15 Things Dieticians Really Want You To Know About Weight Loss

By maks in Health and Fitness On 13th June 2024

Simply drinking a few sachets of tea or cutting out your favorite foods may not be the solution.

We've gathered some insights directly from renowned weight loss experts to set the record straight on this topic.

15. Don’t restrict the variety, just increase it.

Who says you need to stop eating the foods you love? Perhaps you think that your plate should have fewer options? Well, here’s some good news: you can actually add more to your plate.

Throw in some extra veggies or a handful of nuts. If you restrict yourself too much and stop eating your favorite foods, you'll likely end up giving in to your cravings. Avoid doing that.

Rebecca Scritchfield, R.D.N., author of the book "Body Kindness," advises:

"When you focus more on what you add into your healthy eating patterns — like adding a side of veggies on pizza night — rather than taking away foods you love, you free yourself from 'the diet crazies.' You silence the constant thoughts about food and build trust with your body in a more positive way."  

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14. Watch your portions.

So, your dietitian says oatmeal is good for you. But then you prepare it loaded with butter and maybe even go for a second or third helping.

Honestly, you might as well have eaten a burger. Paying attention to the quantity, quality, and portion sizes of your food is crucial.

The image here is a helpful guide that shows the ideal portion sizes for different foods. To curb your hunger, try serving yourself some fruit or toasted veggies.

This can prevent overeating and help you stick to your diet plan. Another tip from Cornell University's Food Lab is to use plates that contrast in color with your food. 

This contrast can help you be more aware of how much you're actually eating.

13. “You” don’t change after losing weight.

You've lost weight and can't wait to share your transformation photos with friends. You discuss which diet plan worked, what meals you ate, etc.

However, what often goes unmentioned is the dedication it took to achieve these results. The effort was yours. You're still the same person, regardless of the weight loss.

Celebrate your determination, not just your physique.

As Scritchfield rightly puts it, "It's possible to enjoy your body at any size and take good care of it."

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12. Sleep is not to be ignored.

Don't skip out on essential sleep just to squeeze in an extra hour at the gym.

Dr. Caroline Apovian explains, "Getting less than 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night ramps up the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreases the satiety hormone leptin. Lack of sleep also interferes with impulse control, making it less likely that you will stick to healthy food choices and portion sizes the following day. 

"Getting less sleep than needed also heightens cortisol levels, which prompts the body to overeat to refuel after fighting off a stressor."

11. You are not dieting to look good, but to feel good.

Dieting is about more than just shedding pounds and changing how you look; it's about a complete lifestyle overhaul.

Often, people link dieting primarily with weight loss, but the reality involves a profound transformation towards health.

Chanté Wiegand, ND, a Naturopathic Doctor and the Director of Education at The Synergy Company, explains:

"Losing weight is about more than the number on the scale. Following fad diets may promote quick weight loss but typically results are fleeting and may lead to even greater weight gain once you resume your usual eating patterns. To lose weight for good, you need to adopt an all-around lifestyle change that includes what you eat, how you prepare food, and how often you move your body."

10. Are you tracking the calories?

Once you've committed to a diet plan, you might find yourself scrutinizing your plate more than usual because you're counting the calories you consume.

Sanfilippo advises not to obsess over every single calorie consumed, but to keep a general track of your calorie intake. 

Monitoring your calories is actually quite crucial. By being mindful of what and how much you eat, you can more effectively work towards your goals.

9. Don’t follow the herd, choose your diet wisely.

With so many diets like keto, vegan, paleo, and low fat becoming popular, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking what worked for someone else will work for you too.

However, it's important not to jump on a diet simply because it worked for a friend. Take the time to understand your own body's needs first. 

Dr. Wiegand points out, "What works for one person may make someone else ill or may simply not be effective." 

8. Snacking is not as bad as you may think.

You might worry that snacking between meals could derail your diet, but that's not necessarily true.

Having a healthy snack when you feel hungry can actually prevent you from overeating at your next meal.

Choosing snacks that are high in protein can help you feel more satisfied and keep those nagging cravings at bay. 

Fisher recommends, "I recommend nuts, seeds, fruit, yogurt, cheese sticks, air-popped popcorn, and low sugar granola bars."

7. Eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re in the mood to eat.

Often, we misinterpret our feelings and think we're hungry when we're actually just responding to our emotions.

 For example, when you're bored, angry, or upset, you might feel the urge to eat by yourself. It's crucial to recognize this and avoid eating out of mood.

A good dietician would always advise you to check if you're really hungry.

If the idea of munching on a carrot stick doesn't appeal to you, then you're probably not hungry.

Dietician and nutritionist Ruth Frechman emphasizes, "While it's definitely easier said than done, try to pause and think about whether you are physically hungry before taking that first bite."

6. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

You might see your cravings for certain foods as a weakness and think you must resist them at all costs.

However, recent research suggests that cravings are perfectly natural and vary from person to person.

Frank Greenway, MD, Chief Medical Officer at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA, clarifies: 

"We now know when people are most vulnerable to cravings (early evening) and which age groups crave more (young females crave more than older males, and younger female dieters crave more than older male dieters). Knowing your personal 'risk factors' can help you manage your cravings."

5. Liposuction is not the solution.

These days, many people are turning to weight loss surgeries hoping for a quick fix, thinking it will change their bodies overnight without the need for diet or exercise.

But it's not that simple. Not only do you need to lose a certain amount of weight before you can even qualify for the surgery, but maintaining your weight post-surgery is also crucial. 

"Liposuction may remove up to a few pounds from the midsection during surgery, but it's a sculpturing tool, not a weight loss tool," explains Joshua D. Zuckerman, MD, FACS, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in New York City.

4. Not all fats are making you fat.

It's a common misconception to avoid foods like avocados, nuts, and dairy, fearing they'll make us fat.

While these foods contain fats, they're the good ones our bodies need

They don't hinder weight loss; they actually support it.

Eliza Savage, MS, a certified dietitian nutritionist at Middleberg Nutrition in NYC, clarifies:

"Fat is digested slower than carbs and protein and will also help promote satiety. Full-fat dairy products, nuts, and plant-based fats promote weight loss, not inhibit it."

3. Pay attention to the medications you are taking.

It might be surprising, but certain medications can contribute to weight gain.

For example, your allergy medications could be part of the problem. It's often better to opt for sprays and ointments instead of pills when possible. 

Chandler Park, MD, founder of CancerVisit.com at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, advises, "Some common over-the-counter medications can hurt weight loss. I advise people trying to lose weight to use antihistamines sparingly."

2. Fast weight loss is not actually fat loss.

Maybe you know someone who lost a ton of weight incredibly quickly and you find yourself feeling jealous of their results.

But let's look at the reality, as explained by Rachel Goodman, RD, CDN, owner of Rachel Good Nutrition, "Fast weight loss, like 10 pounds in two weeks, that results from extreme food restriction, juice cleanses, or cutting out carbohydrates completely is mostly due to loss of water weight and muscle mass, and can be very unhealthy. 

"This weight loss is not sustainable and is usually gained back fast and results in a cycle of yo-yo dieting, which messes up your metabolism. The actual pounds you want to lose and keep off—pounds of fat—require a meal plan that includes all food groups and is not overly restrictive so that you can fuel your body to burn fat efficiently."

1. Fiber can help you lose weight quicker.

A fiber-rich diet is highly recommended by almost every dietician. It’s commonly believed that increasing your fiber intake is the fastest way to reach your weight loss goals, but that's only part of the story.

According to Brooke Zigler, a dietitian, "When adding fiber to your diet, it's very important to drink water throughout the day to prevent bloating. It's also encouraged to eat protein with fiber, which promotes satiety." 

Remember, weight loss should be pursued for your own well-being, not just for appearances.

And remember, weight loss isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach but should be tailored to each individual.