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Weight loss that lasts: By James Wilson, RD, LD
April 21, 2015
If you turn on the television or read the latest magazine, chances are you will be inundated with the “newest” and “best” diets, but these never last long term. We have a poor relationship with food here in America. We think that in order to lose weight we have to deprive ourselves of everything, work out like a professional athlete and not enjoy our food. We follow short term food plans because we demand quick results.
Rarely do we take a step back and examine our own habits.
Weight loss that lasts is built on modifying habits. Habits are long term and we often do them without thinking. Studies show that the average individual can eat 20% more food or 20% less food without even noticing.
Think about it. We get distracted when we eat. Rarely do we sit down at a table to eat because we are constantly working or focusing on other activities such as watching television.
We eat fast. When you eat fast, you typically eat more food. Here is an example of how this can make a difference:
A half cup of juice usually equals about 60 calories. If you consumed a half cup of juice once a day over a year:
60 calories X 365 days in a year = 21,900 calories in a year
You consumed about 21,900 calories in juice alone.
While some might figure that more than 20,000 calories is not that much to consume over a year, keep in mind that it takes only 3,500 calories to store a pound of body fat. In other words, the half cup of juice you drank once a day over the course of a year amounts to about 6 lbs 4 oz of body fat, if your body does not use it for energy.
You burn calories (energy) everyday whether you are sitting in a chair or outside walking. The more you move, the more calories you burn. You don’t have to follow a fad diet or workout like a professional athlete, you only have to keep three things in mind:
1. Learn what is actually in the food you are eating
2. Know your own habits
3. Commit to making small changes diligently over time
Weight usually is not gained fast so it doesn’t make sense for it to be lost quickly. If you put on 10 lbs over a year, why does it make sense to follow the latest “diet” that is promising to help you lose 10 lbs in a week? It seems too good to be true.
That’s because it is too good to be true. You can lose weight and enjoy your food by making small changes to your regular activities. It may take more time than the latest fad diet claims to lose weight, but you can do it. The slower weight is lost, the longer it typically remains lost.
If you need to lose weight and your weight is going down slowly, you are being successful. It is all about lifestyle change. Remember to be open to learning about the choices you already make and how they are making an impact on your long term health.
Everyone has good and bad habits, but it is always helpful to learn how our habits fit into the bigger picture of our overall health and well-being.
James Wilson is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian at Madison Health. For more information on food and nutrition services, he may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.