How You Can Power Through Summer to Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals
The fact is, creeping weight gain is part and parcel of aging for many people. Loss of muscle mass, lack of activity, hormonal changes, stress and tempting food that is readily available — all of these things contribute to our bulging waistlines. Clearly the challenge to lose weight and maintain that loss seems insurmountable to many people. But the rewards are big, and go way beyond fitting into smaller clothes. Obesity is associated with many diseases of aging including heart attacks, stroke, various cancers, arthritis and diabetes.
Weight loss isn’t something you accomplish on a whim. A New Year’s resolution filled with good intentions is not enough. You need to arm yourself with facts and gather as many proven ideas as possible about what you will have to do to reach your goals.
What do we know about what really works? Since 1994, the National Weight Control Registry has been investigating the habits of over 5,000 successful “losers”— people who lost at least 30 pounds and have kept it off for at least one year.
Here’s some of what they know so far about the habits that foster success:
- 55% of participants used weight loss programs successfully, and 45% lost weight on their own.
- 98% of participants report that they modified their food intake in some way to lose weight. Most report following a low-calorie, low-fat diet consistently.
- 94% increased their physical activity, with the most frequently reported form of activity being walking.
- 78% eat breakfast every day.
- 75% weigh themselves at least once a week.
- 62% watch less than 10 hours of television a week.
- 90% exercise daily for an average of one hour.
As you can see, people who are successful with weight loss eat less and move more — a lot more than most Americans. But how each of them actually accomplished these behaviors is highly diverse. And every person has to find their own personal strategy.
In the past, we’ve reported on a number of studies that offer additional tools for your weight loss toolbox. Here are some ideas:
1. Up the ante on your exercise routine.
One study attempted to determine just how much exercise it takes to lose weight. Women who increased their activity level by 39 minutes per day, regardless of how much they were exercising before, lost 10% of their weight and kept it off for two years. It’s important to realize that if you are already exercising and you’re not losing, you’ll need to do more, even though others may get by with less than you.
You should do both aerobic and strength training activities. Losing muscle mass when cutting calories is one of the reasons people yo-yo. The more muscle they lose, the slower their metabolism gets, the less they can eat without packing on pounds. When considering exercise, keep these tips in mind:
- Write it down. The simplest of journals can help keep you honest and motivated.
- Find at least one, if not several, people to exercise with.
- Find activities you love. If you hate jogging, you simply won’t do it for long.
- Vary your activities. Doing the same thing over and over not only gets boring for your brain, it gets too easy for your body and you’ll be spending the same amount of time and getting less out of it.
- Invest in appropriate gear like supportive athletic shoes, winter-appropriate jackets and exercise pants. There is great high tech stuff out there to help keep you comfortable and looking great, too.
- Use music if you can. It lifts your spirit and makes exercise more fun and effective.
2. Eat flavorful food.
Another study showed that eating highly seasoned foods can help you feel fuller and more satisfied sooner. Study participants who used flavor crystals on their food lost 30 pounds in six months. Those who did not use these flavor enhancers lost just two pounds. Flavors ranged from savory to sweet.
3. Take your vitamins.
Researchers showed that you can reduce appetite and lower body weight by taking a potent multivitamin. Two studies found that multivitamin users have a lower body weight, fat mass and BMI, compared to non-users. Researchers also found that female multivitamin users experience the added benefit of reduced hunger levels.
4. Start your day with protein.
Eggs helped men and women in one study lose more weight — 65% more — than those who ate bagels for breakfast, and they reported higher energy levels.
5. Take advantage of scientifically-proven supplements.
We reported on supplements that science has shown can give you the edge you need to accomplish your goals. Rather than trying the supplements that get hyped in the news, try those that have proven their worth in clinical studies. Leading weight loss expert Harry Preuss, MD, who wrote The Natural Fat-Loss Pharmacy, recommends the following supplements for safe, effective and long-lasting weight loss:
- Green tea extract to speed up metabolism and fat burning.
- CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) to help you lose fat and build muscle.
- Chromium to help balance blood sugar and control cravings.
- Phase 2® (white kidney bean extract) to block excess carbohydrates.
- Super Citrimax® (HCA, or hydroxycitrtric acid) to reduce appetite and bust a weight loss plateau.
- Cinnamon extract for insulin regulation, which can be an important factor in weight loss.
- Slimaluma™ (caralluma cactus extract) suppresses appetite by acting on the hunger mechanisms in the brain.
As you get older, it often becomes more and more difficult to stay slim. At the same time, it becomes more and more important, as maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to living long and well. The challenge of losing weight can be overwhelming without the right strategies. To create an effective weight loss plan for yourself, learn about the latest research findings on the tools and techniques that can help you succeed in reaching your weight loss goals.