Hepker Challenge: Dietitian Draws Food Roadmap for Weight Loss Success

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We’ve been showing you what Aaron Hepker is doing in the gym to lose weight.  Now, we’re taking a look at how he’s changing his diet.

Hepker is on a mission to lose about half his body weight.

He recently visited with dietitian Carrie Leiran to makeover his eating habits. Leiran specializes in eating disorders.

“My eyes are going to be on the emotional component with eating,” she said.

Her job is to help Hepker understand what he needs to eat to fuel his body and what might cause him to overeat.

“Would you do any eating out of emotion?” Leiran asked.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” Hepker responded.

Boredom, stress and anger are some of his triggers. Leiran encouraged Hepker to start a food journal so he can log what he eats and why.

“I want you to know where all foods fit. So no matter what situation you’re thrown into, you can incorporate it,” she said.

Leiran also wants Hepker to eat throughout the day, something he isn’t accustomed to doing.  She said starting the day off with breakfast will curb cravings and emotional eating.

“By not eating breakfast and lunch, they overeat or binge eat in the evening.  They’re so hungry they can’t fight the urges, and they grab something quick,” Leiran said.

She also offered tips on portion control, mentioning that even the color of the plate you’re eating on is important.

“Red makes you want to eat more,” Leiran said.

What Hepker drinks is equally important.  He used to consume about a gallon of apple juice a day.  He now recognizes that’s the caloric equivalent of a 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew.  Leiran recommends water throughout the day and discourages artificial sweeteners.

“They increase cravings. They’ve never been shown to aid in weight loss,” she said.

Finally, Leiran reminds Hepker that this isn’t a diet.  It’s a road map for how to eat for the rest of his life.  It won’t be easy, but Leiran applauded Hepker’s commitment and his efforts to help others by sharing his story.

“I call that courageous to be able to do that,” she said.

Hepker has lost 50 pounds and more than 7 inches since he started this journey in August.

His trainer says he’s also gained strength, flexibility and endurance.

Follow Aaron Hepker and his journey on Facebook.