Weight Loss Quick Fix or Quick Failure?
If you are like many Americans, you may have a desire to lose weight. And while a national market research group suggests that fewer people are dieting than in years past, starting a new weight loss diet in the New Year is something of a tradition in the United States. So, what are people doing to “try to lose weight?”
2015 brought its share of popular books and programs, and 2016 is sure to bring more. While some diets are healthy and balanced, many offer quick fixes in the way of “cutting-edge” solutions for effortless weight loss and new ways to beat the challenge of lifestyle change. Unfortunately, they don’t always offer the best long-term outcomes. And let’s face it – losing weight is tough.
Weight Loss Quick Fixes that Fail
After the first two weeks on a new “diet”, maybe you’ve lost some weight and you’re feeling pretty good. You’re optimistic about continued weight loss. A month into it, however, you are finding it more difficult to stick to the plan, and you notice the number on the scale creeping upward. Why? It’s simple and not so simple all at the same time. Many weight loss diets are restrictive and don’t offer consumers strategies for changing habits and behaviors. After a period of time, dieters relapse into their old habits because they lose motivation, or the plan isn’t realistic to maintain. Diets may help you lose weight in the short-term, but they don’t teach long-term lifestyle change. And, losing weight is tough.
When Food is the “Fix”
Almost everyone overeats on occasion. For some, however, overeating may be a regular occurrence in attempts to alleviate distress and cope with life’s challenges. While this may provide temporary comfort and gratification, it often results in greater distress. Distress can’t be alleviated with food. If this is a concern, it’s important to learn new ways to manage stress. Focus on the positives and manage expectations.
Five Weight Loss Fixes that Work
Successful weight management depends on you, not a particular product or program.
Here are five dietary fixes that do have the potential to produce positive results. They may not be “quick” in producing weight loss, but they are quick in being do-able and realistic changes that can be maintained over time. If you have a goal of weight loss or health improvement, consider a few of the strategies listed here. If you’re willing to make a “fix”, try it for one month and see what happens next. Or, define your own healthy fix and give it a try.
1. Eat. Overly restricting calories is a surefire way to stall weight loss efforts. If you have a desire to lose weight, a consistent and regular pattern of eating is essential – three meals per day, three meals and one or two snacks, six small meals, etc. Choose a pattern that works for you and your lifestyle while making it regular and consistent.
2. Eat breakfast each morning. Choose something with at least eight grams of fiber, and 15 grams of protein. A thoughtful and healthy start to each day encourages healthy choices all day long.
3. Fill up on dietary fiber. Research shows that dieters who focus on eating at least 30 grams of dietary fiber per day are more successful in achieving weight loss goals. If you eat at least eight grams as part of breakfast, you’re almost a third of the way there. And, make sure to choose high fiber snacks with both soluble (ex. grains, fruits, vegetables, chia seed) and insoluble fibers (ex. whole-wheat, popcorn, nuts, oat bran flaxseed) for optimal health benefits.
4. Choose low sugar and high fiber snacks. It is recommended that adults consume no more than 12 teaspoons of added sugar per day. This is equal to about 48 grams. Considering a typical 12-ounce soda or other sweetened beverage contains about ten teaspoons of added sugar, this can quickly add up. Choose a high fiber snack (contains at least five grams of dietary fiber) with no more than ten grams of sugar. For example, Fiber d’Lish bars from NuGo Nutrition, with no added sugar and 12g of dietary fiber can make the perfect snack
5. Swap out sweet drinks for water or club soda. Same as above. Why waste ten out of twelve teaspoons of added sugar on a sugary drink?
Anne Marie Kuchera, MS, MA, RD, LPC is a registered dietitian, and both a licensed nutritionist and licensed professional counselor. She manages community-based obesity prevention and preventive health and wellness initiatives through Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.