This past week, I sat down with Kellie Turpin, R.D.L.D., of Conway Regional Health & Fitness Center to ask her a few questions, gain insight, and most of all, get a few tips for those of us trying to shed the excess weight. 

Kellie has been a dietician for over 22 years, with 15 of those years spent at what most know as, the "fitness center," helping the residents of Conway with their dietary needs. 

She was very gracious and kind to sit down with me, and I most certainly appreciated her time. 

I hit Kellie with an impossible first question, "If you only had one weight loss tip, what would it be?" 

She cringed. 

I admit, from a professional standpoint, it must be hard to narrow down all the information she holds into just one tip.  So I asked her to share what her top three would be.

The first tip she offered was to use common sense and avoid super low-calorie fad diets. Most of us who have spent a lot of time dieting have tried one or two or in my case, about five of these so-called "lose weight fast, guaranteed!" diets. If it’s not the cabbage soup diet, cottage cheese diet, or grapefruit diet, maybe it was a low-carb or low-fat diet. 

While we may lose weight initially with these diets, almost always, the weight comes right back, and leaves us feeling worse than before about our efforts, but more importantly, worse about ourselves. 

Second, Kellie recommended that dieters should eat thoughtfully with nutrition in mind. While this may seem like a very obvious statement coming from a dietician, most of us don’t eat thoughtfully. We find ourselves reaching for whatever is closest and easiest to prepare, which usually results in us eating processed food, or hitting the local drive-thru. 

Additionally, Kellie said, "Don’t just eat something because it’s low-calorie and stay away from boxes and packages whenever possible." 

Oh, and she also mentioned to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. 

And last but not least, and my favorite tip of all:  Write it down! 

Kellie said that studies have shown when those trying to lose weight write down what they eat, they lose twice as much weight.

Needless to say, I’ve got a new polka dot notebook and fresh pen ready to start writing down every last bite that goes into my body.  

Those are just a few of the tidbits that I was offered. I had a long list of questions for her, and I will be sharing more of those tips in the coming weeks.

As far as the LCD Weight Loss Challenge goes, we skipped weighing in this week because a lot of us (including me) were out of town. I’ll reveal the final weigh-in results in next week’s edition.

For those who are interested, Kellie leads a Weight Management Support Group that meets twice a week in the fitness center classroom. Participants in the class have lost more than 1,000 pounds and I hope to soon be adding to that number.

I’ll be making my first appearance in the group next week, and look forward to learning and having her help even further. 

For more information on the group, visit http://www.conwayregional.org/workfiles/supportgroupmay09.pdf and be sure to check out Kellie’s blog http://thefoodwhisperer-kellie.blogspot.com.

(Log Cabin staff writer Leigh Anne Shapard can be reached by e-mail at leighanne.shapard@thecabin.net or by phone at 501-505-1296.)