Nutritionists say you should follow the one-meal rule if you want to shave inches off your waistline

Healthy weight loss does not happen overnight and is possible with a balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate hydration and a consistent sleep pattern. When nutritionists focus on all these aspects to improve your health, they say there is one helpful rule or tip to follow before preparing food that can help your diet become more weight-loss friendly. Read on for insights, advice, and suggestions from Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, Senior Dietitian at UCLA Medical Center, Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian at Balance One Supplements, and Lisa Richards, Registered Nutritionist and creator of the Candida Diet.

Top tip: Plan your meals with a Food Journal

While you may have an idea of ​​what you want to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as you prepare for your day ahead, using a food journal can help you track not only exactly what you eat, but also portion sizes and amounts. Keeping organized, detailed lists to refer back to can go a long way in helping you lose weight because it makes you feel better, says Richards. In addition, it can also help you find foods that help you feel your best after eating and others that may not.

Richards explains that “when you’re tempted to slip back into old habits,” it can be helpful “to have something to go back to as a reminder.” It doesn’t have to be a classic diary, she says, because it “can be a note, a picture, or anything else that reminds you why you started putting your health first in your diet.” It can also help you avoid “missed diet pitfalls , which lead to rapid weight loss,” he notes. Rebound weight gain, he adds, is “a big hurdle for those who want to lose weight initially.” A diet “focused on whole foods with the most common allergens removed can help boost your metabolism and accelerate sustainable weight loss,” he continues, and keeping a food journal can help you do just that.

A food journal can also help your relationship with food become healthier, Best says, because you can better understand your own needs and goals. “Mental health approaches to weight loss are almost, and in some cases more, important to the treatment and prevention of obesity than traditional medical treatments,” he says. Best adds that “the best first step in treating obesity may be to talk to a mental health provider about food and weight,” and many will suggest keeping a journal.

“Mindful eating, also known as intuitive eating, can be an essential practice to incorporate into your eating habits as well,” Best continues (and you can add this advice to your journal!) Your weight loss halt, she points out, could be “the result of eating when you’re not physically hungry, overeating, or any other principle shared by mindful (intuitive) eating.” Mindful eating revolves around eating when you’re really hungry, Best says, and tracking that can help you understand your own metabolism, hunger cues, and more.

Hunnes stresses that when it comes to weight loss, he “doesn’t believe in scarcity” because “going hungry is no fun and it’s a set-up for failure.” She recommends “thinking about food as a lifestyle that you’re going to follow for the rest of your life, because it gets you out of the mindset of yo-yo dieting or crash diets and then going back to your previous way of eating.”

When journaling, Hunnes says, “Switching to a whole plant-based diet will give you plenty of healthy nutrients, fewer calories and more water (anti-inflammatory foods), and it’s low in salt. and higher potassium content. (Whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, vegetables). This switch, he notes, “can result in a few pounds of water weight loss, and it’s a healthy and sustainable lifestyle change for weight loss and weight maintenance where you’re not walking around hungry.”

All in all, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to weight loss, Richards concludes, because “sustainable weight loss methods will typically result in a loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week.” It’s important to focus on “sustainable weight loss methods,” because extreme methods that may be effective at first “will ultimately lead to weight gain,” he warns. “Some of the best approaches to weight loss don’t require significant calorie restriction, long periods of exercise, or cutting out major food groups or macronutrients,” adds Richards, pointing to a food magazine as a great next step on your journey.

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