Losing weight is a difficult process that doesn’t happen overnight. With a consistent intake of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, regular exercise and frequent hydration, many of us can achieve our weight loss goals, but it is still a journey that takes time. If you’re feeling stressed, need support and are looking for lifelong weight loss tips to follow, you are not alone in this, and look no further! We spoke with Leah Johnston, RDN, registered dietitian at SRW and Melissa Mitri, MS, RD, registered dietitian of FinvsFin, who both provided 6 helpful things to keep in mind when trying to lose weight. (Firstly, remember— it’s a marathon, not a sprint and prioritizing your health is commendable and worth celebrating by nourishing your body.)

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1. Create Your Personal Eating Pattern Without Restriction

Finding out what works for you is so much more helpful to your body than participating in trendy or fad diets, Johnston says. “The biggest reason why people gain weight back after doing a fad diet is because these diets are difficult to sustain for the long term and sometimes also unsafe,” she says. Fad diets are like a one-size-fits-all and are not specifically designed for you and your lifestyle. Also, she notes, it’s not designed to your individual needs and preferences, so it’s not going to last long. “The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to individualize your eating pattern so it becomes a plan that you actually want to sustain for life,” adds Johnston. “This method may take some trial and error, but it will be worth it and sustainable in the end.” She advises to start by making small changes to your diet and/or lifestyle that are achievable and make you feel good about yourself.


2. Establish Non-Food Strategies to Cope With Emotional and/or Stress Eating

Many types of foods are often dubbed “comfort foods” for a reason— they provide a sense of familiarity and often nostalgia. The thing is, you can still find comfort in other ways, especially by frequently checking in with yourself and asking if you are truly hungry when stressed. “Have you ever found yourself reaching for a snack (perhaps a “comforting” one) when you aren’t actually hungry?” Johnston asks. “In these instances, pause and consider how you are feeling physically and mentally.” She then advises you to ask yourself several questions. “Is there a rumbling in your tummy? Then your body is trying to tell you that you are hungry,” Johnston continues. “Did your instinct to grab a particular food come from your brain rather than your stomach? Then it might be a reaction to an emotion you’re feeling, anxiety or stress.” She also notes that you’ll have to dig a little deeper into understanding your triggers, but once you start to recognize them, you can find another way to cope with them. “It should be something else that you enjoy, but doesn’t require a lot of effort,” she says, suggesting a short walk, a cup of tea, mediation, listening to music, etc.


3. Cook More At Home As Opposed To Dining Out

One of the greatest things about cooking at home when you’re trying to lose weight is that you can control portion sizes and how much you want to consume (rather than feeling pressured to finish something presented to you at a restaurant). “Making more food at home puts the power in your hands,” Johnston says, explaining that it gives you control over the menu, the ingredients and the portion sizes. “People who prepare and eat more meals from home generally consume smaller portions, less calories, less saturated & trans-fat, less sodium, less sugar, more fruits and vegetables and in general, a more nutrient dense diet,” she says.


4. Move your body every single day

As Johnston puts it, a sedentary life is not a healthy one. “Make movement a priority every day, even if it’s just for 30 minutes or doing things around the house,” she says, noting that you’ll use more of the energy that you consume through food each day. Plus, she adds, “it’s so important for your muscles, bones, joints, heart and even your mental health.”


5. Reward Yourself Along The Way

On our weight loss journeys, many of us tend to be so hard on ourselves if we don’t see the results as almost as we anticipated, Mitri notes. “The process of losing weight and improving your health is a marathon, not a sprint to the finish line,” she advises, “You may have ups and downs along the way, and that is entirely normal.” To keep motivated, she suggests celebrating “your small wins along the way such as your first 5 lbs, your ability to lift heavier, or better sleep.” She says that it can help to “write them down and buy a new shirt for yourself or get your nails done to celebrate,” as you earned it. Treating yourself with nourishing food, regular exercise and a supportive attitude with self-love will make all the difference, she says.


6. Keep Track Of Your Progress

Mitri cites studies that show “people who keep a food log are more successful in losing weight and keeping it off.” Tracking your food holds you accountable, she adds, and makes you more conscious of your habits, so less mindless eating occurs. “If logging your food is not your thing, you can track your progress in other ways such as your exercise routine, your weight, or your body composition measurements as progress measures,” she suggests. This is only a way to help you support your weight loss journey with organization and positivity, as you have so much to be proud of (even right now, if you can’t notice it at first!). Writing this all down will help show you everything you have to celebrate, as well as everything to work on and create goals for. You got this!


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