Long Term Weight Loss: How Do We Achieve It? _

Dieting alone seems to have a pretty dismal outlook for long term weight control. But, we have much to learn from the thousands of people enrolled in the "National Weight Control Registry". Dieting alone seems to have a pretty dismal outlook for long term weight control. But, we have much to learn from the thousands of people enrolled in the "National Weight Control Registry". The average registrant in this program has lost 60 pounds and kept it off for five years. Not surprisingly, very few of the participants report following a low-carb or Atkins style diet as their method of achieving long-term weight loss. Actually, the vast majority report the following as their keys to living a healthy lifestyle, and maintaining lost weight: they eat on average 24% of their calories from fat, they expend about 2800 calories weekly in exercise, they don’t skip breakfast, and most continuously monitor their eating behavior, often through using a food diary. Most of the methods the participants followed have been well established for decades as the best ways to lose weight and keep it off. But, in America’s constant search for an easy, magic bullet, we continue to defy common sense and research and get lured right into the next weight loss craze.What’s Left to Eat?Big distinctions need to be made between healthy and unhealthy foods. No one will argue with Dr. Atkins’ advice to limit sugary processed foods, like cakes, cookies, ice cream, candies, doughnuts, chips, crackers, French fries, and processed breads and flours. There is little in these foods that will serve your chances at optimal health and weight control. However – when a plan starts telling you to limit foods that have been proven to be healthy, (like fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains) buyer beware. Just like there is a distinction between "good carbs" and "bad carbs", fats in the diet can be "good" or "bad" as well. Some fats have been proven again and again to be detrimental to your health – these include butter, cream, animal fats, high fat dairy products, margarines that contain "hydrogenated" oils, and fatty red meats. On the other hand, some fats, like olive oil, canola oil, oils in fish, and nuts and seeds, can be very good for you. America’s mindset needs to switch from following restrictive fads to beginning to follow a diet that is best for health. Often when we see a switch of mindset to choosing foods for health, rather than thinness, weight loss generally follows. This is especially true when regular exercise, an individualized eating plan, and behavior modification strategies are thrown into the mix. Common sense strategies, yes, but they are the only ones proven to work long-term. For more advice on how to choose methods that will help your chances at long-term weight control.

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