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Lose weight: The smart way.

By Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND-Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training

WHEN was the last time you consulted a dietitian? If you're like most people, you may turn to friends or family with questions regarding weight management, starting a new diet or your personal nutrition. But that may cause even more confusion and uncertainty surrounding the choices you make to maintain a healthy weight.

A survey of dietitians on weight management

AS a global nutrition company, we consult with members of our Dietetic Advisory Board (DAB) from around the world to stay ahead of the latest nutrition trends, and develop training materials for our independent distributors to help their customers make informed decisions about nutrition. But we wanted to dig deeper and understand the key issues and challenges facing many struggling dieters.

We recently surveyed dietitians who attended the 2018 annual meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics about their patient's nutrition goals, diet-related misconceptions, behavioral hurdles, and challenges related to following a healthy meal plan. Highlights from that survey include:

Nearly 57 percent listed 'losing weight' as the most common goal among patients reported by their dietitians.

Approximately 20 percent of dietitians reported 'eating a healthier diet' as a goal or concern of their patients.

Among patients, the most common misconception is that 'a very low carb diet is the best way to lose weight and keep it off.' This was reported by 31 percent of the dietitians surveyed.

Other common misconceptions include: 'you should cut all forms of sugar from your diet' (24 percent) and 'vegetarian diets are protein deficient' (20 percent).

When it comes to staying on regimen, more than half of dietitians (51 percent) reported 'lack of motivation to stay on the plan' as their patient's biggest behavioral obstacle.

Dietitians also observed that many of their patients struggled with the 'inability to control portion size' (18 percent) and 'inadequate time to prepare meals' (18 percent).

Practical advice from our dietitian nutritionists

TO address these common dietary pitfalls, we asked our DAB members to share their top 10 tips to help you achieve your weight loss and nutrition goals.

Tip 1: Don't just focus on weight loss. Focus on a healthy diet.

'People should not focus only on body weight; they should focus on health. Eating healthy and having an active lifestyle is the best way to achieve a healthy body composition. Keep your focus on eating a healthy balanced diet and working out to build or maintain your muscle mass-and keeping this healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life.'

Ana Cristina Gutierrez, member, Herbalife Dietetic Advisory Board, Costa Rica

Tip 2: Set and celebrate milestones during your weight loss journey.

'Celebrating every milestone is important to your weight loss effort because it keeps you looking at how far you've come, not how far you have to go. When it comes to weight loss, a slow and steady pace always seems to win the race, but that pace can feel frustrating at times. So, set plenty of little milestones along the way and find ways to reward yourself-you might want to buy a new article of clothing or treat yourself to a massage. Remember, you deserve it after all of your hard work!'

Aria Novitasari, member, Herbalife Dietetic Advisory Board, Indonesia

Tip 3: Don't fall victim to fad diets or social influence-find a healthy, balanced plan that works for you.

'Fad diets may lead you to temporarily lose weight, but is not a healthy way to lose because you risk losing some of your hard-earned muscle mass, rather than body fat. Before falling for any social influence, remember the goal should not be only to lose weight, but to change your lifestyle for good with a healthy balanced diet and adequate physical activity.'

Sreyashi Moitra, member, Herbalife Dietetic Advisory Board, India

Tip 4: Make sure you get enough protein.

'Protein is an essential nutrient that is important for optimal growth and development. It is also essential for helping build and maintain muscle mass. Protein plays an important role in weight control, because it helps with hunger control. Having adequate protein at meals and snacks, such as protein shakes or bars, helps to satisfy you.'

Alice Zhu, member, Herbalife Dietetic Advisory Board, China

Tip 5: Incorporate healthy snacking.

'In today's society, snacking contributes close to one-third of daily energy intake. But healthy, balanced snacks are an important part of a balanced diet. Taking in high-protein snack foods can help you feel satisfied, and may allow you to eat less at your next meal. Rather than feeling guilty about snacking, learn to incorporate healthy snacking into your day.'

Vipada Sae-Lao, member, Herbalife Dietetic Advisory Board, Thailand

Tip 6: Don't cut calories too far or skip meals in order to lose weight.

'Dieting is not about how much you eat but what you eat, since food choice affects calorie intake the most. Extremely low-calorie diets can slow down metabolism and inhibit weight loss. Dietary modification helps you continue your weight loss journey while diet mistakes-like cutting too many calories, or skipping meals-can stop you from being successful.'

Venus Yuen, member, Herbalife Dietetic Advisory Board, Hong Kong

Tip 7: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity every day.

'One of the benefits of regular exercise is that it helps to burn calories, which can help with weight loss and weight maintenance. And, regular moderate activity can also help release stress. Think of ways to work more activity into your day. For example, exit the subway or bus two or three stops before your final destination, and then walk the rest of the way on foot.'
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Aug 15, 2019
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