With the summer months approaching and weather warming, weight loss may be on your mind. With every click of the remote, there are commercials advertising weight loss plans, exercise equipment, and fat burning supplements claiming to help you manage your weight. However, a recent study has shown that regular eating versus dieting may be the answer to long term weight loss and management.
Dieting Versus Regular Eating
A study at the University of Helsinki looked at the factors of weight and weight change in 4900 young men and women. The study involved the participants taking surveys at age 24 and 34, and weight measurements at the time the surveys were conducted. Study results show that most people gained weight in the decade in between. The factors that affected such weight gain include:
- dieting and irregular eating habits
- giving birth to two or more children
- regular intake of sweetened beverages
- poor contentment with life
The results show that those who were protected from weight gain and had weight maintenance or weight loss had similar characteristics such as:
- physical activity in women
- higher level of education in men
- greater weight at the start of the study in men
Therefore, the study suggests that eating healthy foods on a regular basis and avoiding dieting is the first step to long term weight management.
Seven Ways to Manage Your Weight Long Term
The findings of this recent study show that the following five ways are the cornerstone to managing your weight for the long term.
- Eating on a regular basis such as every 3 to 4 hours can help prevent overeating. You should consume a balanced diet of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables as well as adequate lean proteins each day. Such proteins may include animal products such as eggs, poultry, fish, seafood, and lean beef. However, if you are vegetarian, you can get plenty of protein from low fat dairy, soybeans and soy based products such as tofu, nuts, and seeds. Furthermore, you should limit your intake of processed products to reduce your total daily intake of sodium and sugar.
- Reducing intake of sugary beverages is the logical next step to help manage your weight. This means limiting sugary colas, juices, and pretty much any processed foods with added sugars. You can find the amount of added sugar on the nutrition label of most products. Stick to water, unsweetened tea and lemonade, or other low-calories beverages for your fluid intake. You should drink about half of your body weight in pounds in fluid each day. Therefore, if you weigh 200 lbs, then you should drink about 100 ounces of low-to no calorie fluid each day, or about 12.5 cups of fluid each day.
- Staying active is vital for managing weight. You should engage in at least 30 minutes total of moderate activity daily such as walking, gardening, light biking, or other activities that increase heart rate to a point where you can still hold a conversation, but not sing. This 30 minutes does not have to be all at once, but can be in 5 to 10 minute intervals throughout the day. Exercise is important for providing a calorie deficit to help lose weight and is also important for heart health.
- Not smoking and limiting other unhealthy lifestyle factors such as drinking alcohol is important for managing weight since these factors affect heart health and overall health status. Smoking can narrow blood vessels and increase blood pressure. It can also sap your energy since it makes it harder for your heart to get oxygen to your body’s tissues and affects lung health. Drinking alcohol is full of unnecessary calories and if consumed in excess can affect liver health. Your liver is in charge of breaking down fat and getting toxins out of the body. If your liver will rid of toxins before anything, so if you drink too much, your liver will not have much time for fat metabolism. This can lead to fat storage and weight gain, especially in the abdominal area.
- Managing stress can help you manage weight and gain a more positive perspective on your life. Relaxation breathing, yoga, or talking with a counselor can help you better manage stress and in turn lower your risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
Two other important factors that can affect weight management are:
- Sleep. Most adults are recommended to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Lack of sleep can increase risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Also, lack of sleep can make it difficult to manage stress and stick to a healthy eating and exercise plan.
- Nutrient status. Vitamin deficiencies, such as iron, vitamin D, or B12, can impact health by reducing energy. In fact, obese patients commonly have these vitamin deficiencies before weight loss intervention. You should get a lab test for these vitamins and nutrients at your annual doctor visit. Also, if you are low in such nutrients, you should start on a regular vitamin regimen. One supplement that may be helpful in getting your weight back on track is Kolonex by Vita Sciences. Kolonex is an advanced colon cleanser and detox supplement that contains psyllium husk and probiotics to help promote weight loss, less bloating, and more energy.
-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN
Johns Hopkins Medicine (September 14, 2015) “Nutritional Deficiencies Common Before Weight Loss Surgery.”
Science Daily (March 23, 2018) “Searching for long-term success in weight management? Forget dieting and eat regularly.”