Is gaining weight back after losing it inevitable? According to some experts, the answer may be yes. A study from Colorado State University Extension proposed that an estimated 50 million Americans go on a diet each year and only 5 percent manage to keep the weight off.
Researchers studying these trends, including Dr. George L. Blackburn of the Federal Trade Commission, speculate that where weight loss programs fail is the promise for quick results and failure to communicate the importance of forming long-term healthy habits such as reducing calorie intake and increasing physical activity.
Other proof that diets aren’t the answer? Research shows that Americans tend to gain between .4 and 1.8 pounds every year. While that may not sound drastic, in reality it means that a 20-year old who weighs 130 pounds might weigh 148 by the time they reach 30, and 166 pounds by age 40!
These grim figures may be tied to the fact that most people gain back two-thirds of the weight lost in their first year after a diet program and 100 percent of their weight lost in five years (according to a 1997 FTC report).
So what can we do to lose weight and, more importantly, keep it off? According to recent research we reported on earlier this week, Michaela Kiernan, PhD. and her team at Stanford University School of Medicine, focusing on weight loss instead of a lifetime of maintaining a healthy weight may be a dangerous trap.
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Dr. Oz interviewed Valerie Bertinelli on his October 22 show as she opened up about divorce, drugs, and losing weight, as well as her new cookbook, One Dish at a Time, which features healthy Italian recipes.
Bertinelli, a longtime television star, lost 40 pounds with the help of Jenny Craig, becoming their spokesperson in 2007. She wrote a book about her weight loss experience called Losing It – And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time. She tells Dr. Oz she has never kept her weight loss off for this long and that her weight gain occurred during a low point in her life in which she was “eating her misery away.”
The star answers fan questions as well. She says she stays motivated to exercise by saying mantras such as “I am healthy” and thanking God for the life she’s been blessed with as soon as she wakes up every morning. She’s asked what favorite foods she has had to cut back on, and says it’s her brother’s delicious gumbo recipe. She used to eat three bowls at a time, but now only has one cup, which is just as good. Her final question is about weight loss support systems, and she says that Jenny Craig was tremendously helpful for her, as well as her friends and family. If you don’t have these, she recommends searching people out from the gym, websites, or wherever you can.
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You know you need to lose weight, you’ve been carrying around those extra pounds longer than you care to admit. You keep telling yourself, I’m going to do something about it this weekend or the first of next month but time just keeps slipping by.
Well, I’m here to tell you, do it today! Most people think they have to do all sorts of crazy things to prepare to lose weight. This is not necessary and in some ways all that prep time is just a form of procrastination (ouch, I know, tough love).
So no more procrastination, start this very minute. It’s OK you didn’t have the healthiest breakfast or that you just polished off the leftover lasagna. Just because you had one unhealthy meal doesn’t mean the whole day, or overall effort, is ruined. Forgive yourself and focus on eating healthier for next time.
The way to lose weight is no secret, take in less calories or burn calories and doing both is even better. It’s good to keep in mind the importance of moderation and balance. It’s really easy to get all gung-ho in the beginning and cut your calories way down and exercise like a maniac. I’m sorry to have to tell you, this is not the best way to get (good) results.
Eventually you will feel deprived and increase the chance of binge eating on all your favorite evil foods. You also need to realize that drastically reducing your calories is going to cause you to lose more muscle than fat and nobody wants a jiggly body!
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So you’ve lost the weight and you’ve achieved your goal – so now what? You’ve probably spent so much time thinking about your goal that you may not have thought too much about what to do after it was met. And although it’s easy to slip back into old eating habits, it’s also easy to gain back all that weight you worked so hard to lose in the first place. To keep that from happening, you need to have a plan – a maintenance plan. But how do you know what plan is right for you?
It’s Sustainable for the Long Haul.
Any maintenance plan you decide to follow should be something you can do today, tomorrow, and every day after that. If it’s overly restrictive, requires you to eat weird foods or incorporate foods you don’t love, you probably won’t stick with it for very long. To avoid going back to a less nutritious way of eating, keep your maintenance plan balanced and realistic.
It Doesn’t Eliminate Major Food Groups.
If you discover a maintenance plan that asks you to eliminate an entire food group from your eating plan, don’t walk, run away! Any type of diet or meal plan that restricts or eliminates whole food groups is often unbalanced and can result in nutritional deficiencies if you aren’t careful. Your body simply needs a wide variety of foods to function at its best. A decent maintenance plan should allow for all foods to be incorporated in some shape or form.
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Weight Watchers is a tried and true weight loss program that has been around for over 40 years. It was recently named the number one commercial diet by U.S. News for 2011. You can’t watch TV, flip through a magazine or drive past a few billboards without seeing an ad for the program.
For those that have successfully reached their weight loss goals with Weight Watchers, there is the opportunity to earn a Lifetime Membership to the program. Although Weight Watchers offers membership options through physical meetings or online, the Lifetime Membership is only available for members that attended Weight Watchers Meetings.
The first step of earning a Lifetime Membership is to achieve a goal weight within the Weight Watchers healthy weight ranges that is at least five pounds less than your initial weight recorded from your first meeting. For your healthy weight range, you can also use a weight that is determined by your doctor. After you have maintained this weight within two pounds for six continual paid meeting weeks, you are awarded a Lifetime Membership.
You must also weigh in at least two times between your goal weigh in and your final maintenance weigh in. You will also need to be within two pounds of your goal weight at your final maintenance weigh in.
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