Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Overweight and Weight Loss Maintenance

For many people, weight loss is a chronic battle. Popular diets are often unsuccessful because they cannot be followed permanently. There is no magic diet to make you instantly shed pounds, but some good tips for steady, long-term weight loss are listed below.

  1. Portions matter: Weight loss and weight maintenance are all about balance and moderation. Try using smaller plates and bowls to help decrease your portion size (Pedersen, Kang, and Kline 2007). Another tip is to wait at least 10 minutes after you finish eating before going back for seconds.
  2. Be active: Exercising and staying active will help increase your metabolism throughout the day.
  3. Everyone’s different: In order for you to maintain long term weight loss, you must be familiar with your body and eating habits. Identify which situations or foods are particularly tempting for you and try to modify them, without denying yourself completely.
  4. Make half your plate fruits and veggies: Following the MyPlate guideline is a great way to reduce your fat and calories while increasing the nutrient density of your meals. Fruits and vegetables have lots of fiber and water to help you stay satisfied.
  5. Do you eat when you're not hungry? At times this is ok, but if you do it too often, it can contribute to weight gain. Keep a log for a few days. Record your level of hunger and satiety before and after each time you eat. Add notes about your mood. Being aware of when boredom, frustration, stress, or sadness contributes to overeating is the first step to gaining control.
  6. Weigh yourself regularly: Studies show that regular self-weighing (once/week) is associated with a decreased body weight and weight maintenance (Van Wormer et al. 2009).
  7. Don’t skip meals: Distribute the calories you consume over the entire day, with the consumption of 4 to 5 meals/snacks per day including breakfast. Consumption of greater energy intake earlier in the day may help you control your hunger so that you eat less over the course of the day (de Castro 2004).
  8. Surround yourself with support: Talk to your family, friends, and co-workers and tell them specific ways they can help. For instance, by not offering you second helpings, or by providing salad and fruit options along with or instead of the pizza and cake at parties.
  9. Set goals to stay motivated: After you’ve lost weight and the compliments end, it may feel like there is no incentive to continue your good habits. The key is to find ways to make staying at your goal weight as rewarding as getting to your goal weight. Sign up for a community walk. Explore new activities you might enjoy, such as gardening or hiking, tennis or water aerobics, kayaking or biking—or simply add a relaxing after-dinner walk to your family’s evening routine. Focus on the quality of your diet, and reward yourself with non-food rewards when you achieve your weight maintenance goals.
For more information: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fs226

Source: Anne Mathews, assistant professor; Lauren Foster, BS; and Wendy Dahl, assistant professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

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