TRAVERSE CITY — A new year usually means making resolutions: goals to accomplish in the next 365 days. Many people want to lose weight, but how can they achieve this?

Table Health registered dietitian and massage therapist Carol Bell suggested eating healthier and making changes to the daily diet.

“What people want to look for is not just a magic cure or a magic pill, but how to take doable steps,” Bell said. “For people looking to make changes in their life and to be healthier and lose weight, they have to look deeper. We have to create a new pathway.”

The three places to make lifestyle changes are diet, movement and sleep. Bell said focusing on these can help someone lose weight, though the exact approach varies with each individual. Her advice for diet intervention: eat earlier in the day and plan meals to bring to work rather than purchase fast foods.

Bell said foods to avoid — or eat less often — include desserts, white bread, sugary drinks like pop, and cereals. Instead, people should intake protein, non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds, fruit, beans and whole grain items. Fermented foods are also on the healthy list.

Many diets might completely eliminate carbohydrates, but Bell said that is not the best way to go.

“A lot of mistakes people make are they do an all-or-nothing approach,” Bell said. “But that’s not good in the long term. It depends on how much of it you’re eating.”

Planning a whole meal, Bell said, starts with selecting a protein — whether animal- or plant-based. Next, consider adding beans instead of rice or pasta. Side dishes can be soup, salad, a condiment or a fresh herb garnish. Bell said people should also try to include nuts or seeds for the healthy fat portion of the meal.

“There are a lot of instructions out there about what to eat, how to eat,” Bell said. “A good goal should be asking can I add vegetables to every meal? People are often surprised when they find new ingredients to try or add together.”

Bella added that eating foods with low carbohydrates and high fiber leads to weight loss. Vegetarian or vegan recipes are often a good place to start.

As for snacking, Bell said she likes to combine fruits and vegetables or bring nuts to eat between meals. This helps prevent cravings, which most often involve sugar.

Oryana Community Co-op Education and Outreach Coordinator Devin Moore agreed that limiting sugar is important, especially during the holiday party season when cookies and other treats might beckon.

“If sugar is your kryptonite, limit yourself to one or two of your favorites and fill up on the veggie tray,” Moore said. “Try to be kind to yourself this holiday season and have a treat or two and savor every bite of it.”

She said it is also necessary to read nutrition labels on creamy beverages, yogurts and dried fruit, as they may contain extra sugar. Moore suggested buying plain yogurt and sweetening it with honey and fresh fruit.

Overall, Moore said individuals should avoid eating or drinking excessively and make diet changes that work for them.

“All of us are a little different,” she said. “Some may be vegetarian, some may not eat dairy, and others eat it all, so make your diet (or lifestyle) is realistic and personalized.”

Oryana offers free health tours at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. every Tuesday in January. Attendees can learn about the endocrine, digestive and nervous systems and how to eat to support each. Additionally, the store partners with Bell to host a free “Hormone Balance through Food” class at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at Table Health.

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