A New Year means new resolutions. If weight loss is one of your goals for this New Year then use these steps to keep you on track! The key to weight loss is to create a calorie deficit while consuming the essential vitamins and minerals you need. Follow these steps to meet your goals!

1 – Create small, measurable, realistic goals
– Set a realistic weight loss goal for yourself. Healthy weight loss is 1-2lbs per week.
– Write down 2-3 goals you can work on every week. For example, if I say I will eat more vegetables, how much is more? If I say I will eat at least 3 servings of vegetables daily-that is more specific and measurable.

2 – Drink more water
– It is recommended to consume at least 64 oz. of fluids per day, which is about 2 Liters of water. Drinking 1 cup of water before meals may help curb your appetite to prevent overeating.

3 – Plan meals ahead of time
Planning meals makes it less likely you will turn to fast food.

4 – Take your time with meals
– Meals should be completed in at least 20 minutes. It takes 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it is full.
– Eating slowly will help you listen to your bodies fullness cues and may prevent overeating

5 – Put utensil down in between bites and chew, chew, chew
– This helps slow down eating and actually gives you time to enjoy and savor the food. This will give your stomach time to assess fullness.

6 – Avoid distractions when eating
– When eating turn off the TV and any other distractions that may be around. Focusing on eating and listening to your body’s fullness cues will help prevent overeating.

7 – Only choose water or diet drinks as beverages
– Sugar sweetened beverages like (sodas, juices) are high in ‘empty’ calories. They provide calories with little nutrition and no filling effect. A fresh apple has fiber which will help fill you up, versus apple juice is mostly sugar and little to no fiber. Instead of juices, choose a fresh fruits and vegetables.

8 – Choose more fruits and vegetables
– Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber. Fiber takes a while to break down which will keep you fuller for longer. Recommendation is to consume 2.5-3 cups of vegetables per day.

9 – Switch to whole grains
– Whole grain bread, rice, pasta have more fiber than its white flour counterpart. You will more likely feel fuller when consuming a serving of whole grain rice, rather than white rice.

10 – Switch to low-fat/fat free dairy
– Choosing a lower fat milk will help reduce calories in the diet. Whole milk has 150 calories, while fat- free milk has 80 calories. Choosing fat free milk helps reduce calories while still providing the same vitamins and minerals as whole milk.

11 – Say ‘No’ to condiments
– Mayo, ketchup, barbecue, syrup, gravy. All these condiments add a huge calorie punch that can be easily avoided if you just say ‘No’. If there is no way around avoiding the condiment, then order it on the side and dip the food into it. This allows you to control how much is used.
– Document food intake for at least three days. Find deficiencies and excess calories in your diet and see where some calories can be removed.

Jennifer Seleem is a registered dietitian/nutritionist with the Institute for Weight Loss at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center-Old Bridge. The Institute provides weight loss surgery and support for individuals seeking weight loss and have been unable to lose weight through conventional dieting, exercise or weight loss medication. To attend a free seminar, which occurs twice monthly, or to make an appointment with Jennifer for nutrition counseling, call 855-TIME-4-ME.

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