By Lori Dodds, BS, RDN, LD
The Corvallis Clinic
Now is the time when many people make New Year resolutions. Unfortunately, these frequently include another dreaded fad diet soon to be added to the scrapheap of all the others that have been tried and failed. Common sense tells you these tactics won’t work – certainly for long term; yet you are so desperate to lose weight, you are willing to try anything! Since most New Year’s resolutions fizzle within six months, why not focus your efforts on things that really work?
Here are a few of my key recommendations to help guide you into a rewarding and healthy 2018!
Knowing your individual metabolism is key information since it determines precisely how many calories your body needs at rest to support vital bodily functions that keep you alive. From this baseline, calories required for daily performance of activities and exercise are added providing an optimal calorie range necessary to achieve weight goals. The Corvallis Clinic Weight Loss Center offers Resting Metabolic Rate Testing, which is usually covered by insurance.
Create SMART Goals
Instead of making a goal that is vague such as “lose weight”, set specific targets that you know will be realistic, recognized and appreciated in the near future. This act will help you remain motivated and inspired. SMART goals are:
- Specific. Determine “what,” “when,” “why,” and “how” you plan to accomplish these goals.
- Measureable. Identify ways to measure and keep track of your progress. Have tangible evidence of your accomplishments.
- Achievable. Goals should be defined well enough to be challenging yet still attainable.
- Realistic & Rewarding. Make your goals realistic by considering the impact of such things as time, money, skills, support and attitude.
- Timely. In order to stay on task, set a semi- urgent, yet practical timeframe to accomplish goals so as to not lose vision or motivation.
Choose Whole Foods
Choose foods as though you are harvesting from your backyard garden, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. These foods are typically rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Reduce highly refined, processed and restaurant foods. These foods not only contribute approximately 75 percent of our daily sodium intake, but are often high in fat, sugar and excess calories.
Consume Lean Protein
Aim for 20-30 grams of lean protein three times per day. This will help preserve lean muscle mass as you age, help curtail hunger between meals, reduce food cravings and provide energy and vitality.
- Use MyPlate guidelines to help ensure variety and keep portion size in check. Use smaller plates vs. large and fill 1/2 of the plate with non-starchy vegetables, ¼ plate lean proteins and ¼ with whole grains/starchy vegetables.
- Consume three balanced meals per day and include lean protein snacks if eating times are more than four hours apart.
- Preplan your meals so they are thought out, deliberate, mindful and well balanced.
- Sit down for meals and rid yourself of outside distractions so to genuinely allow yourself the ability to enjoy, savor and appreciate your food.
- Eat slowly as it takes 15-20 minutes to recognize satiety and fullness. Pause half way through your meal and gauge current hunger and appetite.
- Take time to assess your hunger. Are you truly hungry or instead wanting to eat due to stress, boredom or exhaustion? Physical conditions such as dehydration and fatigue can mimic hunger and mental stress may lead to emotional eating. Choosing exercise rather than eating may be a better solution.
- Aerobic activity helps pull fat out of storage and utilize it for energy. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations are 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
- Muscle strengthening exercises help either sustain or build more lean muscle mass or both,which in turn increases metabolism. CDC recommendations are to conduct these exercises at moderate- or high-intensity two or more days per week.
- Track your steps. Fitness trackers can be a very powerful tool to gauge how active or sedentary you are. Achieving 10,000 steps per day confirms you have a fairly active lifestyle.
So, ditch the grandiose fad diets and resolutions that are bound to fail. Instead identify specific behaviors that are not working in your favor, and incorporate SMART goals to help you eat better, feel better and set yourself up for the healthiest year yet!
To learn more about metabolic testing or to schedule an appointment for weight loss consultations, call The Corvallis Clinic Weight Loss Center at 541-766-2180.
Lori Dodds is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Licensed Dietitian at The Corvallis Clinic Nutrition Services Department. She is also the Program Coordinator at The Corvallis Clinic Weight Loss Center.