Given that so many approaches are likely to fail, what weight-loss strategies work? How can a person lose weight safely and permanently? The secret is a sensible (not to say easy) three-pronged approach involving healthful eating habits, exercise, and behavior change. Such an approach takes tremendous dedication, especially at first, as a person whose habits have promoted obesity makes new habits out of the hundred or so behaviors necessary to promote a healthful weight. Even the most effective weight-loss programs reveal a grim pattern: Many people complete the program, lose about 10 percent of their body weight, regain two-thirds of it within 1 year, and regain almost all of it within 5 years.41 Still, many others who resolve to lose weight do so, and they manage to keep it off. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine maintains a National Weight Control Registry of more than 3,000 persons who have successfully achieved and maintained weight loss for a number of years. A recent survey of dieters found that 20 percent of respondents had lost up to 42 pounds and kept it off for an average of 7 years.42 Those who succeed typically do so because they have employed many of the techniques described in this chapter, as well those in the Eat Well Be Well feature that follows.
PERSONALIZE YOUR WEIGHT-LOSS PLAN The way a particular person loses weight is a highly individual matter. Two different weight-loss plans may be equally successful and yet have little or nothing in common. You have to find a plan that’s right for you. To emphasize the personal nature of weight-loss plans, the following sections are written as advice to “you,” even though you may not need to lose weight at all. To help you understand the issues of weight loss, you can pretend that you have 10 to 200 pounds to lose and are being competently counseled by someone familiar with the techniques known to be effective. Notes in the margin highlight the principles involved.
No particular diet is magical, and no particular food must be either included or avoided. Because you are the one who will have to live with the eating plan, you had better be involved in creating it. Don’t think of it as going “on” a diet—because then you may be tempted to go “off” it. Lifestyle changes are only successful if the pounds do not return. Think of it as an eating plan that you will adopt for life. The diet must consist of foods that you like or can learn to like, that are available to you, and that are within your means.
Liposuction a type of surgery (also called Upectomy) that vacuums out fat cells that have accumulated, typically in the buttocks and thighs. If the person continues to eat more calories than are expended through physical activity, fat will return to the fat cells that remain in those regions.
Eating Plan Strategies
1. Get personally involved.
2. Adopt a realistic plan, and then keep track of calories.
3. Make the eating plan adequate.
4. Emphasize high nutrient density.
5. Individualize. Eat foods you like.
6. Stress ‘dos," not ‘don'ts."
7. Eat regular meals.
8. Take a positive view of yourself.
9. Visualize a changed future self.
10. Take well-spaced weighings to avoid discouragement.