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How to Get Smart About Weight Loss
Date:1/23/2011

SUNDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- By this point, New Year's resolutions might be a dim memory -- which makes it a good time for fine-tuning, especially for those who resolved to lose weight.

Brittany Glassett, a registered dietitian with Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver, suggests using what she calls the "SMART" system to create goals for yourself -- with "smart" being an acronym for goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

In the area of specificity, for example, don't just plan to "eat better." Make a specific goal, such as eating fast food three fewer times a month.

Write down your goals and focus on just one or two at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Then keep working on those one or two goals until you've made a change, remembering that it takes about three weeks to adopt a new habit.

Glassett also suggests thinking about mini-goals. Instead of saying you'll lose 50 pounds, consider losing 5 pounds over the next four weeks.

And get support from family and friends: Let them know about your goals and tell them to hold you accountable.

Glassett also has created a list of what she calls six small changes that make a big difference:

  • Eat more whole grains, which contain heart-healthy fiber along with vitamins and minerals. Fiber can help you stay full between meals.
  • Add color to your plate through such foods as fruits and vegetables. Try putting three colors on the plate that aren't white, cream or yellow.
  • Don't skip meals. And consider having smaller meals every three or four hours rather than bigger ones less often.
  • Cut down on soda, juice and high-calorie coffee drinks, which are full of empty calories.
  • Replace vegetable oil with canola oil and olive oil, which are better for your heart.
  • Keep a food diary, if only for a couple days a week. Studies have shown that people who keep track of what
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