introduce for weight loss success is a food journal. Research shows a significant weight loss success in people who keep track of their intake 5 or more days a week compared to those who choose not to keep food records.
When you are keeping a food journal, be sure to include everything that you eat—write down that quarter of a sandwich or half a banana to get the most benefit.
The last secret weapon for weight loss is portion control. A food journal will hold you accountable and make you more aware of how much you are eating at one time.
You might find yourself using a food scale to get a better sense of the proper serving size. We live in a world of portion distortion so this last change involves daily focus. Make things easier at home by using smaller plates, bowls and glasses so you won’t even notice you are eating much less!
So what are the best foods to eat for weight loss? Writing for WebMD, Dr. James O. Hill says, “We’ve found that although all sorts of diets help people lose weight, the people who keep it off tend to eat a high fiber, moderately low-fat diet.
“But most importantly, you should eat foods that you’re going to be able to eat your whole life. You have to be realistic. If you love ice cream and go on a diet that makes you give it up, that diet is probably not going to work for you.”
Remember to be patient. Weight loss is a process and by taking it off slowly you are less likely to regain the weight after all the new habits have been established.
For some great information on nutrition myths and how they affect your weight, go to http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/myths.htm When it comes to diet and health, it’s what you don’t know that can hurt you!
Rebecca Mohning is a Registered Dietitian and an Exercise Physiologist who believes that we can change our metabolism and achieve optimal health through proper nutrition and regular exercise. She has a Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's of Science in Dietetics from Iowa State University. She is a certified Personal Trainer by the American College of Sports Medicine. She specializes in weight management, performance nutrition, and eating disorders.