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Dietitians Dish: Keeping New Year's resolutions

By By Elizabeth Sommerfeld
Jan. 29, 2013 at midnight
Updated Jan. 28, 2013 at 7:29 p.m.


It is almost the end of the month, and many people may be starting to let their New Year's resolutions slip. Losing weight is one of the top resolutions people make each year.

The definition of a resolution is a decision or a determination. It takes ongoing determination to lose weight. Just saying you want to lose weight does not make it happen, and losing weight does not happen overnight. An average weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is recommended. Your weight also fluctuates on a daily basis, so weighing yourself every day can be detrimental to your psyche.

Factors such as salt intake, fluid intake and hormones can affect the scale. Therefore, it is recommended to weigh only once a week. Many people also plateau during their weight loss journey. It's what you decide to do at that plateau that makes a person successful or not. If you give up and eat whatever you can find or quit exercising, that plateau will start the climb up again.

However, if you continue your journey of eating healthy and exercising, you will find that typically, the weight will gradually start to come off again. It takes a firm mental decision to eat healthier and move more, and it can be a constant effort. Working in the field of nutrition, I see lots of people who want to lose weight; some are successful, and some aren't.

Much research is done on what makes people who lose weight - and keep it off - successful. The National Weight Control Registry is made up of more than 10,000 people who have lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off. The website shows that:

Ninety-eight percent of registry participants report that they modified their food intake in some way to lose weight.

Ninety-four percent increased their physical activity, with the most frequently reported form of activity being walking.

There is variety in how registry members keep the weight off. Most report continuing to maintain a low-calorie, low-fat diet and doing high levels of activity.

Seventy-eight percent eat breakfast every day.

Seventy-five percent weigh themselves at least once a week.

Sixty-two percent watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.

Ninety percent exercise, on average, about one hour per day.

As you can see, the keys to success are not severely restrictive diets. Small changes add up to big rewards. I recently read a book, "The Beck Diet Solution," and one of the statements in the book really stuck with me. When you are eating and thinking that you don't want to waste food (say you went out to eat and they served you more than you planned on eating), don't continue to eat.

The food will be wasted whether you eat it or not. Eating excess food will be wasted in your body as excess fat, or you can let it be thrown away and save your body from waste.

So remember that eating less and moving more is the key to success and don't give up.

Elizabeth Sommerfeld is the clinical nutrition manager/bariatric coordinator at DeTar Healthcare Systems. She is a registered and licensed dietitian and has a master of science degree. Send questions or comments to dietitians@vicad.com.

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