New Year, New Me: Losing weight

New Year, New Me: Losing weight
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 8:36 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Losing weight is right up there with exercising more and getting organized as favorite New Year’s resolutions, but remains a personal issue with no one-size-fits-all solution.

For many in the health care field, including Dietitian Haley Hughes, weight loss is just one data point.

“I see weight loss being their main focus, which is such an interesting way to approach health,” Hughes said. “That is just one piece of data where, you know, if you choose to follow a fad diet or some cookie cutter program, you’re not empowering yourself with nutrition knowledge, and really individualizing it to yourself to make it sustainable.”

Hughes recommends improving your overall eating, and while most diets focus on restricting foods or taking things away, she says to think about what you could add to your diet.

“Dietitians usually take the approach of, what can we add in more of, you know, that’s going to benefit your health,” Hughes said. “And yes, I am a big proponent of vegetables, but if we’re not there yet, maybe it’s fruit, maybe it’s less processed food, maybe it’s nuts and seeds or things that, you know, are still promoting health, and something they actually want to do, is a good place to start.”

Hughes recommends the “plate method.”

“So when they’re looking at their plate, trying to incorporate a protein, vegetable and carbohydrate, and trying to incorporate half the plate, fresh produce or frozen produce,” Hughes said.

She also thinks it’s better to focus on actual behaviors and habits as well, as things you want to do, instead of what you feel like you should do.

“I really encourage people to start tuning into their hunger and fullness and applying some mindfulness practices while eating,” Hughes said. “Which could look like taking a pause before sitting down looking at your environment, maybe presenting food more exciting or flavorful, or trying new things.”

As with so many changes, Hughes recommends that those with resolutions to lose weight look at the options that fit them personally.

“If you hate going to the gym, there are a million other ways to move your body,” Hughes said. “Just like foods: if you hate spinach, or kale, there’s a million other nutrient-dense vegetables or foods that can support your health. So try not to be so focused on one little aspect of health and finding the ones that resonate with you.”

There’s no one path that leads to a more healthy lifestyle. It’s about finding the way that fits you in this new year.

Hughes provided the following resources for changing eating habits: MyPlate Resources, Holiday Tips, Intuitive Eating, and How to Find a Dietitian.

An extended interview with Haley Hughes is available on the In Depth Alaska podcast.