Top 5 Eating Habits to Lose Weight and Keep It Off, Dietitians Say: Don’t Eat This

Top 5 Eating Habits to Lose Weight and Keep It Off, Dietitians Say: Don’t Eat This

Weight loss is possible through a multitude of different strategies, one of the most effective is adjusting to your diet. But it’s especially hard to maintain that weight once you lose it. In fact, a meta-analysis of 29 studies a The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that more than half of the weight lost by participants recovered in two years and 80% recovered in five years. But don’t lose hope yet – experts say it’s entirely possible to keep that physique fit, as long as you adopt sustainable habits that you know you can keep fit.

Seconds Nataly Georgieva, RDJM Nutrition dietitian, fad diets often involve restrictive eating habits that are simply unrealistic (or unhealthy) to keep up with in the long run.

“This deprivation can lead to feelings of ‘losing’ something, potential frustration and irritability, and an eventual abandonment of the fad diet,” she explains. “As a result, you can regain weight soon after.”

Not only that, but Samantha McKinney, RD, a Life Time dietitian points out that a pronounced caloric deficit can change hormones in an unfavorable direction. Basically, your body does not know that the caloric deficit was intentional, so as a survival mechanism, it is ready to gain weight as soon as you return to your normal eating habits.

There are no real shortcuts when it comes to weight loss, so experts say you should be patient with your body while making changes to your diet. With that in mind, here are some of the best eating habits you can adopt to lose a few pounds forever. Keep reading and for more information on how to eat healthy, don’t lose your eating habits to lose abdominal fat as you get older, dietitians say.

ration dish with fish, cereals, vegetables, fruit and a glass of water
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Weighing and measuring each ingredient in your meals can help control portions when you start dieting, but the reality is that it takes too long to do it forever. This is because Kitty Broihier, MS, RDA registered dietitian and creator of the Eating Habits Lab advises you to visually distribute the components of your meals using the MyPlate guidelines.

According to these guidelines, designed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you should fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruits, and the other half with a mixture of 60% grains and about 40 % protein (about 5 ½ ounces). Ideally, you should aim for a diverse combination of whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and a variety of protein sources. Limit yourself to three cups of dairy and try low-fat or fat-free options. Using these guidelines while preparing your meals will ensure that your body receives all the nutrients it needs.

Georgieva adds that it is helpful to find out what the recommended portion sizes are and to feel comfortable reading the nutrition data labels.

yogurt with blueberries and flax seeds
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If you’ve ever been hungry while in the office or in the car, you know how tempting it can be to grab a sugary energy bar from a vending machine or a bag of salt-laden chips at a nearby convenience store. But that’s why Georgieva recommends having healthy snacks at all times: in your desk drawer, lunch bag, office fridge, or glove compartment.

“Humans follow the path of least resistance,” says Georgieva. “It’s important that nutritious foods are easily accessible when you’re most vulnerable.”

Keep in mind that snacks with healthy protein, fiber and fat will make you last longer. For example, an apple with string cheese, wholemeal cookies with turkey and hummus, or a yogurt with flax seeds and blueberries are satisfying combos.

woman eating salad, glass of water and phone on table
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Here’s an easy-to-try habit: Start your lunch and dinner with a high-fiber salad and a glass of water. That way, you’re less likely to indulge in the rest of your meal.

“This can help you eat fewer calories overall without feeling hungry,” he says Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, RDa senior clinical dietitian at UCLA Medical Center and author of Recipe for survival.

A 2008 study in Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that obese older adults who drank two cups of water before breakfast consumed 13% fewer calories during meals than those who did not drink water before. In addition, a 2011 study a Obesity found that dieters who drank water before three meals for 12 weeks lost about five pounds more than dieters who did not increase their water intake.

Dr. Hunnes recommends eating a salad consisting of two cups of vegetables and a light vinaigrette with about a tablespoon of olive oil.

quick dinner chicken sweet potato spinach
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If there’s one macronutrient you should definitely prioritize for weight loss, it’s protein.

“Protein can make you feel fuller and fuller than carbs and fats,” says McKinney. “Often, the more protein you eat at meals, the less cravings you will experience. It’s the best kept secret to losing weight without feeling deprived. Most of the time, those who increase protein intake will inadvertently reduce their intake of starches, sugars. “It also stabilizes blood sugar and energy levels, helps support detoxification, and is needed to recover from workouts.”

As a general rule, Broihier recommends adding about 20 grams to each meal and 10 grams to each snack. But if it helps to have a visual pattern to follow, McKinney says a palm-sized portion of protein is enough. For example, this may look like a chicken breast or a salmon fillet, two eggs, or a closed fistful of chickpeas.

RELATED: 9 best protein-rich snacks for quick weight loss

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One of the main causes of overeating is not being present during meals. When you’re on the phone or watching TV, you may catch food that is so greasy that it doesn’t give your body a chance to register when it’s really full.

That’s why Dr. Hunnes advises putting conscious eating into practice. This involves slowing down and really tuning all your senses while eating a meal or snack. It’s also a good idea to try to eliminate distractions while eating so that you can more easily recognize your signs of fullness.

“Pause for a minute or two in half to check your hunger level,” Broihier says. “People who practice this are often surprised to learn that they really feel satisfied with less food than they thought. Many times we end up automatically and without thinking about what we have on our plates.”

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