Saturday, August 2, 2008

Secrets of Successful Weight Loss

The following "secrets" appeared in an article in Today's Dietitian, a magazine for Registered Dietitians. The very well researched article was written by an RD, LuAnn Soliah.
The "secrets" are based on research gathered from people who had been successful at losing weight, whether with a program or on their own. BTW...if you are interested in this information, you might like to read a book by Anne Fletcher called Thin for Life. She interviewed dieters who had maintained their weight loss for several years. The information she gathered is not that different from what is presented below.

Here's the 7 "Secrets" from the Today's Dietitian article:

The Seven Secrets of Successful Weight Loss
1. The dieters consume a low-kilocalorie, low-fat diet. The participants consume 1,300 to 1,680 kilocalories per day, 25% of which are from fat.
2. The dieters have a consistent food intake from day to day, and they eat about four to five times per day.
3. The dieters consistently eat breakfast.
4. The dieters are very physically active. The average person in the database exercises for about 60 to 90 minutes per day at moderate intensity. If they choose to walk, they take about 11,000 to 12,000 steps per day, which is the equivalent of almost 6 miles.
5. The dieters frequently weigh themselves—weekly or even daily.
6. The dieters limit their television viewing to less than 10 hours per week.
7. The dieters do not allow even a small amount of weight gain to occur without corrective action. They deliberately respond to small weight gains by reducing their food intake and/or increasing their exercise level.

The results of the study seem intuitive to anyone who has ever dieted. Exericse? Duh! Of course. You cannot maintain the loss without exercise. Limit TV? Duh! Couch potatoes don't usually do really well at maintaining weight loss. Eat breakfast? Your mother was right. Consistent food intake? Oh, so important. We all know we shouldn't skip meals. We should eat when we're hungry. Low calories? Well, double duh!
The one issue that may seem strange to anyone who has studied weight management programs is that the dieters weighed themselves sometimes as often as daily. Many programs, like WW, frown on this. Body weight fluctuates daily, sometimes throughout the day, depending on how much you've eaten but mostly depending on fluid balance. We wake up in the morning depleted of food and fluid and we weigh less. We eat, store fluid in our cells and add the weight of the food we've just eaten and our body weight rises.
Women who are pre-menstrual might see a body weight increase of up to 5# without any actual changes in fat mass.
I'm not a fan of weighing because of that. I'm much more in favor of measurements-waist, thigh, hips. The problem with that is you would probably not see an increase in those with small increases in body weight.
But, truthfully, I think we who diet know when we've gained weight because we know when we have strayed enough from the regimen to make a difference. I can truly gain 5# in one weekend of eating. Some french fries, a little fried chicken (well, maybe not a little), a few Pepsis, three or four slices of pizza and one pint of ice cream and voila, I've gained weight. But anyone would expect to gain weight on that diet! No surprises there.
On the other hand, someone could gain a pound or two just eating a little bit more than usual and exercising a little bit less. To keep that kind of weight gain in check, I guess that periodic weighing is in order.
The Seven Secrets seem so obvious and so easy. So why are we fat??? Because it's not that easy. And those aren't secrets. And if they were indeed easy to follow, we wouldn't be fat.
No one has yet found the one secret and that's what I'm waiting for. The secret that will help me stick to the other seven!

No comments: