My Best Advice for Lasting Weight Loss

If your New Year’s resolutions included losing XX number of pounds (again) this year, this article is for you.

There are two simple truths I teach clients with regards to lasting weight loss:

1. Weight loss is a result of 80% habits that relate to nutrition and healthy eating and 20% physical activity and exercise. Think about this. . . if you ate a large chocolate chip cookie or one 12 ounce can of soda (about 130 calories), it would take a 145 pound person about 30 minutes of walking at 3.5 miles per hour (17 minutes per mile) to burn off the calories from the cookie or soda. Instead of working out a lot more (and taking significantly more time) to burn off the extras in your diet, it is a lot easier to upgrade the junk in your diet to healthier options, save the calories, and use your workouts to burn off fat.

2. Creating healthy habits is the cornerstone to lasting weight loss. Anyone can restrict calories, work out more, and lose weight. As soon as you stop dieting, following an intense workout regimen, or “fall off the wagon”, the weight comes pouring back on. Lasting weight loss is all about the habits you create in your daily life. Habits (what you do day-in and day-out) count way more than extreme measures. With eating, you have at least 21 opportunities every single week (3 meals per day x 7 days per week) to make significant changes by creating healthy eating habits.

So, let me help you out by giving you my best advice for lasting weight loss. Are you ready?


1. Eat at least 5 servings of veggies every day. Farmers MarketVeggies are loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, water, vitamins, and minerals. The more colorful veggies you can add to your diet, the better. Think green, yellow, red, orange, pink, and purple. And before I forget to mention it, white potatoes don’t count.

2. Eat lean protein at every meal. Incorporating lean protein at every meal ensures that you have enough protein to rebuild your muscles because you’re going to be working out too to lose weight, right? Also, making sure you have enough protein when you’re losing weight will help you maintain the lean muscle mass you already have, so the weight coming off is mostly fat, not muscle. Lean protein could include lean meat, fish, poultry, plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, tempeh, beans, or lentils.

3. Stop eating when you’re 80% full. When is the last time you ate slowly, focusing on eating, for at least 20 minutes? For many of us, this question gets answered with a laugh, then “I don’t remember”. This is a problem. Scarfing down food in less than 20 minutes doesn’t give your body a chance to communicate to your brain that you’re actually full. This leads to overeating and weight gain. For weight loss, eat slowly and stop eating when you’re no longer hungry and pleasantly full, but not stuffed.

These habits for lasting weight loss will take some practice. I’d love to hear what you think and how they are going for you. Leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

Also, if you need some support and accountability to achieve your New Year’s resolutions, I’m here to help. Schedule a Breakthrough Session with me today.

Erin Harner

Erin Harner is an Integrative Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), author, and speaker based in Ithaca, NY. Erin melds functional medicine and culinary nutrition to help her clients uncover their unique diet and confidently cook healthy nourishing meals that meet the needs of their whole family. Learn about Erin's services and connect on Instagram.

2 thoughts on “My Best Advice for Lasting Weight Loss”

  1. Thanks, Erin, for the E-mail ! So glad to meet you at I Lost it at the Club on Monday! Love your book, and I’m following your advice…packing in the veggies (had broccoli with my poached eggs this morning and a huge salad for lunch! My husband is making Omni chili for supper (lots of onions, carrots, tomatoes, garbanzos, kidney beans), and I made homemade hummus (Jane Brody’s Good Food cookbook) yesterday for pitas with veggies, plus steamed broccoli.
    I’m losing weight already; also went to the club yesterday and got back on the elliptical glider for the first time in way tooooo long!! Thanks for the support!

    1. Thanks for your comment Anne! So happy that you found the tips useful and you’re implementing them already. Way to go! Its movers and shakers like you that lose weight and keep it off. Just remember to pace yourself and create lasting habits. . . sometimes the initial spurt of energy and excitement wears off. Find recipes that will keep you loving 5 servings of veggies everyday and keep up the great work! -Erin

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.