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Did you know that on this day, the first Thursday of February, people start to backtrack on their weight loss goals started for the new year? It seems that on this particular day, many people fall off of the wagon and a “downturn in visits to the gym and the upswing in people going to fast food restaurants intersect.

So what should you really do when you want drop those extra pounds but can’t seem to keep yourself motivated? What do you do when you keep working out but still don’t see results? And what do you do when a focus on trying to drop the pounds ends up messing with your intake of essential nutrients? Well, we talked with an expert to get answers.

Dr. Ro is an award-winning health journalist who holds a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences, a master’s degree in community nutrition and a bachelor’s degree in foods and nutrition. Her expertise has been utilized by millions through her work as a nutrition coach for The Dr. Oz show, and she recently released a new book and health program, “Lose Your Final 15,” to help people meet their weight-loss goals. Dr. Ro offers advice to help you stay on track to meet your goals while also knowing what you should include in your diet, take out, and stay away from. Check out these 10 tips and stay on the wagon instead of completely falling off.

Dr. Ro weight loss

What’s the Hardest Thing About Losing Weight, Particularly That “Final 15”?

Emotional and stress eating, as well as cravings. That’s one of the toughest things for anybody trying to lose weight because there are a great number of people who do not make the connection between the food choices they make and what they’re feeling at the time. They don’t make the connection that they’re standing in front of the freezer about to grab a box of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and they’re going to down the whole pint because they’re upset. Their being upset in that moment may have roots in something they experienced in their childhood. It could go way back in terms of how they see themselves now as an adult in the world. It’s a much deeper problem than most people realize.

What Are Superfoods and Why Do We Need Them?

“Superfoods” is really just a marketing term to be honest with you, but it’s based on a sliver of truth. Most foods that are touted as superfoods are foods that do have some health benefit that goes beyond just natural maintenance and natural body functions. Nutrition was originally about staving off nutritional deficiencies. Since the discovery of antioxidants and phytochemicals over 20 to 30 years ago, these chemical compounds in foods, now we live in a world where we know that foods go way beyond just the normal bodily function to actually helping to prevent disease. So when there are chemical compounds in a food that protect you against chronic diseases like heart disease, some forms of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, those are usually foods that are touted as superfoods. So for example, it’s the healthy omega fatty acids in chia seeds that make them a superfood.


How Do You Get Protein When Changing Your Diet to Vegetarian or Vegan?

So in my diet, “Lose Your Final 15,” you get protein options. If you happen to be a vegetarian and you’re a lacto-ovo-vegetarian, meaning you can include milks and eggs, in my plan, I have low-fat dairy at the three phases of the plan. If you’re a vegan, instead of having fish, chicken, turkey, beef or other meats, you would then substitute your proteins with seeds, nuts and beans. Those are good protein sources. I also have something called black bean spaghetti, which gives you 25 grams of protein, 17 grams of fiber and only 12 grams of carbs in every serving, which I love. You’ll find black beans and other beans throughout this meal plan. But overall, it’s very easy to adapt if you happen to be vegan or vegetarian.

Are Smoothie and Soup-Based Diets a Good Idea?

I don’t think they’re a good idea. The reason is because you can’t live on a liquid diet. So whether it’s soups or smoothies, it’s fine to incorporate that in a balanced diet that includes whole foods. But the moment you go off of a liquid diet, you start gaining weight — with your first forkful of solid food you start gaining weight. The reason is because liquid diets train your brain to not even recognize how many calories you’re putting into your body. You don’t have fiber, you don’t even have the process of chewing, so your brain hasn’t adjusted to the fact that you’re actually consuming foods. You’re slurping it down through a straw or you’re gulping. So, it’s so much easier to overconsume calories by drinking rather than actually chewing solid food. You can do a juice or smoothie diet, but it’s a very temporary thing.

What Helps People Keep the Weight Off?

It’s about just eating plain, simple food, not eating too much and eating often. I recommend that you have your first meal within the first hour of wakening. If you’ve been asleep for the night, let’s eat within that first hour. The reason is because it starts your metabolism working right away. Your body has been at rest for the last, hopefully, seven or eight hours, so now you want to put some fuel in there and start burning and revving it up right away. That said, I think the best thing to do is to think of this whole process, whether it’s weight loss or maintaining  the weight you have, think of it as real life. You want to eat a well-balanced diet of a variety of foods. The reason that’s so important is because there’s no one food that has all the nutrients you need in its proper quantity at one time. So in order to get a balanced diet and get the nutrients you need, not just for normal body functions but for whatever your goals are, you want to stick to a calorie budget. You should have a home for your calories just like you have a home for your money. Your money shouldn’t be floating around. You should know at all times where your money is and what it’s doing for you. You should know the same things about your calories. Don’t approach it from a willy-nilly perspective as if anything goes. It’s not whatever. Keep your eyes on the ball and be aware of the number of calories your body needs for whatever your goals are, whether it’s losing weight or maintaining.

What Helps With Long-Term Maintenance?

Be aware of what you’re putting into your body. Ask questions when you’re eating out to make sure that you’re not putting something in there that you don’t want to put in there that’s going to be more detrimental to you based on your goals. Eat a well-balanced diet, control your calories and do know your triggers. If you are an emotional or stress eater and if you have constant cravings, then yeah, know what those triggers are and deal with the real problem. Let’s go head-on and address the real problem that’s causing the emotional response where you want to eat something that’s high in fats, sugar or calories, which goes against the goals that you’ve set for yourself.

What Supplements Should We Integrate Into Our System?

Get a multivitamin. You want one with antioxidants. For women who are of childbearing age, you want your multivitamin to have iron. But after that point, you don’t need the iron. You also want it to have calcium. I would suggest taking a probiotic as well because people don’t have regular bowel movements. The digestive system can be a little wacky based on what you eat. If you eat a lot of fast food or you eat out of the home and on the go a lot, including eating a lot of processed foods, the processing in and of itself can limit the nutritional value of your food. Because of that, your digestive system may not be in the best health. When that happens, it can actually interfere with your gut’s ability to absorb and metabolize nutrients. Take a probiotic for a healthy gut every day. I love Align, which is a natural probiotic that has worked for everyone I know. But there are others, including Kefir, which looks like a liquid yogurt.

How Do Probiotics Help With Weight Loss, and How Often Should You Have Bowel Movement During the Day?

For weight loss, it’s going to work in the process of weight loss and just good health. You want your gut to be in good shape if you’re talking about weight loss. So yeah, a probiotic is definitely going to help. There are people walking around that are constipated and they don’t know. If you’ve been consuming food, you need to be pooping it out, plain and simple. At the very least, once a day, but it should be two or three times a day. Just think about it. You eat three, sometimes six times a day. Let’s say you have three meals and two snacks, that’s five times a day. A person who eats five or six times a day should at least be pooping two or three times a day. And when you get up in the morning, your body starts revving up. Your gut and digestive system starts working, so when you get up in the morning you might have to go. Before you go to bed at night you might have to go because you will have had lunch, dinner and snacks. You might also find, depending on the fiber in the foods that you eat, like if you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, you’re going to go more often than that, which is really good for you.

What Other Food Recommendations Would You Offer?

You have to cut heavily-processed foods and added sugars from your diet to the highest extent. Sugar is toxic to the body ultimately– added sugar. Even if you buy commercially-prepared juice, if you look on a container, you would expect it to not have 29 to 32 grams of sugar per serving. Just check it out: 26 grams, 29 grams. In a glass of grape juice? So in a glass of orange juice, you can only imagine what we’re talking about. In these type of instances, I really recommend making your own. You can also throw in some vegetables, whether it’s spinach or kale or whatever you like. And I would really suggest getting as many colorful vegetables in your diet as is humanly possible. It can literally save your life.

What Exactly Is the “Lose Your Final 15” Program?

It’s called “Lose Your Final 15” for a reason. It’s not just about losing the final 15 pounds that you have, it’s about losing whatever your weight is, 15 pounds at a time and losing it forever. The point of this is, I’ve helped over a half million viewers on The Dr. Oz Show lose more than five million pounds in a single season by doing something similar to this. We did it 10 pounds at a time. The reason I’m doing it now and why I did it then is because studies show that people who lose weight and keep it off the longest are those who do it in small, digestible chunks. If you do small, manageable chunks, you don’t get overwhelmed. If you have 40 or 50 pounds to lose, you’re much more likely to get it off or keep it off to lose it if you prove to yourself first that you can lose that first 15. It gives you momentum to keep going and motivation and inspiration so you don’t feel overwhelmed. When you have a big number, people just become overwhelmed and it becomes all consuming. The diet is all they can think about and then they think about deprivation: “I have to deprive myself of this and I have to deprive myself of that.” The reason I developed this plan is to give you 15 servings of food a day. You don’t have to deprive yourself of anything while still dropping pounds. The first phase of the diet is to really stoke your metabolic fire and start your body in fat-burning mode. It’s to prime your body for the change it’s about to make. The second phase is the assimilation phase. Your body is getting used to the changes that you’re making in your diet. The third phase is coast and maintain. That’s the phase you can live on for the rest of your life.


Get more details about both Dr. Ro’s book and diet plan through She has a national weight loss challenge going on currently, and you can follow her Facebook group for free coaching and more information on that.


Images via Shutterstock

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