CtEatWell: Slim Down Effectively & Safely

In order to separate the facts from the myths, there is no magic pill (sorry folks) , if something sounds too good to be true, it is.

There is no quick fix, or one food to eat. A healthy diet can incorporate all foods. If a diet tells you to eliminate certain food items, especially any from the fruit or vegetable category you may end up limiting essential nutrients. Diets often don’t work because they set you up for failure by telling you to completely restrict yourself that will eventually lead to cravings for certain foods, and put you right back where you started from. Consuming adequate nutrients and calories is important and this includes not going too low in complex carbohydrates that can lead to irritability.


A safe weight loss is one percent of your body weight per week. This means no more than two pounds per week if you weigh 200 pounds. This is the difficult part because in order to achieve weight loss there must be a 500 calorie deficit per day to lose one pound per week. Therefore to decrease two pounds per week, there must be a deficit of 1,000 calories per day.

For many it becomes too little calories to sustain energy, unless you’re presently eating over 3,000 calories a day. The preferred method when losing weight is to combine lesser calories in addition to an exercise routine such as walking combined with weight bearing exercise and stretching. This will not only burn calories, it will prevent wasting of lean muscle mass. When we lose weight we easily decrease ten percent of muscle mass along with it which is why it is so important to combine exercise along with diet.

Think in terms of moderation for both food and exercise. Begin Slow by decreasing your portions and incorporating healthy snacks between meals to prevent hunger and overeating at your next meal. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables to ensure adequate vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Consider your alcohol intake, wine and beer may only add up to 100-150 calories per serving, but the heavier the cordial, the heavier the calories, and some mixed drinks can be as high as 700 calories. Alcohol is also an appetite enhancer that can lead to eating more without realizing it. Guidelines for alcohol include no more that one drink per day for a female and no more than two drinks per day for a male.

The same moderation goes for exercise. If you presently don’t exercise I always recommend seeing your physician first if you have any health concerns, and if not start slow by walking ten to fifteen minutes three or four days a week and add on minutes and days over time. It took many years to gain weight and you have to be realistic with yourself to allow your habits to change slowly but stay with you for life.

One of the questions I ask when an adult client comes into my office for the first time in need of losing weight is what their lowest weight was following their early twenties. I ask this for a couple of reasons, one is to find out how much weight they have gained over the years, and two is to find out if their desired body weight goal is realistic.

Many people often gain five to ten pounds per year following college age from either continuing to eat as they did when they were younger and more active, while others overeat without realizing it. Over consumption of food can often be from boredom, to a change in lifestyle transitioning from college to career, or transitioning from being single to being married and having a family. Somewhere along the line basic routines are changed and for many this leads to eating on run, or not thinking ahead of time to purchase and cook foods, to changing their own lifestyle to fit their spouse’s.

In most instances as we age our bodies require less energy or calories, meaning our metabolism slows down. At the same time that our bodies are requiring less food, most people tend to be less active. I often find this more prevalent in adults who played team sports in school. For many it’s unfortunate that once school ends their active lifestyle ends as well, but the eating habits often don’t change along with the activity level. If we all lived in a perfect world we would automatically know that as we age we need to consume lesser calories and at the same time become more active, not less active.

Obtaining weight goals that are achievable is very important. Many people become overwhelmed and give up trying to decrease weight because they are often looking at an unrealistic weight goal. I always tell clients not to look at the old ideal body weight charts telling them they should weight 100 pounds less than what they weigh at the present time. A more realistic approach is to set your first weight goal at ten percent. Therefore if you weigh 220 pounds, a realistic achievable weight loss goal is twenty-two pounds over an extended period of time. By reducing your weight by five to ten percent you actually cut your health risk in half. It is also unrealistic to set a goal weight less than what you weighed prior to adult years, this usually means age 21-25 years old, not what you weighed when you were at age 18.

Achievable weight loss is all about lifestyle change. To achieve lifestyle change and develop new habits, I encourage people not to go it alone, but to search for a registered dietitian in their area for sound nutrition advice, and seek out an exercise specialist or an accredited personal trainer to increase your activity level and to preserve and build lean muscle mass. The results will be well worth it!

Kathy LaBella’s website for Peak Performance, LLC is www.peakperformancerd.com

Find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Essex-CT/Kathy-LaBella-RD-CD-N-CPT/110761625657876?sk=wall

To find other registered dietitians in your area log onto American Dietetic Association www.eatright.org or Connecticut Dietetic Association www.eatrightct.org

To find a personal trainer in your area log onto American Council on Exercise www.acefitness.org or American College of Sports Medicine www.acsm.org or National Association of Sports Medicine www.nasm.org


Similar Posts: