Best Way to Lose Weight Healthfully: Dietitian Advice
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3 important tips to help you move towards your personal best weight

best diet for weight loss - dietitian advice


We field many inquiries about the best way to lose weight at our Calgary Dietitian / Online Nutritionist practice that often start out something like this…

  • “I’d like to lose X pounds by X date, can you help?”
  • “I’ve tried to lose weight for years but each year it gets higher and higher, what can I do?”
  • “I’ve followed a long list of diets and now I’m heavier than ever, is there anything that works?”

My response is always the same. You may or may not lose weight coming to see us. While of course your nutrition and exercise habits are important factors that influence your weight, at some point you can’t eat any less or exercise any more. Food and exercise are only part of the weight loss equation.  Your weight is also influenced by our genetics, family history, age, gender, medical status, medications, sleep and stress levels.

Our approach is to help our clients maximize their results and move to their personal best weight but through a non-dieting, non-extreme eating approach. We want to ensure you achieve good health and have enough fun and flexibility built into your eating plan to live a good life.


WATCH my interview on Global Morning News here:

So where do you begin? Having worked with many clients over the years that are struggling with their weight here are 3 strategies I think are very helpful to get you going:

3 Tips on the Best Way to Lose Weight Healthfully

#1 Stop Counting Numbers, Instead Focus on Habits

You don’t need to count calories or step on a scale daily to weigh yourself

While having a rough idea how many calories you need per day may be helpful, you don’t need to track every morsel of food in an app in order to achieve your personal best weight. Tracking numbers can become obsessive and make you feel like you have failed or trigger bingeing if you ate more than you were allocated.  The same goes for the scale. Our weight naturally fluctuates on a wide variety of things so weighing yourself daily isn’t a good gauge as to how you are doing with your nutrition today. Following an overall weight range trend is far better than fixating on a daily weight.


Instead track your habits

Track how much water or alcohol you are drinking. Track your progress on ensuring you are not skipping meals. Track how many vegetable servings you are eating per day. Track when you will shop and your meal planning ideas for the week.  Repeating healthy habits week after week will help you move towards your personal best weight far more effectively than focusing on numbers.

For a list of nutrition apps that don’t track calories that can improve your overall nutrition habits check out my recent blog post here: Top Nutrition Apps (that don’t track calories)

    #2 Time Block Meal Prep

    You may not want to spend time in the kitchen but achieving your personal best weight depends on it

    If you really don’t enjoy cooking you may be hoping there is a way to totally eliminate all meal prep to instead go with convenience solutions.  While there are certainly time saving tips we teach our clients every day in our Calgary Dietitian / Online Nutritionist practice, eating well does take time and effort. It must be prioritized in your schedule.


    Use the 5 minute time block solution

    Constantly feeling stressed by meal planning? Grabbing too many convenience foods?  Tossing out fruits and veggies from your refrigerator that just didn’t get prepared?

    You need a better system.  You don’t need to be a professional planner or devote your entire Sunday to meal prep for the week, but you do need to be intentional about time blocking meal prep.

    Start by spending 5 minutes once per week to time block your calendar for mapping out your grocery shopping and meal prep. Most people need at least 1/2 hour each day at supper or longer periods on the weekend blocked off to prepare and cook food.  Many people underestimate how long it takes to acquire, prepare and cook.  If it’s not on the calendar you will likely find it hard to fit in.

    #3 Make Veggies Awesome & Abundant

    The vast majority of our clients struggling with their weight could benefit from increasing the number of vegetables they eat each day. While most people know this, knowledge often does not lead to action.  Some of the barriers is simply not understanding how to cook vegetables in a way that tastes good and adding enough variety throughout the day to hit your target.


    Let the vegetables drive dinner

    When you are meal planning start with the veggies first for a little more love and attention.  Build your repertoire of tasty recipes and cooking methods so you will actually want to eat veggies.  Start with these two simple tips:

    Learn how to roast veggies (my favorite way to eat just about any veggie)  – Watch this video on how to roast veggies

    Learn how to make homemade vinaigrettes so your salads don’t suck – Watch this video on how to make a vinaigrette in under 1 minute


    Use my “2 by 2” rule for veggies

    To make the goal to eat more vegetables more actionable, use my “2 by 2 rule” which simply states “eat two different vegetables, twice per day.”

    Give yourself more than one opportunity each day to eat vegetables. You likely won’t eat enough if you only have them at supper. Add raw veggies and dip, salad or vegetable soup as a daily snack or as part of lunch. At supper, instead of only having a cooked vegetable or a salad, focus on having both. As an adult, aim to have half of your supper plate full of vegetables. In order to do this, go for steamed, grilled, roasted vegetables as well as a few raw veggies or a salad.

    What is the best weight loss diet?


    The best weight loss diet is the one you can live with for life.

    If you can’t see yourself following a diet plan or meal plan you are looking at in a book or online weight loss program FOREVER, weight loss is doomed to fail. The idea you can restrict now, and then return to having a life later just won’t work to sustain weight change. This is the most common reason weight will yo-yo up or down.

    This may sound obvious but having worked with individuals struggling to lose weight for close to two decades I am often astounded by how frequently people will choose a crash diet to lose weight fast. The results are always the same though.   There is initial weight loss but soon enough they find themselves back at their old weight or even heavier than where they were before. The most difficult part of the yo-yo cycle is the psychological damage it causes with feelings of failure, body hatred and worsening food relationships.


    Ask yourself, what can I actually enjoy versus tolerate?

    • If you despise legumes and love meat, then a strict vegetarian diet is clearly not for you.
    • If you are a carb lover and want to support sustainability efforts for the planet then a Paleo or keto plan certainly isn’t your best bet.
    • If you have a chronic dieting or eating disorder history a system that meticulously has you tracking points or numbers in your smartphone will often increase obsessive thinking and steal the joy away from a healthy food and body relationship.

    My suggestion is that you “take the die out of diet” and instead remove this word from your vocabulary and go for an eating lifestyle full of as much variety and as few restrictions as possible. After all there is a basic psychological principle that we all want what we can’t have. Keep your options open and free.

    How does your nutrition measure up? Find out with our FREE Nutrition Scorecard

    Download our Nutrition Scorecard and find out how well your eating habits and current nutrition plan stacks up in 5 key areas:

    • HOME
    • ON-THE-GO

    The answers may surprise you!

    Take a peek at some of the other related blog posts on our site!

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    Success stories

    "I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
    Adele Fox, Psychologist
    “This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
    Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
    “The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
    Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
    “I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
    Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
    “I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
    Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
    “I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
    Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
    “Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
    Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

    Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

    I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
    Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

    Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

    “I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
    Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
    “As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
    Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

    Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

    I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
    Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
    “Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
    Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

    ARC Resources Ltd.

    “Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
    Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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