SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -At the start of each year, many choose losing weight as their New Year’s Resolution. However, that can be difficult to achieve safely and in a way that’s maintainable.
Eat less, exercise more. Those are the instructions to lose weight. But one could impact the scale more than the other.
“You can’t outrun your diet, meaning that exercise, unless you exercise at the level of an Olympian, shall we say, exercise won’t allow you to lose enough weight,” Doctor Robert Kelly with Memorial Health Bariatrics says. “Now, what exercise will do is it will improve your cardiovascular health and it has been proven to help maintain that weight loss.”
But figuring out how to eat the right way to lose weight can be challenging. First, both doctors and nutritionists caution you to be wary of diets.
“The things that I stress about watching out for are those diets that restrict food groups or eliminate food groups because this can be missing out on a lot of essential nutrients for us,” Memorial Health nutritionist Robin Reynolds said. “So we can become deficient in a lot of vitamins and minerals, and also those are not built to sustain us. We are not able to continue that honestly.”
Experts say not only can those fad diets stall your success and have negative physical effects, but your mental health can also be impacted.
“A lot of those vitamins and minerals really help to play a role in our brain, our moods and our functions throughout the day and give us energy,” Reynolds said. “Whenever we’re on those fad diets also it can mess us up because we end up restricting. We feel like we are failures if we go off of that diet completely, so there’s a lot of food guilt.”
So how do you start, then? Reynolds suggests you focus on your plate first.
“Make half of your plate vegetables and fruits, and then nutritious whole grains and then your other fourth would be your whole grains.”
She says you should also think about serving size, but there’s no need to fixate on calories right off the bat.
“If you are not familiar with anything at all nutrition-wise, do not count calories. Just make your plates more balanced and more colorful.”
To stay under budget while you make these changes to your eating habits, Reynolds suggests looking at buying frozen produce, where you can usually find some good deals. Also, head to the store with a plan.
“Set a menu. Write out a grocery list. When we are not prepared, we buy whatever we see.”
If you think dieting and exercise won’t be enough, surgery could be an option for you depending on your BMI, or body mass index. Even if this approach is right for you, Dr. Kelly says don’t think of it as a quick fix.
“Regardless of what you use to lose weight, you’re needing lifestyle changes.”
From her experience with patients, Reynolds says the best weight loss goals are realistic, attainable, and include specific steps.