The latest research confirms that only 5 to 10 percent of all dieters are able to lose weight and keep it off. Most dieters are weary of the weight loss battles. Having invested in various “scientific” theories, embraced the advice of the latest diet guru, enrolled in weight loss groups, bought costly food plans and numerous diet books, fill-you-up powders and pills, the pounds keep coming back. Why?
New scientific data documents that our own body actually sabotages any diet effort because it is programmed to regain the weight (and fat) we lose. Physiologically the body actually tries to undo what we are so desperately struggling to achieve, shedding health-threatening extra pounds, often the cause leading to diabetes and heart disease. Regaining fat cells is a natural function of our body’s mechanism.
When we lose pounds and our body needs less calories, its desire for more food triggers a coordinated action involving hormones, the brain, and various metabolic processes to replace what was lost. Our will power to commence and stick to a diet competes with our body’s impulse to counter this decision. No wonder most dieters complain that it is next to impossible to keep the weight off.
“People struggle to shed ten pounds. What they are not aware of that all of a sudden these various systems in their bodies are activated not only to stop them from loosing but to actually get all the fat cells back,” says Dr. Ken Fujioka, Medical Director for the Scripps Clinic Center for Weight Management. “Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to fight the natural forces defending body fat, but the battle can be won.”
So what’s the solution? The National Weight Control Registry has collected data from more than 7,000 people on how to lose and maintain their weight successfully.
- Regular physical activity daily seems to be the most important component. Exercise, even just walking an hour a day, affects the body’s weight regulating system, not just by burning calories but by making the body function properly. Our bodies were never meant to be TV watching, snack consuming couch potatoes.
- Make fundamental changes in eating habits: Watch what you eat and keep track of it daily. Many people who successfully lose weight use charts or calorie counters, so that they don’t take in more than they use. Women should consume between 1,200 and 1,700 calories a day, men between 1,800 to 2,200.
- Avoid carbohydrates, sugar and high-fat foods. Instead, choose to eat foods with high water or fibrous content that help stabilize blood sugar and thus curb the brain signals that promote eating and slow down the absorption of carbs.
- Make up your mind not to gain pounds back. Most agree that it is hardest the first two years. Thereafter, people seem to embrace their new lifestyles and food habits, even enjoy it.
- Support groups make losing and maintaining a great deal easier. Support helps you keep track, and not let weight gain get out of hand. Know what your right weight should be, then set limits within a five-pound range.
- Get on the scale regularly, at least weekly. When you approach your upper limit, reduce until you’re back in your safety zone.
- Set achievable goals. Get professional help if needed. When reaching your objective, stick to your plan to make the victory a lasting benefit.
Jacqueline Brandwynne has worked in the health and beauty industry for more than 25 years and is creator of the Very Private line of products. Visit her at www.veryprivate.com.
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