If you are like most people, I’m sure at some point in your life you have “tried” to be on a diet. Take a second to think about and add it up. Most adults can list the many experiences they have had with one diet or another, while some are so deeply identified as “dieters” that they would do better to try to remember the few times they weren’t on a diet. Imagine how happy that makes the diet industry! Then consider how sad it is that a basic need like eating has become so tangled that we need a multi-million dollar company to “teach” us how to do it.
Do you want to be let in on a little weight loss secret? Listen close…the secret is that you already know how to do it. You just choose not to. Does this sound familiar? “I know what I should be eating, but I just don’t.” Or how about: “I do so well all day and then I lose it at the end of the day.” Statements like this illustrate an understanding of how to eat for weight loss and a sense of the “right track.” They also highlight an (inaccurate) perception of inability.
The relentless feeling of failure and inability when it comes to weight loss encourages an individual to diet. The combination of a program promising to do the work for you and the misconception that you need the program keeps you going back to diet, after diet, after diet. This may have been your past, but it doesn’t have to be your future. You can break the diet cycle.
Probably the easiest (and proven effective) method for promoting weight loss is to write down everything you eat…down to the mint sitting on your colleague’s desk. This practice makes you more mindful of what, when and why you are eating. It helps you see how often you are making poor choices and may reveal a pattern of eating that encourages weight gain. It also highlights when you respond to stress with food and emotionally eat. Your food record will provide you with the feedback you need to make better choices, eat for fullness and only eat when you are truly hungry.
Most people think that if they are eating that they should be satisfied. The truth is that food choices and combinations can actually encourage hunger, which obviously leaves you needing more food (and more calories). Reverse this pattern by emphasizing protein with all of your meals and snacks. Combining protein with your carbohydrate will leave you fuller longer, thereby controlling your appetite and reducing your total intake for the day.
There is no question that weight loss begins with having more control over ingredients and food preparation. The only way to achieve this is to cook and eat more foods created at home. I’m sure that you mean to eat at home more but believe that you don’t have enough time or just don’t have the right foods in the house. It is worth taking the time you need to correct this habit. Pick a shopping and preparation day and make a plan. Before you know it you’ll be saving calories…and money. Oh, one last thought. Shop using Guiding Stars to pick your healthful foods and you’ll save time and buy more nutritious foods too…but you already knew that!
About our Consulting Dietitian
Allison Stowell MS, RD, CDN is a Registered Dietitian and a working mom of two. Allison enables individuals to make positive, sustainable changes in their eating habits by stressing conscious eating, improving relationships with food and offering a non-diet approach for reaching and maintaining ideal body weight.
She also runs a successful private practice with offices in Danbury, CT, Bedford Hills, NY and Mahopac, NY. Since 2007, Allison has also worked with the grocer, Hannaford Brothers Corporation, as a Nutrition Coordinator. She provides complementary nutrition classes and tours, community workshops and one-on-one shopping experiences at their Carmel, NY location.
She joins the Guiding Stars team to help people in a number of sectors (grocery, hospitals, schools and universities) to understand how to use the Guiding Stars nutrition navigation program to make healthier food choices.
Allison lives in Connecticut with her husband, two small children and her dog, Chase.