Latest scientific research is beginning to show that making small changes to your lifestyle and diet may be more effective, both in the short and long term, than the ‘all or nothing’ approach to weight loss that has preoccupied so many of us for so long this is why Moose and Doc have developed these 5 easy weight loss tips. Healthy weight loss, that is sustainable, is what we are aiming for.
The traditional trend for obesity intervention has been to implement intensive behavioural changes to lose large amounts of weight. However, the problem with this is that regaining the weight after the program is a very common issue plus the drop out rate is very high because this level of change can be very challenging. Intensive life style changes are extremely hard to maintain and are often accompanied by a sense of deprivation. Taking a very low-fat diet or an extreme cut in caloric intake can also lead to fatigue.
One scientific study by Lutes (et al.), published in the ‘Annals of behavioural Medicine’ suggests that small behavioral changes are just as likely to produce initial weight loss and achieve long lasting results. Lutes examined 59 overweight or obese sedentary adults.
The study participants were put into 3 groups:-
- The ASPIRE group: This group chose their own changes in diet and physical activity.
- A standard educationally-based treatment group. This group adopted the traditional low-calorie diets and physical activity weight-loss programs
- Wait list control group.
The groups were involved in exactly the same resistance and aerobic exercise programs. Interestingly, the ASPIRE group actually lost significantly more than the other two groups by making very small changes to their food choices or physical activity per week. Overall this group lost:-
- Over twice as much fat loss around their waist lines (belly fat)
- 2.5 inches extra from their waist measurements
- 4 times more weight over a 4 month period
- Furthermore, this led to long-term weight loss after active treatment had finished.
Weight Loss Tips: #1
Turn off that TV … Seriously turn it off!
Watching too much television is associated with weight gain and also a tendency to regain weight after successfully losing it. The average American watches around 28 hours of television per week. With the advent of computers, games consoles and general television viewing a lot of leisure time for the average person is sedentary.
The link between the amount of hours spent watching TV and weight gain has been well known for over 25 years now. In a study from Harvard by Dietz back in 1985 on children and adolescents it was shown that significant associations related to the amount of time spent watching television and the prevalence of obesity were observed.
The same holds true for adults. There appears to be a direct correlation between the amount of time that people spend watching TV (or engaging in any other sedentary activitiy) and the amount of body fat. Even more disturbing, the Nurse’s Health Study by Hi (et.al) involving 50,000 women over the course of 6 years found that for every 2 hours spent watching TV they had an increased risk of 23% of becoming obese and a 14% higher risk of type diabetes.
The reasons for the gain in body weight are not entirely clear but the advertising industry has a lot to answer for. The power of suggestion on the mind is a very potent tool, and considering that $1.8 billion is spent annually on marketing foods and beverages this must affect our food choices. Often the advertising on TV is for unhealthy foods, soft drinks and food chains too. Combine with this the tendency to snack on junk food, such as potato chips and ice cream, in front of the TV and you have a recipe for disaster.
Weight Loss Tips: #2
Cut out high-fat foods … but gradually.
The first step in cutting out high fat or high sugar foods is to keep a food diary and make sure that you are logging every single thing that you eat and drink. This will enable you to identify on a weekly basis those really high calorie snacks and drinks. Keeping a food journal, has been proven in a scientific study by the Center for Health Research and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, to help women lose up to twice as much weight. To get started and find out some of the best food journal apps online.
Right, so you have started your food diary and you are religiously logging everything that you eat and drink. Next, do a little research and find out how much sugar, fat and calories are in some of those tempting treats that you so enjoy. Here are a few of our favourite foods and drinks that help pile on the pounds:-
The final stage in the process is to cut out one treat per week. So if you have a sweet tooth, keep the donuts or cupcakes but stop the two portions of french fries, for example. The whole aim is not to feel that you are depriving yourself of all the foods that you love, but to very gradually cut out unhealthy choices such as foods high in refined carbohydrates, saturated fat and sugar.
You can replace the food that you have cut out with a healthy snack such as fresh fruit or vegetables. When you have adjusted to the first cut, choose a second food to eliminate, replace fizzy drinks with water, for example. You can always keep a couple of favourite treats as your diet transforms into a much healthier one. In a few weeks, you will hopefully, be encourage by realising that just a few small changes can help you lose pounds.
Weight Loss Tips: #3
Use Social Media and E-mail Newsletters for weight loss Support
Weight Loss Tips: #4
Add a few minutes of Gentle Exercise per day
For all those who have signed up to a fancy gym with a personal trainer in January, only to have given up by March, here is a different approach. Many people have busy lifestyles and taking the time out of your day to go and sweat at the gym is not always that appealing. Furthermore, some health professionals suggest that a gentler approach is more beneficial and more likely to lead to long term changes. The fact is physical exercise does lead to fat burning.
Gretchen Reynolds, a health writer for the New York Times for over 25 years, suggests in her recent book, that exercise does not have to be rigorous or hard work. Resistance training with light weight lifting is very effective. Furthermore, twenty minutes a day is all that is needed to improve health, she suggests that:-
‘Humans … are born to stroll’
Weight Loss Tips: #5
Learn Mindful Eating
One of the keys to changing eating habits is to become mindful before, during and after eating. But what exactly does this mean?
Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, defined mindfulness as:-
…paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the
present moment and non-judgmentally.
All of the above weight loss techniques can help you to become more aware of your own eating habits and choices and more importantly, what is behind these, guiding them. On an eating mindfulness program you will be taught to really think about and savour your food and finally put an end to all that emotionally charged, distracted, mindless eating.
In a pilot study by Dalen (et al.) entitled Mindful Eating and Living (MEAL) evidence showed that adopting a mindful approach to eating resulted in significant weight loss and changes in eating behaviour and psychological distress in the obese participants. The obese group undertook a two hour group class for six weeks that taught general mindfulness techniques, mindful eating, meditation and group work.
Questions and Answers
I have to eat out a lot because of work and travelling. How do I cut the calories?
Eating out regularly is not unusual at all, in fact Americans on average, dine out at least 4 times a week and spend a staggering $1 billion dollars a day on dining out. However, the downside of this is regularly eating out at restaurants can lead to a slim wallet and a fat waist line.
I already exercise regularly, I jog for about 40 minutes three times a week. What else can I do?
Jogging comes under the category of cardio training, because it is done for a prolonged period and increases your heart rate. All aerobic or cardio exercise is beneficial to many aspects of health but may not make a significant difference to weight loss.
The most important point to remember is that your diet is the most influential factor in weight loss programs. The fastest path to success is counting calories and eating a well balanced healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables and lean meats.
However, numerous studies have shown that weight training or strength training is more effective than cardio training for weight loss. A study by fitness guru, Alwyn Cosgrove, named the ‘Hierarchy of Weight Loss‘ showed that adding strength training to a diet program significantly increased weight loss and decreased muscle loss.
So find a weight training or strength training program and tone up your new shape and watch that weight drop off.
I have tried everything to lose weight but have failed to get anywhere near a healthy weight. I’m thinking of weight loss surgery as a last resort. What do you think Doc?
My physician has diagnosed an underactive thyroid. Is that why I have gained weight?
The thyroid gland is responsible for breaking down food and converting it to energy. In other words the thyroid is vital in regulating your metabolism. The thyroid gland is controlled by the pituitary and hypothalamus gland. Thyroid hormones are released by the thyroid gland. If you have thyroid problems then you may lose (overactive thyroid) or gain(uderactive thyroid) weight.
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- Center for Health Research (2008) CHR Study Finds Keeping Food Diaries Doubles Weight Loss (Retrieved December 17th 2015)
- Dietz WH, Gortmaker SL. (1985) Do we fatten our children at the television set? Obesity and television viewing in children and adolescents.. Pediatrics. 1985 May;75(5):807-12. (Retrieved December 15th 2015)
- Dalen J, Smith BW, Shelley BM, Sloan AL, Leahigh L, Begay D. (2010) Pilot study: Mindful Eating and Living (MEAL): weight, eating behavior, and psychological outcomes associated with a mindfulness-based intervention for people with obesity. Complement Ther Med. 2010 Dec;18(6):260-4. (Retrieved December 17th 2015)
- Hu FB, Li TY, Colditz GA, Willett WC, Manson JE. (2003) Television watching and other sedentary behaviors in relation to risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus in women. JAMA. 2003 Apr 9;289(14):1785-91. (Retrieved December 15th 2015)
- Hwang KO, Ottenbacher AJ Green AP, Cannon-Diehl R (et.al) (2010) Social support in an Internet weight loss community. Int J Med Inform. 2010 Jan; 79(1): 5–13. (Retrieved December 17th 2015)
- Lutes LD, Winett RA, Barger SD, Wojcik JR, Herbert WG, Nickols-Richardson SM, Anderson ES. (2008) Small changes in nutrition and physical activity promote weight loss and maintenance: 3-month evidence from the ASPIRE randomized trial.. Ann Behav Med. 2008 Jun;35(3):351-7 (Retrieved December 15th 2015)
- Nyer PU, Dellande S. (2010).Public commitment as a motivator for weight loss. Psychology & Marketing: Volume 27, Issue 1, pages 1–12, January 2010 (Retrieved October 9th 2015)
- Reynolds, Gretchen (2012)The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can: Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer. Hudson Street Press.