What is the best diet for weight loss? Print

Why your food personality is key

nutrition expert Andrea Holwegner on AM770 

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One of the most frequently asked questions in our Calgary nutrition counselling practice is “what is the best diet to lose weight?” or “what is the best diet to go on?”

scale with measuring tape

Since there is not one diet that is best for weight loss, I am going to encourage you to think about your thinking. I learned the importance of this in my entrepreneur group Strategic Coach by founder Dan Sullivan who said: “the problem is not the problem, the problem is that you don’t know how to think about the problem.”

 

Below are three key principles and questions to help you discover your “food personality” and what will realistically work for you to help with weight loss.

  1. 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.

 

What can you actually enjoy versus tolerate?

steak and tomatoes

  • 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 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 and of course ensure you consider your overall health since if you don’t take care of your body where are you going to live?

 

  1. You can eat anything, just not everything.

fruit and cereal

It’s all about choice. Nothing is off limits. Calories are the currency of weight loss. Just like budgeting your finances you need to develop the skill and awareness of spending and saving where it counts. Similar to our bank account, what we choose to spend our calorie currency on is highly individual. There will always be key basic needs we must spend on (similar to a basic level of nutritious foods that need to be consumed for health and productivity in our day). Then we have some money left to spend on fun stuff (just like we have some calories left to spend on soulful foods chosen for taste and enjoyment rather than any type of nutritional need).

 

What do you love? What is really worth it? What non-negotiables do you need to live a good life?

chocolate donut

My suggestion is to think of your basic nutrition needs for health and productivity as a daily requirement but move to thinking about your soulful food intake as a weekly goal to allow yourself the most flexibility to have less some days and more at other times such as weekends and social outings.

 

  1. What small effort creates MOST of the results?

One of the things you have heard me ask again and again is “What bite-sized change can lead to supersized results?”

You may or may not have heard about the Pareto Principle which was first established by what was learned in the auto industry and then later tested to be a valid prediction of nature. The Pareto Principle (that is certainly important for nutrition change) states that:

The majority of what you want will come from the minority of what you do.

Richard Koch in his book The 80/20 Principle further defined Pareto’s Principle by the notion that 20% of your causes, inputs or efforts leads to 80% of your results. Success comes from doing what matters most and being consistent.

What 20% of your nutrition habits can you change that will lead to 80% of your weight loss results?

The most important nutrition habits often don’t yell the loudest. They also don’t tend to be sexy or revolutionary. Chances are they are no-brainer ideas you already know but just need to be reminded of.

As I have thought extensively about what key habits lead to the greatest results for weight loss. Here are some of the most important efforts that lead to BIG results:

  • Learn how to meal plan. Answer the question “what is for supper tomorrow?” Determining the plan daily or weekly means that you have thought about groceries and time to prepare meals which are all key for success. It also means you have the intention to eat well tomorrow (after all you won’t want to waste the chicken you pulled out of your freezer that is now thawed). You will also be more likely to avoid quick fix convenience suppers not conducive to your weight loss plan.pasta with vegetables

 

  • Learn basic culinary skills. You don’t need to be a chef but in order to lose weight you need a handful of easy recipes you enjoy that you are confident cooking. Basic fundamental cooking knowledge also saves you time in the kitchen and allows you skill to make all food (including veggies) taste good. Most weight loss happens in the kitchen (not the gym) so if you hate cooking and are reading this rolling your eyes, book an appointment with a dietitian to help you make this process as time efficient and as easy as possible.

 

  • Build in accountability and rewards. We all need a system to track our wins, measure progress and keep us encouraged when we fall. Find a friend, co-worker, support group, online community or Registered Dietitian for help so you are not alone. Think about systems you can build in for accountability such as a weekly meal planning meeting with your spouse, reusable grocery shopping list or food journal that may be helpful. Think about ways you can reward yourself for positive progress with your efforts (not the number on the scale).

 

 

Did this information help you to think about your thinking? How will you approach weight loss differently? Ask questions and tell us your thoughts on our blog HERE

 

Don’t know where to start or want to explore building a nutrition plan you can live with for life?

  • Learn more about our nutrition counselling programs with a Registered Dietitian here: Personal Nutrition Counselling

  • Sign up for our waiting list for our upcoming Online Nutrition Course to help you learn all the key elements of how to build a plan you live with for the long term

 

 

nutrition expert Andrea Holwegner on AM770

About Andrea Holwegner

CEO, Registered Dietitian, Counseling Practice Director & Professional Speaker

Andrea the «Chocoholic Nutritionist» is founder and CEO of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. since 2000. She is an online nutrition course creator, professional speaker and regular guest in the media. Andrea is the recipient of an award by the Dietitians of Canada: The Speaking of Food & Healthy Living Award for Excellence in Consumer Education....Read more

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. Andrea and her team 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. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. 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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