I am a big believer in focusing on healthy longevity by making those small sustainable lifestyle changes every day/week/month/year and incorporating them into your routines, rhythms, shopping patterns, habits and choices. This works. Education plus recipes plus inspiration plus goals plus coaching plus a genuine willingness on your behalf to work hard and change. I have been living this way for around 30 years and it has served me very well indeed.
Clinical psychologist Dr Leah Brennan says research that tracks dieters for one to two years is unequivocal “Usually, people are very close to their starting weight at two years, if not already there at 12 months. Generally, the research shows that six months is the maximum people can sustain the behaviour changes that lead to weight loss. Beyond that, people particularly have problems with weight maintenance. There are many well-established reasons why diets don’t work, both physiological and psychological. One of the many psychological stumbling blocks revolves around so-called “primary goals”. These are what people hope to achieve by losing weight. In other words, most people don’t go on a diet just to see decreasing numbers on the scales; they want to find a partner, wear nicer clothes, be more popular or get a better job. Even if they manage to get the weight off rapidly, disillusion sets in because those goals aren’t realised. This is despite the fact they were never weight-dependent in the first place”.
“Realistically, if you can lose 5%-10% and keep it off, you are doing very well,” Brennan says. “That’s enough to see improvements in health indicators. But most people go in trying to lose 20%-30% of their body weight. So one of the reasons people don’t continue to put in the effort to maintain their achieved weight loss is because they never got to the point they hoped they would.”
An interesting study
An Australian study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, followed 50 overweight or obese adults. They had lost around 13 kilograms on a low-calorie diet but by the end of the study, most participants were well on the way to regaining the lost weight. Another study, by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, found that “when we starve ourselves, some of the neurons in the brain that stimulate hunger start to cannibalise each other, which, in turn, sends out more hunger signals”.
The focus is critical for fat loss
Janette Gale is “a health psychologist and founder of a company that trains doctors and others to better help people lose weight”. “They will either blame themselves for not trying hard enough or they will say the diet is just not for them. But they will try the next one because it worked for so-and-so.”
Fat loss and weight loss
At the heart of it, shedding kilograms is a simple, mathematical proposition: kilojoules in versus kilojoules out. This fact sheet from the reputable Mayo Clinic says “The foundation of every successful weight-loss program remains a healthy, calorie-controlled diet combined with exercise. For successful, long-term weight loss, you must make permanent changes in your lifestyle and health habits.” I would add to that sleep is also the unmissable factor in weight loss success. No miracle cures, no wacky diets just sensible food and exercise. Boring but true. The Mayo Clinic offers six strategies for successful, sustainable weight loss. Alongside making a commitment to yourself and being clear about your motivation, it recommends setting realistic goals. Losing between 500 grams and one kilogram a week over time is a sensible target. Healthy eating is another key strategy but, as the fact sheet explains, “Decreasing calories need not mean giving up taste, satisfaction or ease of meal preparation”. Finally, there is exercise and a “change in perspective”. “It’s not enough to eat healthy foods and exercise for only a few weeks or even months if you want long-term, successful weight loss, these habits must become a way of life.”
Reference: Sydney Morning Herald and stuff.co.nz on January 9, 2012.
Jason wishes to deeply thank, acknowledge and recognise the effort and contribution that the PIF Foundation has provided on a voluntary basis since 2014, as we educated, motivated and inspired change that helps transform the health, vitality and longevity of people all over the world.