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Dear Dietitian – Keeping new year's weight loss resolutions

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PICT Leanne McCrate Dear Dietitian
Leanne McCrate, RD, LD, CNSC

Dear Readers,

New Year’s Day is upon us, and it’s time for those resolutions.  Many who are reading this will resolve to lose weight in 2019; however, about 95% of the people who lose weight will gain it back.  This is not meant to discourage anyone, but rather to suggest a different approach. 

Follow these guidelines for greater success:

Form healthy habits around food. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, high-fiber grains, and lean proteins. Eliminate fast food, junk food, evening ice cream, and snacking after dinner. Save dessert for a weekly treat.

Create a food plan.Plan your meals ahead of time and write them down. Pack a lunch for work, and plan healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, or low-sugar yogurt. When you have a food plan, you are much less likely to grab something unhealthy when hunger pangs hit.

Have a plan when you want to eat but aren’t really hungry. Call a friend; read a book; chew a piece of gum; clean out a closet; go for a walk.

Know how often you want to weigh yourself. Some people weigh once a week; some weigh once a month. Do what works for you. 

Don’t get too hungry.  Many diets fail because they are too restrictive in calories or they cut out a food group.  The dieter ends up feeling deprived, and who wants that?  When we feel deprived, we may go to the other extreme and eat a pint of ice cream or a family-size bag of chips.  Then we feel like we have blown it, and it’s hard to get motivated to get back on track.

Set realistic goals. A realistic goal for weight loss is one pound per week.  In this way, you can lose weight without feeling deprived. When we lose weight slowly, we will lose fat instead of muscle. Our skin will tighten, and we will be less likely to have flabby arms.

Reward yourself, but not with food.  Go to a movie; buy a pair of earrings; go to a ballgame; buy a new pair of shoes; buy two pairs of shoes.

Finally, find emotional support. Have a buddy system or join a group like Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS). Weight loss programs with group support have higher success rates than those who go it alone.

Remember, you will not do this perfectly. No one does.  A good measure of success is not if you “fall off the horse,” but how quickly you can “get back into the saddle.” 

I wish you all a happy, healthy New Year!

Dear Dietitian

Leanne McCrate, RD, LD, CNSC, is an award-winning dietitian with over fifteen years of experience. Have a question?  Email Leanne at