Extra weight is linked to several serious medical conditions. Here’s how to lose weight — and keep it off.
There is a lot of evidence that “yo-yo dieting” is not only harmful but seems to be inevitable for many folks. Is it is possible to lose weight and keep most of it off? According to new research on 3,000 participants in the National Weight Control Registry, yes, it is — but you have to follow a strategy and be honest about it.
• Eat breakfast regularly. One research group analyzed government data on 4,200 adults. They found that people who ate breakfast regularly were more likely to exercise regularly. Women who ate breakfast regularly tended to eat fewer calories overall during the day. Note: Both men and women who ate breakfast cereal had lower overall fat intake compared to those who ate other breakfast foods.
• Walk about an hour a day, or burn an equivalent amount of calories by engaging in other activities. Even 30 minutes a day can help — the Mayo Clinic reports that if you add 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine, you could burn about 150 more calories a day.
• Track what you eat in a daily diary. This will help you to be “honest” about where your calories are coming from. Count calories and fat grams or use an app to track intake. After analyzing the data on weight loss to see which factors made a difference, the National Weight Control Registry researchers said that the more days a person kept a careful record, the more weight he or she lost. The successful dieters in the NWCR averaged about 1,800 calories a day, with less than 30 percent of those calories from fats.
• Weigh yourself weekly. Some people weigh themselves daily. There isn’t a right or wrong strategy — the important part is to use the scale to both help motivate you and keep you honest.
• Limit eating out to three times a week and avoid fast food. On average, Americans dine out four times a week, according to the National Restaurant Association. Cutting down to three times or less will not only help you cut calories, it will allow you to save money. Finally, be smart about what you order. Does the restaurant serve large portions? Ask for a to-go box as soon as your meal is served and divvy up half to eat the next day.
• Splurge on desserts and other no-no foods during holidays and special occasions, but be disciplined about returning to healthful eating habits afterward. No one can be perfect about their food choices 100 percent of the time.
• Watch fewer than 10 hours a week of TV. Researchers say that people who cut their TV time in half consume 100 fewer calories a day.