This is part 3 of the “Living Your Resolution” series.
These days, the diet industry is big business with popular diets going in and out of style, and new “quick fix” diets being shared across all social media platforms. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutraSystem, weight loss shakes, weight loss pills, low carb, low sugar, Keto, cabbage soup, and even weight loss “salts” being advertised on television.
According to Angelee Mayo, a registered dietician at Tyler Holmes Memorial Hospital in Winona, if you are looking at dropping some weight, you must start with the right attitude.
“First, you need commitment and self-discipline,” Mayo said.
She urged those beginning their weight loss journey to make small realistic goals like drinking the required eight glasses of water a day or 10 pounds in three months.
“When setting your goals for weight loss, don’t say you want to lose 50 pounds in six months, say you will lose 10 pounds in three months,” Mayo said. “That way, it is easier to achieve your goal, and you don’t get frustrated and give up.”
As for the various diet plans on the market, Mayo said of all the diets out there, the Mediterranean Diet is the best way to go for healthy weight loss. The Mediterranean Diet includes eating lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, nuts, legumes, and whole grain starches.
“[And enjoy these foods] in moderation,” Mayo said.
Experts at the famed Mayo Clinic agree, stating that not only is the Mediterranean Diet the healthiest way to lose weight, but it can also help prevent chronic diseases.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, “The Mediterranean diet is also associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, and Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer.”
Mayo explained that the Mediterranean Diet should be viewed as a lifestyle change for anyone wanting to have better health. She said those wanting to lose weight should use the Mediterranean Diet pyramid while counting calories.
“You should have no less than 1,200 calories a day,” Mayo said. “If you go any lower than that, your body goes into starvation mode.”
Mayo said to lose one pound a week, a person would need to cut their daily calorie intake by 500 calories.
“Thirty-five hundred calories equals one pound,” Mayo said. “One pound a week is a realistic goal to achieve. But to achieve that, you have to have the diet and exercise components.”
Mayo said a goal of walking two miles three times per week is a good goal to have for weight loss.
“There is no easy way of doing this,” Mayo said. “This should be looked at as a lifestyle change not a diet.”
She also warned against some of the most popular diet trends.
“I don’t recommend the Keto diet at all,” she said. “It is so high in fat and cholesterol, and it doesn’t recommend fruits and vegetables. If [someone] wants to do it, they need to talk to their doctor or healthcare provider first.
She also warned of the various supplements on the market.
“Many of the supplements [found at health stores] are not approved by the [Federal Drug Administration],” she said. “I would recommend talking with your doctor before starting any new supplement. You don’t know how a supplement will interact with medication, and it can make you sick.”
Mayo urged anyone looking to start a new diet regimen to begin with an appointment with their healthcare provider.
“You need to look at several numbers – your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight,” Mayo said. It also would help to know your Body Mass Index.”
Mayo said most people know sustainable weight loss takes diet and exercise, but that doesn’t stop people for looking for a short cut.
“I have patients who come in and think I have a magic pill,” she said. “People pretty much know what to do. It’s the discipline and commitment to do it that is the key.”
For those hoping to lose a few pounds or establish a healthier diet, she said planning is the key to success.
“Plan your meals – for the next seven days,” she said. “Go to the grocery store and buy the food and go home and make the food on your plan.”
Mayo said it is not good to skip meals. In fact, she said eating three small meals with snacks in between is the best way to lose weight, while following your specific daily calorie intake.
“The easiest way to describe this is ‘eating clean,’” Mayo said. “The close to a plant based food, the better it is for you. I recommend lean meat – beef, chicken, lean grounded beef, fish, and pork. Nothing fried.”
She said instead of white sugar, she recommended a natural sweetener like Stevia. She also said to limit fast food or make healthy choices while dining out.
“If you can make one meal a day meatless, that would be good,” Mayo said. “Try beans, they are high in protein.”
For those who have tried dieting and have been unsuccessful, despite serious efforts, she suggested asking a medical professional about having their thyroid checked because if it isn’t producing the way it should, it can cause weigh gain. Mayo also said to look at side effects for various prescription pharmaceuticals that might cause an increase in weight.
Mayo has worked as a registered dietician for more than 30 years, “in all fields of clinical nutrition.”
A graduate of Loma Linda University in California, Mayo has a bachelor’s in clinical nutrition. She continued her education at Delta State University in the MBA program. She also used to be a certified aerobics instructor.
Mayo said not only did she struggle with her weight as a young person, her daughter did as well. She said due to an auto immune disorder, her daughter gained weight. In working with a pediatric endocrinologist, there was a strong emphasis on diet and exercise.
Mayo said parents need to take a proactive approach in keeping their children healthy. In today’s world, children aren’t as active as they once were. She urged parents to emphasis outdoor play and limit technology and television.
“As a parent you control what your children eat,” she said. “Limit the junk food and sweet drinks. Offer more fruits and vegetables. The younger they get into the habit the better.”
For more information about improving your overall wellness, contact your physician or medical professional. To seek the advice of a certified dietician like Mayo, speak with your physician about a referral.