How to get healthier and lose weight in 2022, and stick with it

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Nutritionist and fitness coach says avoid fad diets

Afraid you’re going to backslide on those New Year’s diet and fitness resolutions?

Today, Jan. 14, is Quitters Day, but you don’t have to be the one to bypass the gym or reach for another cookie in frustration.

WANE 15 spoke with University of St. Francis-trained nutritionist and fitness coach Ashlynn Jenkins on how to stay focused.

Nutritionist and fitness coach, Ashlynn Jenkins advises folks not to give up their New Year’s resolutions.

“The biggest thing, I would say, is hire a coach, if you’re able. They’ll be able to hold you accountable, teach you things along the way, answer questions that you may have,” Jenkins,30, said.

The next best thing is to get an accountability partner or “buddy,” she said.

“You’re more likely to stick to it if you have someone to account to,” Jenkins advised.

The third piece of advice is “to do things you enjoy and eat things you enjoy,” but that may be with moderation.

“If you’re going to the gym every day and you’re doing things you hate, the chances of you quitting are much higher,” Jenkins said.

The trick is to do things you enjoy and things that release serotonin. Easy workouts she recommends are taking a walk or looking up exercise videos on YouTube.

According to the 2021 Obesity Report released by the Trust for America’s Health, a non-profit organization backed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, Indiana ranks fifth in the nation for obese adults and 18th for both obese and overweight.

Nearly 37% of Hoosiers are obese. Combining Hoosier adults who are obese or overweight make up more than two-thirds or 69% of the state, the research shows.

Jenkins is working to bring that number down.

If there’s one thing Jenkins would recommend giving up, it’s soda – sugary or diet. She also recommends limiting alcohol. Soda lovers might consider a drink sweetened with Stevia or monkfruit.

“Alcohol turns off the fat burning process within the first drink that you have, so it’s going to take an additional two hours after the alcohol wears off for fat oxidation to turn back on,” Jenkins said. With alcohol, be mindful of the excess sugar, the mixers and consuming alcohol in moderation, she said.

Grocery shopping tips include reading labels.

“If you’re looking at a label and the first thing is sugar, it’s probably not a great product,” Jenkins said. ”If the first ingredient is protein or water, it’s probably going to be a much better pick.”

Stick to whole foods products that include vegetables and limit processed foods. “The other things would be if you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably not good for you,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins warned against extremely low calorie diets where the dieter may only consumer 800 calories or yo-yo dieting where the dieter loses weight quickly and then puts it all back on.

“About 95% of clientele that come to me have tried some type of fad diet in their lifetime. Typically, the client will try these diets, lose weight, gain it all back and that’s when they come to me. That’s because these diets are not sustainable,” Jenkins said.

Diet trends include the ever-popular Keto, a high protein, high fat,  extremely low carb regime; intermittent fasting developed primarily for men who need to boost their testosterone and the Whole 30 approach that includes whole grains, protein and fat.

Researching diet trends online produced a panoply of diets that appeal to a wide range of individuals and ages:

  • Keto (high fat, protein, low carb)
  • Paleo (Caveman) (no grains, starchy vegetables refined sugar or dairy)
  • Low FODMAP diet (from Australia that addresses gut health)
  • Mediterranean – diet that offers an array of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds and olive oil
  • DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension)
  • MIND diet ( combination of the Mediterrean diet and DASH diets that recommends a glass of wine)
  • Calories In, Calories Out or CICO, diet allows junk food but followers must expend more calories than they take in

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