Rethinking Your Spring Diet

By Laura Giménez, RDN

Spring has arrived, and for many of us, turning the page onto warmer temperatures brings additional pressure to look our best. With headlines now reminding us how many weeks, days, even seconds we have left to whip into shape for summer, remain calm, and remember the following.

Don’t diet! Despite the tempting headlines promising you a 10 lbs. weight loss before Memorial Day, avoid going to extreme measures in hopes of reaching an unrealistic body standard. If something seems too drastic (three-day celery juice cleanse, anyone?) it most likely is. This all-or-nothing mentality makes diets hard to maintain, meaning any weight you may lose will come right back upon resuming your normal eating pattern. Also, keep in mind that dieting with a specific goal in mind may cause feelings of restriction, which leads many to overeat or binge when they finally allow themselves to eat certain foods again.

So, don’t stress! If the arrival of warmer weather typically triggers you to jump on a diet, try asking yourself what you’re really looking to gain. For example, are you looking to improve your health or are you simply looking to lose weight? Remind yourself that there is not always a one-size-fits-all approach to body size and that losing body weight is not always indicative of optimal health.

If, however, the longer days and lingering sunshine motivates you to want to make healthier changes, focus on small, sustainable ones instead. For example, don’t eat enough vegetables? Skip the green juice cleanse you thought may jumpstart your healthy lifestyle and instead set a small, realistic goal of consuming minimally one serving of vegetables per day to start. Don’t drink enough water? Focus on increasing your intake by 16 fluid ounces a few times a week. Once you have mastered these small, sustainable goals you will not only feel more confident about your ability to implement healthy changes but will gain beneficial habits that will last you long past spring and summer.

Registered Dietitian Laura Giménez, RDN, practices at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center on an outpatient basis. She also provides nutrition counseling as part of the Institute for Weight Loss at Raritan Bay-Old Bridge. Laura adamantly believes there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach to nutrition. With this in mind, Laura works with her patients to determine what is most important to them, develop an individualized plan, and ultimately guide them towards reaching their health goals. To schedule an appointment for nutrition counseling, call 732-324-3236. For more information about the Institute for Weight Loss, or to attend a free seminar, call 1-855-TIME-4-ME.

About Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center

For more than 100 years, Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center-Perth Amboy and Raritan Bay Medical Center-Old Bridge have provided a full continuum of health care services to residents of Central Jersey. Raritan Bay Medical Center is one of less than one percent of hospitals in the world to achieve Magnet Recognition, the “Gold Standard” for nursing practice, quality, and safety in patient care, four times. U.S. News & World Report, ranked Raritan Bay Medical Center as the #10 best hospital in New Jersey and #20 in the New York Metro area in 2018, and as a high performer in Diabetes & Endocrinology, Nephrology, and Heart Failure treatment.

The medical center is a New Jersey state designated Primary Stroke Center and recipient of the American Heart Association (AHA)/American Stroke Association’s 2018 Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award, recognizing optimal treatment of stroke patients. Raritan Bay is also a recipient of the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and the AHA’s Heart Check Mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers and the AHA’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award recognizing high-quality care of patients experiencing a severe heart attack.

The Joslin Diabetes Center, Affiliate at Raritan Bay-Old Bridge, provides the latest advances for treating diabetes and its complications as well as other metabolic and endocrine disorders. Among its flagship programs are the Human Motion Institute, a comprehensive orthopedic program, and Institute for Weight Loss at Raritan Bay-Old Bridge and Center for Bariatric Surgery at Raritan Bay-Perth Amboy, both specializing in weight loss surgery. As part of Hackensack Meridian Health, one of New Jersey’s most comprehensive health networks, patients have access to advanced specialized services with a seamless continuum of care, close to home.

For more information, visit www.rbmc.org. To make an appointment for an outpatient test or treatment, call 732-324-5270. For a free physician referral, call 1-800-560-9990.

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