By Cassandra Golden MS, RD, LDN
Almost 70% of all American adults are either overweight or obese. Obesity increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and 13 different types of cancer. Creating small, consistent lifestyle changes overtime will lead to big risk reductions. Here are five strategies that have been proven to be effective for weight loss:
- Lift weights
Following a restrictive diet can result in muscle loss and negatively affect metabolism. Resistance training, (also known as weight lifting) can preserve lean body mass and burn calories more efficiently, which is an important factor for weight loss. This is due to something called excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), where the body can take up to 48 hours to return to a resting state after exercise. Calories can continue being burned long after a weight lifting workout is completed. Research from the University of New Mexico found that heavy resistance training burned the most calories after the completion of a workout compared to circuit training and aerobic cycling.
- Use a smaller plate
A study from The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that simply using a smaller plate can help people automatically eat fewer calories.
- Use a food log to track calories
Studies show that tracking what you eat can help create an accurate picture of your calorie and nutrient consumption. Food logs also promote self-accountability and awareness of nutrient intake, which is valuable for weight loss. Free online food logs are available from www.myfitnesspal.com and https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/.
- Get a good night’s rest
Those who sleep less have an increased risk for obesity, as evidenced by cross-sectional studies from around the world. Poor sleep can increase your appetite, increase the chance of insulin resistance, and increase your calorie intake by being less likely to resist temptations and adhere to portion control.
- Become an intuitive eater
Contrary to popular belief, following restrictive diet programs can actually lead to weight gain over time. A recent study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that a weight loss approach focusing on intuitive eating was more successful long-term than traditional weight-loss programs. Intuitive eating considers internal hunger and fullness cues, as opposed to outward cues- such as calorie counting and weight scales.
As you find ways to incorporate new weight loss approaches into your life, keep in mind the timeless strategies that have also shown to be beneficial- such as cutting out added sugar, processed foods, and refined carbs from your diet. This healthy combination will guide you toward living a healthy life!