Struggling to lose a few pounds, or maybe a bit more than a few pounds? Can’t seem to really get past a plateau in your weight loss? Maybe you’re thinking about a lifestyle change and need a few ideas on how to kickstart it. APN talked with Eric Griffin, a diet clerk at Albany Medical Center who is furthering his career by studying nutrition at SUNY Plattsburgh, to get some advice on how people can revamp their diets and kickstart weightloss.
Here are Griffin’s five tips:
1. Keep a food diary.
“I always tell my patients to keep a food diary for at least the first few days before they start a new diet. This helps them determine what they are doing well and what they need to improve on,” Griffin says. He also recommends continuing the food diary while attempting weight loss for the same reasons.
2. Weigh yourself every morning, at the same time.
This is slightly controversial because of differing opinions. Some feel people should weigh themselves every day, while others recommend once a week. Griffin feels people should weigh themselves every day to keep an idea of what weight they are at and how they are doing. He acknowledges that daily weight fluctuates from day to day based on water intake, food intake and, to be blunt, when a person last went to the bathroom, and says not to take the weight on the scale to heart. He stresses that weighing should be done in the morning and at roughly the same time for most accurate results.
3. Eat breakfast.
“Breakfast sets the tone for your day and gets your metabolism started,” Griffin says. People say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and based on what Griffin says, it’s true; although, it’s still important to eat throughout the day. Starving oneself will not aid in healthy weight loss.
Griffin’s ideal breakfast suggestion would be eggs, whole wheat toast and a piece of fresh fruit (or a few pieces when it comes to things like strawberries, grapes or a cut up fruit like pineapple or melon). Those who want protein or have to indulge in breakfast meats can also add in a piece of turkey sausage or turkey bacon, specifically turkey because it contains less fat.
4. Decrease your saturated fat intake to under 30 percent of your whole fat intake.
Griffin recommends using My Fitness Pal or other food-tracking apps and websites to help keep track of this. “It can be hard to keep track of fat intake without the help of a tracker,” he says.
Some foods that are high in saturated fat include:
- Anything fried
- Store-bought baked goods
- Most processed foods
- Red meat
- Chicken skin
- Whole milk and 2 percent milk; although, 2 percent is better than whole milk
While this seems obvious, it’s not all just about going to the gym. Griffin explains that people need to expend more calories than they intake. “Eat less, move more,” as he says. Although it is highly individualized, in order to lose around one pound of fat a week (which is the recommended healthy amount, and anything more than two pounds a week is mostly water weight, he says), an individual should subtract 500 calories from their normal daily caloric intake. For example, someone who generally needs 2,000 calories a day, should burn 500 of that every day in order to lose one pound. Basically, people should either burn 500 calories of their daily need or eat 500 calories less to lose the weight; at the end of the day, a person’s net calories should be negative 500 calories. But as noted before, this is highly individualized, and for a figure specific to individuals’ weight, health, body, etc., they should see a doctor or dietitian.
These five tips, along with a regular workout routine and general healthy, clean eating should help with getting past that plateau or first few pounds. It is important to remember when trying to lose weight that it is a process, it takes time and effort. There are not miracles to weight loss. Don’t get discouraged, and give the body what it craves every now and then, just remember moderation. EveryBODY is different, but we all need generally the same things nutrition wise. Get up and get started. Good luck on your weight loss journey!
Bonus – Griffins helpful foods for weight loss
- Whole grains – This includes anything that is packaged as 100 percent whole grains. Unlike the common belief, wheat does not equal whole grain or 100 percent healthy.
- Fresh fruits – Any fresh fruits are healthy choices, and people should have three to four servings in a day. People can vary daily fruits to receive different health benefits in their diets. For example, bananas can help with potassium, strawberries with vitamin C, apples for fiber, etc.
- Fresh veggies – Just like fruits, any fresh veggies are good choices, just make sure they are in the vegetable category and not the carbohydrate category. Things like edamame can be tricky for this reason. Edamame is considered a carbohydrate, not a vegetable. People should also have three to four servings of veggies each day and vary the types for different benefits, such as broccoli for vitamin C, carrots to help with skin and aging, kale for iron, potassium and more, etc.
- Lean meats – These include skinless chicken, skinless turkey and pork without the fat.