As a nutritionist and health consultant in private practice, I know my stuff. But it takes more than knowing my stuff to reach my own health and wellness goals. Despite the cliché, I want to get into the best shape of my life, and I have about 20 pounds to lose.

I had two babies in the past three years and indulged in croissants and treats while I was pregnant (both times). I'd like to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight because that feels best, physically and mentally. Also, I also don’t want to wear maternity clothes forever! I’m planning on success and using these simple tools.

1. Set a realistic goal.

Healthy weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week and I’m a practical person, so I'll err on the side of super realistic. One pound a week would be 20 weeks which is about five months, almost half a year, a couple of seasons away, so that’s the goal.

2. Banish the scale.

Rather than focusing on the number, I focus on how I feel and how my clothes fit. The most I allow myself to step on the scale is once a week, and even once a month will do.

3. Manage stress levels.

Out-of-control stress can cause weight gain and over-eating. Expect that stressful times will come up over the next six months and it’s OK to fall off the wagon and get back up. This is not a zero-sum game.

4. Keep it positive and treat yourself compassionately at all times.

This is so important! Just inhaled a burger and milkshake? Start small and start again at the next meal. Don’t give up or feel sorry for yourself for too long. (I know we all do this!)

5. Find good FOOD, and find a diet that works for you.

Everyone is different and it might take a little trial and error to figure out what’s best for you. When I'm aiming to lose weight, I never skip meals. I eat a fiber-rich breakfast like oatmeal with seeds, fruit and nuts. I drink lots of water throughout the day, cook broth-based soups that are loaded with veggies, and eat dinners of fish or chicken with salad and vegetables. I avoid gluten, dairy and refined sugar but don't deny myself a couple squares of dark chocolate or homemade cookies for a treat.

6. Use weight to lose weight.

Strength training will feel good and help you get your shape back as the weight starts to come off.

7. Get professional help, and not just with a nutritionist.

You don’t need to do it alone and you can get invaluable assistance from a coach, therapist, or personal trainer. You're worth it, and your health is important, so don’t skimp!


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