The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

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10 Tips to Help Your Customers Lose Weight

10 Tips to Help Your Customers Lose Weight

Dietitian Dialogues

January 25, 2009

Another new year is here and many of our customers want to lose a few pounds or try to get in shape. There are many diets out there that promise to help them lose the weight, yet not all are safe. To help our customers lose weight gradually and keep it off, here are 10 tried and true tips that they can live with while losing weight and getting in shape.

10: Go slow. Set a realistic goal for weight loss and write it down. Losing two to no more than three pounds a week is generally recommended by the experts. Remember how long it took to gain the weight? Give yourself time to lose it gradually and you will be more likely to keep it off as you change your lifestyle habits.
9: Be active. Calories in, calories out or what you eat is what you get. This means be active. Go walking, swimming, jogging, bicycling and dancing to burn those calories. The key is to make physical activity a part of your everyday life.
8: Go small. Use the small plate and small bowl at meals instead of the large ones. It is too easy to eat too much when you use a big dinner plate or a large bowl, especially for that nighttime ice cream.
7: Eat fiber. Aim for 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day. Fiber fills you up and helps you feel full for a long time between meals. Easy ways to get more fiber include eating cereal for breakfast that has 10 or more grams per serving; eating a pear or an apple for a snack; adding beans to your meals, soups, and salads; and adding a few nuts as a snack or on a salad.
6: Eat protein. Do not skimp on protein; this includes chicken, fish, turkey, lean beef and pork. It also includes dairy foods like skim milk, yogurt, low–fat cheeses, beans and nuts, all found in our commissary at savings of 30 percent or more. The average person needs 0.8 grams protein per kilogram body weight – that’s about 60 to 90 grams protein a day.
5: Be mindful of portions. Portion control, portion control, portion control! A serving that is bigger than your fist is probably too much to eat – unless it's vegetables, which is the next tip.
4: Eat your veggies. Eat vegetables at lunch and dinner. Portions are not so important here. In fact, eating vegetables is a good place to cheat if you need to. Make sure to fill up half your plate at meals with vegetables. The fiber, water content and nutrients in vegetables help the body lose weight. Fresh, canned or frozen veggies are all great choices. Avoid the sauces, though, as they add many extra calories.
3: Eat your fruit. Fresh, canned or frozen, they all make great snacks and a nice desert. Dried fruit is okay too, as long as you control the portion sizes.
2: Get support. Get support to stay on track with your weight loss from your family and friends. How about creating your own “Biggest Losers” contest and inviting others to join? Support goes a long way with weight loss.
1: Celebrate your success! Give yourself a pat on the back and more as you continue to lose weight. It's no easy task. As you reach a weight loss goal, how about something special to reward yourself? Make it something that you really can enjoy like a new outfit, season tickets for your favorite sport, or a special vacation. You decide what it is and write it down with your goal.

Lieutenant Colonel Karen Hawkins is a registered and licensed dietitian with more than 18 years of military service and experience with the Defense Commissary Agency, a worldwide chain of nearly 260 commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families. Commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America's military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country. Hawkins is truly passionate about promoting healthy eating, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in health education.
For more recipes go to “Kay’s Kitchen,” and for more nutrition information go to the “DeCA Dietitian” section on
As a nutritionist working for a supermarket, you have a unique outlook on how retailers are increasing health awareness at the store level and the kind of questions that shoppers ask. Each month, we'll be featuring a guest column, written by a nutritionist, that communicates this point of view on a variety of topics. And we want to hear from you. If you are a supermarket nutritionist interested in sharing your perspective and insights, we would love to help you share your thoughts! Please contact Allison Bloom at And here's something else to get excited about. If we use your guest column, we'll give you a free iPod.