Sunday, December 12, 2010
8 Tips For Losing Weight and Keeping It Off*
By Kathleen Goodwin, RD
1. Never crash diet to lose weight
When you lose weight rapidly your body is typically only losing glycogen (carbohydrate) and water weight, not fat. Your body thinks that it's starving and reduces its metabolic rate, which makes it harder for your body to burn each calorie (they burn at a slower pace than they normally would). Then when you start eating normally again, your body stores as much food as it can into your fat cells in case of another “famine.”
2. Best weight loss plan: substitute foods instead of eliminating them
Although many people feel that “diet” or “reduced fat” foods are not as good as the original, it can be a big help to buy less fatty snack foods. Try out different reduced fat brands and items and who knows, you may find something that you like even better than the original. The key is making sustainable changes - if you can't live without tortilla chips, trying to eliminate them entirely from your diet won't work. Making the change to a lower-calorie reduced fat tortilla chip can make a noticeable change in total calories consumed over time.
3. What drinks for losing weight
Cutting soda out of your diet completely can save the average person 360 calories or more each day. Even diet soda, fruit juices, and whole milk can add unnecessary calories to your daily intake. Instead, drink lots of water and switch from whole to skim or even soy milk; the little things can make a big difference.
4. Weight loss = healthy diet and moving around
Getting up, moving around, and exercising will reduce the amount of food that you will need to cut back on. There are obviously many opportunities to be athletic and active (i.e. sports teams, the gym, going for a jog, etc.) if that interests you, but these aren't the only ways to increase your activity level. You can walk to school, bike to work, walk up and down the stairs a few times before you take a shower, take an extra lap or two around the grocery store.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30-45 minutes of moderate aerobic performed 3-5 times per week in their Guidelines for Healthy Aerobic Activity, but if all you can do is walk around the block twice before you go to bed, that's a good start. Anything is better than nothing, and it's harder to be eating while you're moving around, so it may result in you eating slightly less as well as burning more calories.
The best thing about aerobic exercise is that the benefits are cumulative - you essentially gain the same health benefits from taking three ten-minute walks throughout the day as you do from taking one 30 minute walk. With this in mind, it can be much easier to break your activity goal into manageable pieces that will fit into your day.
5. Gradual changes are best for losing weight
Gradually ease into your diet if possible. Many diet programs allow you to do this. Remember that small changes are easier to stick with than drastic ones. Start by always leaving a little extra on your plate, or drinking water instead of soda. Smaller changes are also more likely to remain with you when the duration of your diet is complete. Aim for behavior-change goals that you know you will be able to maintain over years, not just weeks.
6. Don't overeat
If you're full, or even simply satisfied, stop eating.
There's no need to eat until your stomach feels like it's going to explode. Also, keep in mind that it takes a while for the nutrients in your food to enter your bloodstream, and circulate to the nerve centers in your brain that regulate appetite. Eating slowly is helpful in this regard--you give your body a chance to recognize that you've had enough to eat.
7. Try not to banish certain foods when dieting
Don't tell yourself that you can NEVER have something again because you will immediately crave it. People need to eat fats to be healthy as well, just make sure that you're eating them in moderation, and maybe try to balance out a fatty food you ate earlier in the day by choosing celery sticks over chips for your snack. Try to get yourself to think, “I know I CAN have it, but should I have it?”
8. Successful weight loss: be in it for the long term
Crash diets and unsustainable exercise routines will not keep you at your desired weight for the long term. You need to focus on realistic, achievable goals - behavior modification that you can live with for years, instead of just weeks. For an example, let's say that a hypothetical person is ten pounds overweight, but at perfect energy balance - they eat exactly as many calories as they burn every day, so their weight remains constant. If that person sacrifices one small snack that they have every day, let's say a handful of chips equaling 100 calories, over the course of a year that person will lose over ten pounds! A pound of fat on your body represents 3500 stored calories. 100 calories X 365 days in a year = 36,500 calories, or over ten pounds of fat. Small changes can make a big difference in your health.
6 Reasons Why We Don't Lose Weight*
By John Messmer, MD
Doctors hear this complaint often: “I’m dieting all the time, but I can’t lose any weight.” For many people, losing weight is a frustrating endeavor. No matter how hard they seem to be trying, nothing changes. What is going on? Identifying the problem is only part of the solution.
6 common reasons why we don’t lose weight
1. Many of our social interactions include food.
2. Restaurants portions have increased (particularly fast food).
3. We are less active than in the past.
4. We find it unacceptable to be hungry.
5. We misunderstand how weight is maintained.
6. We forget the extra food we eat every day, or we think we ate less than we did.
It’s also important to remember that when we consume fewer calories, we have a tendency to be less active, which probably stems from our biological programming to preserve body weight for survival.
Simple truths about weight loss
Many people think weight loss is like emptying a bucket with a ladle. A scoop out of the bucket today, tomorrow, next week will eventually empty the bucket. Not so with our bodies. When we decrease our food intake, our bodies try to absorb and store more calories the next time we eat in excess of what our body needs. So, even though we are cutting down most of the time, we will not lose weight if we get extra calories part of the time.
The simple rule of weight loss is that you must consistently burn off more calories than you take in. Any type of weight loss diet can work as long as calorie intake is consistently reduced, every day.
A diet that is balanced with small quantities of vegetables, fruit, grains and lean meat or fish is the healthiest. Exercise helps, but unless you are an athlete, you will have to cut calories, too. And remember, it’s OK to be hungry when losing weight. Once a goal is achieved, every day is for maintaining. If you go back to eating more and exercising less, the weight will go right back on.
Factoring exercise into your weight loss plan
You can exercise more to lose weight, but beware of this idea. Most people don’t realize how much exercise is needed to lose weight without cutting calories. Plus, exercise increases appetites. If a dieter can avoid eating any more than was consumed before the diet and can burn off an additional 500 calories every day, that person can lose a pound a week. One mile, walked or run, or five miles on a bike, burns 100 calories. If you can do five miles a day—every day—and not eat any more no matter where you are or what you are doing, you can lose a pound a week. Or, you can cut 250 calories per day and do two and a half miles to accomplish the same thing.
Everyone can lose weight. Not everyone can or should be skinny, but everyone can reach a normal, healthy weight. It requires an acceptance that we cannot eat all we want, whenever we want. We can enjoy food and the occasions in which food is served, but our food intake must be balanced with our activity to achieve and maintain a normal weight.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Successful Weight Loss: Top 10 Tips On What Works and Why*
By Kathleen Goodwin, RD
For many people weight loss is a chronic endeavor. All too often the shedding of pounds is a temporary event followed by a steady regain of lost weight. Most popular diets are unsuccessful in the long run because they fail to address the multi-faceted nature of what successful, permanent weight loss entails. Luckily, research has revealed many invaluable strategies which can help increase your odds of permanent weight loss. While no single article can possibly cover this vast subject, we have provided links to excellent weight loss programs and books which are backed by clinical research, and can significantly help you in your quest. We also encourage you to browse through our hand-picked award links to learn more about the best strategies you can incorporate for long term weight loss success.
10 Strategies for permanent weight loss
1. Exercise is essential for weight loss
It's nothing new, but exercise is probably the most important predictor of whether you will succeed at long term weight loss and weight loss maintenance. In order for exercise to be helpful in weight loss, you should strive for a minimum of five 30 minute sessions per week. The good news is that recent research has shown that three 10 minute sessions in a day are as good as one 30 minute session.
This helps many in combating the old "no time for exercise" excuse. Be certain to find something you enjoy. You'll be more apt to stick with it. Try walking with a friend, joining an intramural sports league, participating in outings with a group like The Sierra Club, or trying some classes at your local gym. Once you give exercise a chance, you will begin to enjoy its positive benefits on your psyche as well; you will literally become "hooked."
2. Weight loss and weight training
We chose to list this separately from the "exercise" category because of the significant weight loss benefits attached to weight training in and of itself.
The basic equation is this: the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you will burn. This is why world class weight lifters must eat thousands of calories a day to maintain their weight. Muscle is active tissue, fat is not. Thus, muscle "burns" a significant number of calories each day for its own maintenance.
In her book Strong Women Stay Slim, Miriam Nelson, a Tufts University researcher, showed that a group of women who followed a weight loss diet and did weight training exercises lost 44% more fat than those who only followed the diet.
While aerobic activity can help burn calories, muscle's where it's at when it comes to giving your metabolism a significant daily boost even at rest.
3. Keep a diary for triggers that hinder weight loss
Keeping a food diary can be a huge asset in successful weight loss. Devote some time each day to record what you have eaten and how much, your hunger level prior to eating, and any feelings or emotions present at the time. A food diary can provide a large amount of self-awareness. It can identify emotions and behaviors that trigger overeating, foster greater awareness of portion sizes, and help you discover your personal food triggers. Study any patterns that emerge from your food diary and identify where you may be able to make more healthful changes. A food diary provides an added benefit of keeping you focused on and committed to your goals. Start keeping a food diary today by printing our food diary.
4. Stay focused on being healthy, not on becoming thin
Many people become more successful at long term weight loss when their motivation changes from wanting to be thinner to wanting to be healthier. Change your mind set to think about selecting foods that will help your body's health rather than worrying about foods that will affect your body's weight. The Food Pyramid offers a basic outline of the types and amounts of food you should eat each day to give your body the nutrients it needs for optimal health.
5. Find out why you overeat
All too often overeating is triggered by stress, boredom, loneliness, anger, depression and other emotions. Learning to deal with emotions without food is a significant skill that will greatly serve long term weight control. The Solution, a book and national program developed by Laurel Mellin, RD, helps participants to identify their eating triggers and respond to them without food. A research study showed that the participants in this program demonstrated a better rate of long term weight loss maintenance than those who simply diet and/or exercise and don't address behavioral and emotional issues. Chronic over-eaters and "emotional eaters" can be significantly helped by learning new behavioral skills such as those Mellin presents. You can also seek help with behavioral and emotional eating issues from a licensed counselor or psychologist in your area.
6. Weight loss support: join a weight management group
A big key in long term weight control comes from receiving encouragement and support from others. You can check to see if groups such as Jenny Craig offer programs and resources in your areas. You may also wish to check with your local hospital to see if their registered dietitian conducts group weight loss programs.
7. Weight loss and portion control
With the advent of "super-size" meals and increasingly huge portions at restaurants, our concept of normal serving sizes is a distant memory. Be mindful of the amounts of food you consume at a sitting. When necessary, divide your food in half and ask for a take home bag. It is all too easy to be a "plate cleaner" even when served enormous portions. Learn to pay attention to your hunger level and stop eating when you feel comfortably full, not stuffed.
8: Lose weight slowly with small changes
Try to remember that "losing 15 pounds in two weeks" is nothing to celebrate. It is important to realize that the more quickly weight is lost, the more likely the loss is coming from water and muscle, not fat. Since muscle tissue is critical in keeping our metabolism elevated, losing it actually leads to a decrease in the amount of calories we can each day without gaining weight. Fat loss is best achieved when weight is lost slowly. Strive for a weight loss of no more than 1-2 pounds per week. One pound of weight is equivalent to 3500 calories. By making small changes like eliminating 250 calories a day from food and expending 250 calories a day from exercise, you can lose one pound (of mostly fat) per week. You can calculate how much time you need to exercise to burn 250 calories by clicking here. You can calculate your caloric needs by clicking here, and then subtract 250 from that number.
9. Eating slowly can lead to weight loss
Did you ever notice that thin people take an awfully long time to eat their food? Eating slowly is one method that can help take off pounds. That's because from the time you begin eating it takes the brain 20 minutes to start signaling feelings of fullness. Fast eaters often eat beyond their true level of fullness before the 20 minute signal has had a chance to set in. The amount of calories consumed before you begin to feel full can vary significantly depending on how quickly you eat. So slow down, take smaller bites and enjoy and savor every tasty morsel.
10. Weight loss through eating less fat - but do it wisely
We've known for some time that limiting high fat foods in the diet can be helpful with weight loss. That's because fats pack in 9 calories per gram compared to only 4 calories per gram from proteins or carbohydrates. To many, the message to limit fats implied an endorsement to eat unlimited amounts of fat-free products. Just to clarify, fat-free foods have calories too. In some cases fat-free foods have as many calories as their fat laden counterparts. If you eat more calories than your body uses, you will gain weight. Eating less fat will help you to lose weight. Eating less fat and replacing it with excessive amounts of fat-free products will not.
Before beginning any diet or fitness program, consult your physician.