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Sustainable Fat Loss: Tips from a Registered Dietitian

Updated: May 17, 2023

It's time to stop looking for a quick fix and learn how to take a sustainable, mindful approach to losing fat and reaching your health goals.

As a private practice dietitian, I specialize in helping my clients lose fat in a sustainable way. While there are many different approaches to fat loss, here are my 5 tips to help you lose fat and keep it off:

1. Eat in a small to moderate calorie deficit

Losing fat requires creating a calorie deficit, which simply means consuming fewer calories than your body burns. However, it's important to be mindful of the size of the deficit you create. A deficit that's too large can lead to hunger, fatigue, muscle loss, and decreasing (or "slowing") your overall metabolism. Our bodies are smart and do everything they can to discourage weight loss. Instead, aim for a small to moderate deficit of 250-500 calories per day. Remember that long-term, sustainable fat loss takes time. If you're losing weight in a healthy way, you can expect to lose ~0.5-1lb per week.

2. Eat 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day

Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients that are essential for overall health. Produce items like fruits and vegetables are also typically high volume, low calorie foods. This means that you can eat a much larger volume of produce items and still stick within your goal calorie range. Increasing your intake of produce items provide a multitude of health benefits while helping you stay full, even in a calorie deficit. If your goal is to lose fat, I recommend eating at least 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

3. Focus on eating enough protein

I probably sound like a broken record at this point, BUT (and this is a big one), meeting your protein goals is essential if your goal is to lose fat. Anytime we are in a calorie deficit, our body is going to seek out those missing calories from somewhere. Our body is quick to break down our muscle to use for energy. In short, this is why it is vital to eat enough protein each day. If you are consistently replenishing your protein stores, you'll be able to retain your muscle mass and lose weight as fat. If you aren't meeting your protein goals each day, you aren't going to only lose fat - you're going to end up losing your muscle as our body uses it for energy.

The amount of protein you need each day depends on several different factors - height, weight, goals, exercise type & frequency, medical history, etc. It is important to work with a professional (i.e. a registered dietitian) to determine the correct amount of protein for your lifestyle. While there are several issues with eating too little protein, there are also a multitude of health complications that can result from eating excessive amounts of protein as well.

4. Eat moderate amounts of carbohydrates spaced out throughout the day

Carbohydrates are an important source of energy, but it's important to be mindful of the type and amount of carbohydrates you consume throughout the day. Aim to include complex carbohydrates (carbohydrates that contain fiber) like whole grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables. Be sure to space out your carbohydrate intake throughout the day to avoid blood sugar spikes and crashes. Eating moderate amounts of carbohydrates throughout the day helps to keep you feeling energized and avoids harsh insulin spikes that encourage increased fat storage.

5. Set goals for small, sustainable changes:

Finally, it's important to set goals for small, sustainable changes that you can maintain over the long term. Rather than focusing on quick fixes or drastic changes, aim to make small improvements to your diet and lifestyle that you can stick with over time. The goal is always progress, not perfection. Over time, you'll be able to look back and realize that your lifestyle looks entirely different, but without feeling restricted or that you had to make any drastic changes at once.

By following these five tips, you can lose fat in a sustainable and mindful way that supports your overall health and wellbeing. It's time to stop the yo-yo dieting.

If you're ready to take the first step toward long-term, sustainable fat loss, let's work together. We'll create a personalized plan that meets your individual needs and lifestyle.


About the Author:

Shelbie Greenville is a Registered Dietitian & the owner of Mindful Nutrition Counseling. She has a bachelor's and a master's degree in human nutrition with a focus in metabolism and chronic disease management.

Shelbie specializes in weight loss, diabetes management, insulin resistance, mindful eating, and general wellness. By taking an "all foods can fit" approach, she has helped to empower hundreds of clients to reach their health goals.

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