Learning to maintain lost weight is more important than losing it

Healthy living tips for maintaining lost weight

healthy living tips

Photocred: bodysculptor

7 steps to help maintain weight loss for life

As a registered dietitian, many of my appointments with patients begin with harrowing tales of weight-loss programs from the past. Patients discuss details about why one worked over another and how much weight was lost in each.

Unfortunately, the majority of these attempts all end on the same note: gaining all, or more, of the weight back. Thousands of references are available to consumers on how to lose weight. However, very few sources identify, perhaps, the most important piece of the puzzle — how to keep the weight off. Here are some tips to help you manage the weight you worked so hard to lose.

1. Increase the exercise and decrease the calories

Imagine picking up two 10-pound weights and taking a 1-mile walk. It would be challenging to accomplish. Your body would have to work harder to compensate for the extra weight. Now drop the weights. Take the same walk. That exercise should be much easier. Your body is now more efficient, and the calories you’ll burn will go down. That’s exactly what happens when you lose 20 pounds.

To keep the weight off, you need to challenge your body by decreasing calories even further in some cases (because your body is not working as hard to get you from point A to point B anymore) and stepping it up on the exercise front. In fact, a 2014 study that followed individuals who lost weight and tracked their maintenance success, found those who maintained the most weight loss reported high levels of physical activity as well as a diet that was consistently low in calories and fat.

2. Weigh yourself often

The same study mentioned above also found individuals who successfully maintained their weight weighed themselves several times a week. A 2015 study found weighing in daily was equally effective, especially in men. The scale may be a good monitor of weight that may be creeping in.

Though if you find that you’re obsessing over the number on the scale, you may want to weigh yourself just once a week.

3. Consider a weight-loss program with a maintenance component

There are various methods of weight loss and as many experts to help see you through it. One study, which followed patients for 56 weeks after successful weight loss, found individuals who engaged in group visits as well as telephonic coaching maintained more weight loss than those who had no intervention at all. The study concluded having a maintenance routine in commercial and clinical settings could set the stage for better success at keeping weight off.

The take away? After you lose the weight, find a coach or a dietitian who can keep track of your maintenance habits for at least two years (the time period that predicts even further long-term success).

4. Work on your maintenance skills before losing weight

One study showed if you focus on maintenance behaviors first you’ll be more successful in the end. The study found women who engaged in eight weeks of maintenance skills regained less weight than women who did not focus on these behaviors beforehand. In the group of women who focused on maintenance first, they learned about energy-balance principles including: controlling portions without feeling deprived or dissatisfied, the importance of being physically active, weighing in daily to monitor fluctuations in weight, learning how to make small and easy adjustments to lifestyle habits, and navigating inevitable disruptions with confidence.

5. Up the ante

Research out of Duke found when participants were offered cash rewards for weight loss and maintenance, they were more successful with their weight-loss programs. The bottom line? Engage in workplace weight-loss programs that provide a monetary benefit for weight loss or structure a program yourself.

For every 10 pounds of weight loss, you can set aside a reward that is meaningful to you. For every three months of maintenance, set even bigger rewards such as a trip or a new wardrobe. Additionally, including family members and friends who are willing to contribute to the weight-loss pot (tell them it’s an investment in your health) may increase motivation even further.

6. Get a social communication plan in place

If you’ve ever lost weight, you know not everyone is happy to hear about your success. A 2017 study referred to negative behavior by others as you find weight-loss bliss as “lean stigma.” Researchers also found certain communication techniques could help in maintaining weight loss without compromising relationships. These included saving a “cheat night” for dinner out with friends, accepting unhealthy food options from friends but not eating them, or eating very small portions of unhealthy foods at family gatherings.

7. Don’t give up

This is hard stuff. Don’t throw in the towel if you gain back your weight. Using the “I’m a failure” approach may have you reverting back to bad habits, putting weight on and never getting back on track. Stay on the weight-loss wagon. Don’t lose sight of the hard work you’ve already put in.

Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, R.D., is the manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, and the author of “Skinny Liver.” Follow her on Twitter @KristinKirkpat. For more diet and fitness advice, sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter.

Reference for the above articles is: TODAY

Short term diet change will lead to more life for your on earth

A tiny change in a healthy diet can lead to an increased in lifespan even for old aged people

Better Diet, Longer Life?

A large study suggests you’re never too old to benefit from a commitment to eating healthier

healthy living tips

photocred: weightlossforall.com

 

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 12, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Middle-aged and older adults who start eating better also tend to live longer, a large new study shows.

The findings, reported in the July 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, might not sound surprising. Health experts said they basically reinforce messages people have been hearing for years.

But the study is the first to show that sustained diet changes — even later in life — might extend people’s lives, the researchers said.

“A main take-home message is that it’s never too late to improve diet quality,” said lead researcher Mercedes Sotos-Prieto, a visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston.

“Most participants in our study were 60 years or older,” she noted.

The findings are based on nearly 74,000 U.S. health professionals who were part of two long-running studies that began in the 1970s and 1980s.

Between 1998 and 2010, almost 10,000 of those study participants died. Sotos-Prieto and her team looked at how people’s risk of early death related to any diet changes they’d made in the previous 12 years (1986 to 1998).

It turned out that people who had changed for the better — adding more fruits and vegetables and whole grains, for example — had a lower risk of premature death than those whose diets stayed the same.

In contrast, people who let their eating habits slide faced a higher risk of dying during the study period — 6 percent to 12 percent higher — compared to stable eaters, the findings showed.

How much of a difference did diet improvements make?

It varied a bit based on the measure of diet quality. The researchers used three scoring systems: the Alternate Healthy Eating Index; the Alternate Mediterranean Diet score; and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet score.

The scoring systems differ somewhat, but all give more points to foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy and sources of “good” fats, such as olive oil and nuts. Processed foods, sweets, red meat and butter, meanwhile, get lower ratings.

Overall, the study found, a 20-percentile improvement in diet quality was linked to an 8 percent to 17 percent decrease in the risk of early death from any cause. There was a similar dip in the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke, specifically.

That 20-percentile shift is a fairly minor change, according to Sotos-Prieto.

Swapping out one daily serving of red meat for one serving of legumes or nuts, for example, would do the trick, she said.

“Our results underscore the concept that modest improvements in diet quality over time could meaningfully influence mortality risk,” Sotos-Prieto said.

Alice Lichtenstein is a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association and a professor of nutrition science at Tufts University, in Boston.

“This study reinforces what we’ve been saying for a long time,” she said.

Ideally, healthy eating is a lifelong habit. But you’re never “too old” to make changes for the better, Lichtenstein noted.

“The key is to make changes that you can stick with for the rest of your life,” she stressed.

There are no magic-bullet foods or nutrients, Lichtenstein added. Instead, the new study “validates” the concept that it’s overall diet that matters, she explained.

Connie Diekman, a registered dietitian, agreed. A general guide, she said, is to start eating more plant foods.

When people do eat meat, Diekman suggested choosing leaner cuts.

“Shifting one meal from meat and potatoes to sauteed veggies, quinoa and a topping of grilled chicken or lean flank steak would be one way to move to a healthier eating pattern,” said Diekman, head of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis.

The good news, according to Lichtenstein, is that it is getting easier to eat healthfully. She said Americans generally have more access to a variety of whole grains and fruits and vegetables — fresh or frozen, which can be more economical.

Reference for the above story is Healthday