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Posts Tagged ‘healthy weight’

I recently returned from the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE – fence E), the annual meeting for dietitian nutritionists. Along with some 10,000 other members and professionals, I acquired updated information on some of the latest food products and nutrition research. One reminder about weight control came from a speaker in interaction with the audience. I don’t recall the session, but the speaker’s comment reverberated in my brain, “In the long run, weight loss diets can cause greater weight gain.” That’s not the exact quote, but close. How often do we hear about or experience weight loss only to regain pounds and exceed the starting point of the diet?

Our bodies need sufficient calories to accommodate body functions, but when we overindulge and acquire excessive weight, health problems may occur. We often seek remedies through unwise “dieting.” Several older studies confirmed negative results of dieting. Restricting calories increased secretion of the steroid hormone cortisol causing weight gain. Also, monitoring calories increased perceived stress resulting in added weight. Yet, about half of Americans continue to diet. Why?

In her October 2019 article “The ‘Biggest Loser’ returns‒should you watch?” dietitian nutritionist Susan Burke March explored the perils of rapid weight loss. Contestants for the TV show exercised for six to eight hours daily. The starvation diet resulted in failure to meet minimum nutritional needs. The outcome? While participants lost weight during the show over a short period of time, most regained it, and several surpassed their initial weight.

Eat, Food, Remove, Almost Time

What is the message here? Give up? That’s not the solution. We know the dangers of excessive weight. Worldwide projected estimates for diet related expenditures in 2019 expect to reach more than $206 billion even though weight gain seems to occur regardless of the type of weight-loss diet. Extreme diets play havoc with hormones and metabolism causing our bodies to need fewer calories. Our bodies adjust to starvation by lowering our energy needs to a minimal level. When we return to a normal diet with appropriate calories, we tend to gain more weight instead of returning to normal metabolism because our bodies have compensated for lower energy needs.

However there is hope for a healthy weight. Being the biggest loser isn’t the answer, being the biggest winner is. As March said, “Be a winner by making your diet a healthy one.” I have often alluded to this same advice in previous blogs. The perfect diet for us is the one that meets our nutritional needs with adequate calories for appropriate weight. Be a winner.

Image result for pixabay clip art weight diets

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I stood before the yogurt case contemplating my grocery needs. A young woman rushed up. “I need to lose ten pound next week,” she said to no one in particular.

“Good luck,” I replied as she hurriedly looked into the refrigerated case and then scurried away.

I could only speculate. Did she have a class reunion the following week-end and suddenly realize she had gained ten pounds since that last momentous gathering? She wasn’t morbidly obese. Nor did she look overweight. But here was a sudden crisis for her. How did she think she would get that weight off so quickly?

Many like her want to do just that. I would like to lose a few pounds myself. I recognize multiple reasons, however, why ten pounds in one week is impossible unless I want to drop dead. From an energy standpoint, most know that 3,500 calories equals one pound. Theoretically, if you eat 3,500 more calories than your body uses, you gain a pound. Likewise, if you burn 3,500 more calories than needed, you lose that same amount. Our bodies need about 1,000 calories just to meet body-function needs even when still or sleeping.

How is it some people actually do lose a great amount in a brief time?That’s difficult to  answer. The very obese are more likely to lose large amounts at first than those closer to their recommended weight. Often the loss is in fluids. Abrupt diet changes may alter metabolism and thereby increase weight loss. Nutrition experts agree that many weight-loss diets are unhealthy, but initially people may lose weight regardless of the type of diet. Once your body adjusts to that diet, weight may plateau, and it becomes difficult to keep losing weight.

Is losing ten pounds a week possible for you? Probably not. To reach and keep a healthy weight, it’s better to decrease calories while increasing exercise or activity and to continue with that changed lifestyle. Before you become discouraged, consider other factors. Losing weight is complicated, and new research seems to pop up every day. Here are a few items that tend to impact weight loss in addition to food and exercise.

  • Do you get enough sleep?
  • Do you drink adequate water?
  • Do you limit artificially sweetened beverages to less than one per day?
  • Do you have stress in your life?
  • Do you take any medications that may cause weight increase? (Ask your physician or pharmacist to see if similar drugs that don’t cause weight gain would be appropriate.)
  • Are you middle aged yet continue with the same eating pattern and exercise routine? (Metabolism slows with age and you need fewer calories and more exercise to keep the same weight.)
  • Have you had a recent health examination to rule out any conditions that may cause retention of fluids or weight gain?

This list is not conclusive. Many things affect weight, but attempting to lose ten pounds in a week isn’t a good idea. Good luck as you strive to reach and keep a healthy weight.

 

 

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