The battle of the bulge is one many of us are fighting – and this is the final piece in this 3-part series with respect to Weight Loss Strategies. This series is to help in making smarter choices every day, adopting healthy lifestyle changes while developing new eating habits.
Key agents in supporting our efforts is understanding: (1.) for successful, long-term weight loss, you must make permanent changes in your lifestyle and health habits; (2.) making daily healthy choices is the chief agent to success; and (3.) remaining mindful that there is no quick solution of magical potion as healthy weight loss must consist of balanced eating and being physically active.
Yes, the key actions are to be dedicated to the healthy changes (set realistic goals, healthy eating and exercising habits ); make smart, good choices (the choices you make today is the life you will lead tomorrow) and remain mindful of your commitment every step of the way (eating and making decision with intention and attention).
There are a number of fad diets, so-called miracle weight loss pills, and other gimmicks being sold and marketed to those desperate to achieve a healthy weight. There is no quick solution of magical potion. Healthy weight loss must consist of balanced eating and being physically active. Here are additional insights in this series if you are in the active phase of getting leaner – and living a healthier life.
Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know: About Weight Loss Strategies
Get our ZZZ’s
Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain by causing our hunger hormone—ghrelin—to skyrocket. One provocative study showed that a single night of poor sleep can lead us to consume an average 600 extra calories the following day!
The solution: good sleep hygiene. This refers to the calming and soothing routines such as meditation, yoga, prayer, reading, listening to music, or writing down our problems on a piece of paper and putting it in a drawer so that we can relax and drift off to sleep. For most of us, we are not like a remote control button with an off switch. We need to transition from awake to sleep.
The saying “Out of sight, out of mind” is one we need to follow when it comes to our kitchen countertops. One study looked at the homes of 200 women and found that those who had cereal on their kitchen countertops were, on average, 20 pounds heavier than those who did not. And women who kept soft drinks on their counter weighed 24 to 26 pounds more than those who did not.
One clever trick is to place fruit, which is low calorie, non-fat, high fiber, low or no cholesterol, in easy view. In that same study, the authors found that women who had a fruit bowl visible weighed approximately 13 pounds less than those who did not.
According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 48 percent of adults meet The Physical Activity Guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week (21 minutes/day). However, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that the average Facebook user spends 40 minutes a day on the social media site. While social media keeps us entertained and in touch with family and friends, it can prevent us from exercising or engaging in team sports.
Eating with intention and attention—a concept known as mindfulness—can enhance our enjoyment of food, help us better choose and consume items that are nutritious, and prevent overeating. And mindfulness experts state that eating without haste allows us to savor every bite and appreciate flavors and textures. It also helps us to fully chew food to aid with digestion and to tune into cues that we are full.
Drink plenty of water
Choosing water over a calorie-containing beverage—soda, alcohol, or sugary drink—results in fewer calories consumed. Sounds simple enough. However, drinking water has added benefits. In a study looking at 84 obese adults, half of the participants were asked to drink 500 mL of water before a meal. After 12 weeks, the group that hydrated before eating lost 2.87 pounds more than those who did not. It is likely that filling our tummies up with water provides a full feeling and makes it less likely that we will reach for a second helping. Additionally, when our bodies are dehydrated, our brain sends S.O.S. signals that we are hungry. The rationale behind this is that it allows water to enter into our system through the food we consume.
Keep a food journal
Keeping track of what we eat is one of the most effective ways to lose weight. In a study of 1,700 overweight adults, who participated in a six-month weight loss program, those who kept a daily log of what they consumed lost twice as much weight as those who did not.
Food journaling creates accountability. It is easy to lose track of the extra condiments (e.g., salad dressing, croutons, bacon bits), types of foods we eat, serving sizes, and snacking that we engage in. Keeping tab makes us more cognizant of what we consume and, too, allows us to go back and review areas that can be improved.
Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry
An empty stomach can impair our decision-making. And before we know it, we have brought home cupcakes, chips, and other not-so-healthy items that can devastate our weight loss progress. Before going to the grocery store, create a list that you adhere to and try to go after you meal, or having a nutritious snack (e.g. fruit, hummus, egg, cheese).
While the information in the series over the past 3 weeks has been focused on getting leaner – it is good for maintaining too. Following the steps in this series offers several benefits for you: lower risk of several cancers and diseases; opportunity for a leaner, stronger frame; and the chance to live a long and healthier life. Stay tuned because when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, consistency is key. In the coming weeks and months we will continue to go deeper and focus on medical truths for greater health understanding; balanced living; as well as wise preventive health and wellness measures . . . for our body, mind and spirit.
Dr. Nina Radcliff is dedicated to her profession, her patients and her community, at large. She is passionate about sharing truths for healthy, balanced living as well as wise preventive health measures. She completed medical school and residency training at UCLA and has served on the medical faculty at The University of Pennsylvania. She is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist and a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists where she serves on committees for Young Physicians and Communications. Author of more than 200 textbook chapters, research articles, medical opinions and reviews; she is often called upon by media to speak on medical, fitness, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle topics impacting our lives, today.