How To Lose Weight If You Don’t Know Where To Start, According To A Dietician

by | May 31, 2023 | Weight Loss

Weight loss. Just two words that carry so much, from the many, many (seriously, so many) diets to the multitude of mind-hacking that comes with it. A lot of work needs to go into it to try and shift kilos. But how to even begin to lose weight, if you’re not sure where to even start? As is our style, we turn to experts first. “As a registered dietician, I’m here to help you navigate a sustainable approach to achieving overall health and wellness that goes beyond short-term weight loss goals,” says dietician Gabi Meltzer. “I would love to help you shift your perspective from quick fixes and temporary results to building healthy habits that prioritise your well-being, both physically and mentally.”

That means giving up fad diets, or quick fixes that promote a huge amount of weight loss in a short space of time. Per a dietician, here’s how to really begin your weight loss journey – and not have it end in tears of frustration.

Meet The Expert: Gabi Meltzer is a registered dietician in Cape Town

To lose weight, prepare for a mindset change

That means re-looking your ideas around weight loss and what that really means to you. Do you need to look hot for a date that’s right around the corner? Or do you want to feel better, move better? Either way, turn to sustainable approaches rather than quick fixes. These can result in weight cycling or the “yo-yo effect” which may worsen metabolic health risk and body image and lower self-esteem. “To break free from the vicious cycle of fad diets, a change in mindset is necessary,” says Meltzer. “Instead of fixating on the number on the scale, shifting the focus toward cultivating healthy habits that contribute to our overall well-being is the most sustainable.”

Focus on your eating habits first

Per one paper that evaluated different studies on weight loss, “Healthier eating, but not physical exercise accounted for goal-setting-induced weight loss.” To help, try writing down everything you eat. Is it a lot of pizza or late-night pies and fewer than the recommended five-a-day of veggies and fruits? Writing things down can give you that distance and perspective needed to alter your eating habits. That’s not to say that exercise can’t be a complement to your healthier eating habits, since exercise is important for overall health, too.

See a dietician

Professional guidance can help move the needle since they’re expertly trained to give you those tips and encouragement when trying to lose weight. It’s a big feat – and you don’t have to go it alone. Plus, dieticians offer evidence-backed strategies to help improve your health, says Meltzer.

Try intuitive eating

Here’s a popular trend that could actually help with building sustainable, healthy habits. “This is a self-care and body kindness framework that can be helpful in reconnecting to our body’s innate cues,” says Meltzer. It’s also a way to rebuild trust in yourself, especially if you struggle with binges. “[It’s about] learning to trust our bodies to make choices that truly nourish us, both mentally and physically,” adds Meltzer.

Find an exercise you actually like

Moderate exercise goes hand in hand with slimming down. But the key to sustaining your regimen lies in finding something you like to do. “Engaging in activities we genuinely enjoy can transform exercise from a chore to a pleasurable experience,” explains Meltzer. “When you find the type of movement that makes you feel energised, less stressed, happier, and more connected to your body and what it is able to do, you are likely to want to make this form of movement a regular part of your life.”

Be gentle with yourself

Real, sustainable weight loss takes time, so allow yourself to go slowly. That means you’ll be in this for the long haul. One way to think about it? Instead of focusing on what you’re eliminating, focus on what you’re bringing to the table. “Rather than fixating on strict rules or demonising certain foods or food groups, focus on adding more opportunity for a wide range of nutrient-dense foods,” says Meltzer. Keen to try new veg? Explore new recipes! You’ll find yourself free from restriction and less bored.

Learn to accept your body

Hating yourself will get you nowhere, and any problems you think will be solved through weight loss will likely still be there when it’s all gone. “Learning to appreciate and respect your unique body is essential for mental well-being and sustainable healthy habits,” says Meltzer.

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