Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Truly successful weight loss
No matter your age, you have constantly had to endure weight loss diets, books, magazines and television programs with their own version of the “weight loss breakthrough”. The first published diet book was unleashed in 1864 (that’s 145 years ago, just in case you thought it was a typo) by a gentleman called William Banting, an English coffin maker. It was called a “Letter on Corpulence”. It was also the first best-seller diet book.
13kg lost and kept off
Despite the constant message that virtually everyone fails to lose weight once they become a bit chunky, there is a significant group of people who have lost lots of weight (average 13kg) and kept it off for over a year (and many for over five years). Here is how they did it.
Key characteristics of permanent weight loss
Successful people weighed themselves regularly to ensure they remained on-track for a healthy weight. Once their weight began to rise they would quickly make adjustments to their eating and exercise to reverse the trend. They soon learned what had a positive impact on their weight and what didn’t.
Be active each day
The most successful weight losers were also the most active. Although 30 minutes of activity each day, such as walking, helped weight loss, the most successful people were active for 60 minutes a day. This activity can be spread over the day, such as a 30 minute bike ride in the morning and 30 minutes walking the dog in the afternoon. Imagine telling people they need to be active 60 minutes a day to stay lean. You can see why TV-advertised, “Look like this 19 year old model after 5 minutes-a-day” exercise machinery seems attractive.
Eat a low fat meals & snacks
Those that were able to keep their fat intake down found it the easiest eating style to lose weight and maintain a good body weight. Of course, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, lean meats and low fat dairy foods all help keep the fat level low. Successful people still had the very occasional treat, take-away or restaurant meal, but the majority of their meals and snacks were low in fat and kilojoules.
Virtually all successful weight losers had breakfast every morning. Enjoying the first meal of the day helps people control their eating during the rest of the day.
Most successful people eat a similar style of eating each day, whether it is a weekday, a weekend, or a holiday. There was no problem going out to dinner or having a gourmet breakfast occasionally because the moment successful people had a bit of an eating splurge they adjusted their subsequent meals or activity to compensate. For example, they added an extra 30 minutes to their morning walk when they had been out to dinner the night before.
Maintain the healthy eating and active lifestyle
Once successful people had maintained a weight loss for two years or more, they found it much easier to continue their lifestyle. In other words, once a healthy lifestyle became a habit, excess kilos stayed off permanently.
What does it all mean?
For an overweight person to successfully lose weight takes a lot of bloody hard work – much too hard for all but the most determined. Hard work is what it takes to endure, manage and succeed in many aspects of life: marriage, child-raising, career, and following the Fremantle Dockers football team. Life was always meant to be a challenge.
Reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2005; 82: 222S-225S; Obesity 2007; 15: 2470-2477