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New year, new lifestyle: Local dietitian shares easy habits to try in 2018

When it comes to shedding pounds, experts say a lot of it relies on what and how much you're eating.

Posted: Jan. 2, 2018 9:50 AM
Updated: Jan. 2, 2018 9:52 AM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - When it comes to shedding pounds, Registered Dietitian Tracy Arini says a lot of it relies on what and how much you're eating.

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"We really know that it's impossible to outrun your fork," she said, "So in other words, it's a really good idea to focus on limiting portions."

Arini says controlling portions is a big help in controlling your calories. 

"That can be a great way to manage a thinner waist line of course," Arini said, "and any time you eat more calories than your body needs, you can store that in the form of triglycerides in your blood and more adipose tissue, which is the body fat as well."

Easy ways to keep track of proper portions, Arini says, is by measuring foods by the size of your palm or a deck of cards for pieces of meat like chicken and fish.

For some snacks, like an ounce of nuts, Arini says a good way to meaure that is by seeing if they can flatly fit onto a 3x3 Post It note. 

"Make sure that you're using small plates, perhaps even a small bowl where it influences the idea that the portion is a little bit larger than what it really is," she added, "Lots of leafy green vegetables, we don't really enforce portions on that so much as we encourage large amounts. We often say one half of a dinner plate, like a nine inch dinner plate, fill that with your vegetables. For your fruits, you could always use that baseball or tennis ball reference for serving size, or even like half a cup for things that are small such as grapes or cherries."

Arini also recommends limiting your intake of saturated fat, which is often a common factor to high cholesterol. Arini says high cholesterol levels could lead to other complications, such as a heart attack, if not properly monitored. 

Arini suggests looking into different diets to help combat it. 

"Vegan diets are good for that because there's much less saturated fats in plant-based foods," Arini said, "Really staying clear of too many of the red meats and things that are solid fats at room temperature can be a real advantage, lower fat dairy products, maybe low fat cottage cheese, one percent milk."

"Eggs are actually in good favor," she added, "We once believed that they were pretty much to be eliminated if you had high cholesterol, but eating one egg a day is not going to be incredibly harmful within the confines of an otherwise healthy diet."

Lifestyle changes don't always happen overnight and sometimes it can be intimidating. Arini says a good way to stay on track with your new lifestyle is practicing accountability and setting realistic goals, like trying to lose one or two pounds per week as opposed to ten in the first week. 

"I would really encourage food journaling, keeping a record," she said, "There's lots of fun apps that you can use for a smartphone or a tablet. If you're not someone that owns one of those, you can get online on various webpages and access that for free, but a good ol' pen and paper works effectively as well."

"The accountability I feel is a key feature," Arini added, "and it might be wise to buddy up with someone, like an accountability partner. If you have a friend, or a family member, or a loved one that is really on board with the same objectives that you are, I think it would be very wise to pair up with them, that way the two of you can hold each other accountable and cheer each other on too."

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