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Today is July 19, 2019

Stop dieting in 2019!

Your body will thank you for it

By Elissa Fulton

Stop dieting in 2019!

Rebecca Turner is a registered dietician, radio talk show host, television presenter and author of Mind Over Fork. She encourages everyone to take a different approach to their health so it doesn’t become burdensome.

Many of us start off each year with great intentions for ourselves. We join the gym, we begin the latest diet trend, we meal prep and we know that this is going to be THE YEAR that we lose the excess weight. Except most of the time, we are disappointed when we end up gaining more weight by the end of the year and beat ourselves up for eating sweet treats during the holidays.  

So why are we in this cycle? It should be easy to want to be healthy, shouldn’t it? But for so many, it’s simply not easy. So many people fall into the “quick fix” trap. Because we want our cake, and we literally want to eat it too. It’s no wonder that Marketdata Enterprises, a market research firm, reports that Americans spend more than $60 billion annually on gym memberships and weight-loss programs to try and shed the extra pounds. But what if we could drop all of the fad diets, eat what we want and live a healthy life without worrying about everything we consume on a daily basis?

Rebecca Turner of Terry, Miss., a registered dietician, says that we can and should drop the trendy diets. In fact, she pleads with everyone that will listen to cut out the “dumb dieting” decisions that we all too often make. She affirms that when we cut out food groups and go on diets that shed weight fast, we are actually doing more harm than good to our bodies. Turner has offered some useful tips and would like to challenge the way we all think about food in 2019.

Setting goals

“I want everyone to enjoy good health and I don’t want it to be a burden on anyone to have to get healthy,” she said. “There’s so much confusing and conflicting information out there, but it’s really not as hard as we all make it. We get so wrapped up in how much weight we want to lose, instead of how much weight we need to lose. And those are two very different numbers.”

According to Turner, for those that already have a Body Mass Index (BMI) that labels them overweight or obese, just a 10 percent reduction of weight can significantly reduce the risk and complications from chronic disease. The weight loss recommendation can help in lowering blood pressure and preventing diabetes and cancer.

“Now, you may look at yourself and think that you need to lose the entire 100 pounds to be healthy; but what science tells us is that you only need to lose 10 percent of that to significantly improve factors that lead to chronic illness,” said Turner. “And while 10 pounds may not seem significant to you in terms of an accomplishment, I would love for people to see that a little bit goes a long way in terms of actually improving quality of health and well-being.”

Turner suggests that for 2019, we should set realistic goals for ourselves. “When we begin with that 10 percent weight-loss goal, we are setting ourselves up for being healthier in general,” she said. “The first step should be to make the difference between how much weight you need to lose versus that higher number of what you want to lose. Those two numbers are usually very conflicting and one is very inflated, versus one is very realistic.”

Achieving realistic goals

There are many things we consume each day that we don’t realize contain high fats and high calories. Turner said, “If you change nothing about your diet in 2019, but you removed 100 calories every day, you would lose 10 pounds in one year.”

So just what does 100 calories look like? For example, a 12-ounce regular soda contains approximately 140 calories. Depending on how tea is sweetened, eight-ounces of sweet tea has 70 calories. One tablespoon of mayonnaise and rich dressings also contain many calories.

“If you simply just cut out one or two sodas a day, sweet tea or a 100-calorie coffee drink each day, you would already lose 10 pounds by the end of 2019,” said Turner. “But think about those other calories. Just switching how we create our sandwiches to using less or light mayonnaise, or getting our salad dressings on the side, that all can add up to 100 calories per day. You may be putting your best foot forward by ordering a salad over some of the other items, but when we look at how many calories are in many of the dressings, you can almost defeat your efforts and become discouraged. But if you cut out the soda and are mindful of your dressing every day, here’s 20 pounds you could now lose in 2019.”

Busy lives, quick food and better choices

So many of us succumb to fast-food windows for dinner. Long days and long commutes, kids’ ballgames, church activities, play practice, dance and family obligations; all of these things lead us to the dreaded intercom and we find ourselves at the window purchasing greasy sacks of processed food.

“I’m a registered dietician with a 6-year-old daughter, a working mom with a busy schedule, so I see my fair share of fast-food restaurants,” said Turner. “But just because you go through the window does not mean that you have to order a full meal the way it comes, with a burger, fries and the soda. If the chicken sandwich or the burger is what you really want, get it and cut out the fries. If you are on your way home, cut up fresh fruit and pop some popcorn. Or if you really want the fries, get that and order a salad. Maybe it doesn’t look like the perfect meal, but you will make a huge dent in what would have been for you, so you will see the weight loss results from that.”

Convenience foods target certain communities

Unfortunately, the average Mississippian lives approximately 27 miles from a grocery store that sells fresh food items. Convenience foods are targeting those in areas like Mississippi that have what are called “food deserts.” For many Mississippians it’s challenging to make some of the healthier food choices, but Turner wants us to do what we can in terms of making better decisions and not letting these obstacles limit our ability to make better food choices.

“Fresh fruits are showing up in gas stations and the food industry is supply and demand,” said Turner. “When you notice these changes in your local communities, support it by purchasing these healthier options. If you buy it, your stores will stock it.”

About Rebecca Turner

Turner is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. She is a registered dietician, nutritionist and a certified specialist in sports dietetics with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is the author of “Mind Over Fork.” Her book is a documentation of her personal discovery and relationship with food. She hosts a radio show on SuperTalk Mississippi, “Good Things with Rebecca Turner.” She is a television presenter on Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s healthy eating show, “Fit to Eat” and the Emmy Award-winning children’s show “Ed Said” and often appears on WLBT/FOX 40-TV as a wellness expert.

For more information, videos or to contact Rebecca Turner, visit

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