After many years of helping patients lose weight, True You Weight Loss bariatric and weight loss dietitian Laura Sebring, MS, RD, LDN, has a really good idea of what works—and what doesn’t. While every patient is different, and customized nutrition plans are critical for long-term success, she gives her patients similar advice when it comes to the basics. And that’s because there are three basic pillars of any successful weight loss journey, and these elements have been proven to support weight loss, time after time. Laura’s “weight loss trifecta” includes the right balance of nutrition, exercise, and fluid intake.
“I call this my weight loss trifecta, but it’s not really ‘mine,’ it’s based on years and years of research and data. At True You Weight Loss, our advice is scientifically backed,” says Laura. “We follow guidelines that were created by professionals who have been doing this for a long time. Our goal is to ensure that each patient has an individualized plan for weight loss success.”
If boiled down into these three key elements, weight loss can be much less overwhelming and more attainable, especially when considering long-term results.
Do not follow or subscribe to fad diets. The weight might come off quickly, but in most cases, old habits will prevail, and the weight will come back.
“Weight loss is not really about calories in, calories out,” explains Laura. “Instead, it’s about eating the right foods, and the correct balance of foods, for your body. You can learn how to do this by working with a dietitian. We enjoy working with our patients to determine that ideal balance—and the truth is that it’s different for everyone.”
Your nutritional intake should be personalized to your body’s needs and depends on how your body metabolizes and responds to macronutrients (macros), also known as fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. At True You Weight Loss, patients’ positive outcomes are directly related to the nutrition services they receive that are specifically catered to them. Each patient is educated on how many of each macronutrient they need per day to achieve weight loss success, as well as how to track their macro intake so that nothing goes unnoticed. Percentages are adjusted accordingly based upon the progress the patient makes.
“I meet with my patients very regularly after an endobariatric procedure and before they start eating soft foods again; then every four weeks for long-term follow-up,” adds Laura. “These meetings allow me to become aware of any nutritional adjustments that must be made, and they also help patients become more accountable for their progress. Plus, I can be a cheerleader who offers support and encouragement to help patients reach their goals.”
Also critical to weight loss success is exercise. Not only does it improve metabolism, but it also improves mood.
“Don’t view exercise as a punishment for eating that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup,” says Laura. “Especially as you are losing weight, view exercise as a celebration of the fact that your body can move and do things it couldn’t do before.”
True You Weight Loss recommends 30 to 60 minutes of heart rate-increasing activity at least five times per week. Ideally, patients should choose some type of resistance or strength training twice per week to maintain muscle mass, which also burns calories. Remember that losing muscle translates into burning less calories because the body thinks it should be storing fat for later.
However, Laura also recommends that her patients choose activities they enjoy or that inspire them to stay engaged. For the most part, any type of intense activity counts as exercise, such as yard work, gardening, hiking, swimming, and biking. Organized fitness classes, whether outdoors or at a gym, can also be motivating because of the scheduled timing and the enjoyment and accountability that comes with being part of a group.
This factor is one that people often ignore, however, fluids are essential to any weight loss plan. True You Weight Loss strongly encourages drinking 64 oz., minimum, of water per day.
“Often, people mistake their hunger for thirst, so being aware of fluid intake is particularly important,” adds Laura. “Fluids can also help you feel fuller, and therefore, eat less.”
Fluids are important to weight loss for many additional reasons, including:
If patients are finding it difficult to keep up with their water intake, Laura recommends infusing water with cucumber and mint, lemon or oranges to add some flavor and zest. Additionally, she says that water at room temperature is more easily tolerated and absorbed, as opposed to very cold or hot water.
“Also, it’s important to remember that all of fluids don’t have to come from what you drink,” adds Laura. “Water can also be found in many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, berries, oranges, celery, and cucumbers. Many of these fruits and veggies also include necessary fiber.”
She recommends her patients find a favorite water bottle, which can make drinking water more fun. Like a phone, Laura encourages patients to carry the bottle around all day and to drink regularly. Logging your fluid intake on an app or in a journal can also help you keep track.
In conclusion, while the trifecta of nutrition, exercise, and fluids is critically important to long-term weight loss success, working closely with a dietitian for ongoing guidance and support can help you navigate the ups and downs that come with any weight loss journey.