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Eight Tips to Weight Loss from OMC’s Registered Dietitian

When I meet with patients, I often hear “I know what I should eat.” In my experience, I would agree that most people do know which foods are healthier for them. So why is staying on an eating plan so difficult, if weight loss is your goal? The majority of the problem, I believe, comes from our mindset and thoughts around food.

Many of us have tied so many emotion to food, aware and unaware, that it is difficult to understand why we are eating. Oftentimes, we turn to food when we are stressed, overwhelmed or even bored, and not even realize we are doing it, and some turn to food when they are anxious or depressed. On the flipside, there are many positive emotions associated with food as well, such as celebrations, rewards, social gatherings, holidays and traditions.

With so many of our emotions tied to food, taking our thoughts, feelings and beliefs out of the decision-making and retraining our brains to eat primarily for fuel and nourishment becomes difficult. As we begin another New Year, here are eight tips to help you on your weight loss journey:

  1. Create an eating plan rich in fiber. Vegetables with more emphasis on a variety of non-starchy vegetables, fruits, whole grains like quinoa, brown or wild rice, farro, oats and other ancient grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and nut butters. Make sure these foods are part of your “every day” eating plan.
  2. Add adequate protein in your diet. Some great protein sources come from meat, beans, lentils, nuts, nut butters and seeds, as well as dairy or dairy alternatives.
  3. Limit sugars and refined flours in both foods and beverages.
  4. Drink plenty of water, especially as you add more fiber to your diet.
  5. Start a food journal. This doesn’t have to be overwhelming, you can make journaling simple or more in-depth depending on your goals. I find that most people do well with keeping it simple and just writing down the food/beverages they ate, without measuring or counting calories. The goal of food journaling is to increase awareness around the food choices you make and think more about these food choices and why you made them.
  6. Make a 24-Hour Meal Plan. Stick to your daily eating plan most days, but allow yourself to have “off plan” foods. I love the idea of 24-hour planning because you can take your eating plan day-by-day and plan for that piece of pie on Thanksgiving or a glass of wine on a Friday night. With a plan like this, we are using the logical part of brain to make choices about food instead allowing our emotions to choose for us. When we decide to eat “off plan” foods in the moment, we are likely making an emotional decision.
  7. Aim to stay in the mindful eating zone with hunger. Try to avoid overeating and don’t let yourself get too hungry, as this can lead to overeating as well. There are different hunger/fullness scales out there, but here is an example of one:
    chart that shows the different levels of mindful eating
  8. Be kind to yourself! Try not to beat yourself up over the food decisions you make, missed goals or any setbacks along your weight loss journey. Talk to yourself like you would a friend or family member.

When deciding what you put in your body, remember that food is fuel; food is nourishment; and food is medicine.


About Osceola Medical Center

OMC is an independent, rural health-care center in Osceola, Wisconsin, that was founded in 1932. Its mission has always been to serve the community with quality health care. Today the medical center consists of more than 35 primary, specialty and emergency care providers, partnering with 11 specialty health organizations to offer the highest quality care with a “one place” convenience for its patients. In an effort to provide the best health-care outcomes, our primary care providers work together with the specialists and other support staff to provide the best experience. To schedule an appointment with OMC, call us today at 715-294-5680, or toll-free at 888-565-4662 or visit MyOMC.org.

About OMC’s Registered Dietitian Chelsea O’Brien, RDN

Chelsea O’Brien, RDN, graduated from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She then completed her Dietetic Internship through Iowa State University, completing rotations at Polk County Health Department, Amery School District, and Regions Hospital. In 2013, she began practicing at Osceola Medical Center implementing several weight loss programs including the Right Step program for youth, Table Talk cooking demonstrations, and more recently the Intensive Behavior Therapy program. As a busy mother of two and a Dietitian, Chelsea understands the struggles people face with weight loss and hopes to help individuals on their journey to a healthier lifestyle for long-term success.

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