Most people understand that the most effective way to lose weight fast is to less eat and exercise more. Still, people always looking for the newest, quickest, and most popular die. From super-low-fat and severely carbohydrate-restricted diets to meal replacements and strict calorie count’mg, every method has its followers. On the other hand, every diet also has people who have failed to achieve their weight-loss goals. This section discusses some of the research on popular diets, though fitness professionals may benefit most from learning how to evaluate popular diets in general.
A randomized trial, the “gold ständard” in research design, compared the following diet plans in more than 300 premenopausal, overweight, or obese women:
Atkins (very low carbohydrate)
LEARN (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitudes, Relationships, and Nutrition) (10w-fat, a high-carbohydrate plan based on national recommendations)
Ornish° (very high carbohydrate)
Zone” (low carbohydrate)
At 12 months, the Atkins dieters came out ahead, with a modest 10-pound (4.5 -kg) weight loss (Gardner et al., 2007). The unimpressive amount of weight loss reflects how people struggle to stick to rigid dietary restrictions, though it is worth noting that even a 5 to 10% weight loss confers significant health benefits.
A study of 60,000 male and female participants of jenny Craig, a commercial Weight-loss program, found that those who followed the program for one year lost 16% Off their body weight. But only 6.6% of the original dieters stuck with the program for that long (Finley et al., 2007). Another study found that people who ate a 100 to 300-calorie meal replacement per day (such as a nutrition bar or formulated milkshake meal) maintained a substantial (8.4%-+ 0.8%) weight loss at four years (Flechtner-Mors et al., 2000). Dansinger et al. (2005) made the following confusion after a one-year randomized trial to assess the adherence rate and effectiveness of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers’, and Zone diets: While any of these diets can yield short-term benefit in terms of weight loss and improvements in cardiovascular risk profile, adherence is the primary factor in determining permanent weight management.
The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), a database that tracks more than 5,000 people who have lost at least 30 pounds (13.6 kg) and maintained the loss for at least one year, has uncovered an abundance of tried-and-true tips to help people lose weight and keep it off. Results from several observational research studies further highlight what works and what does not.
The following are 10 insights that can help you to lose weight fast:
Twénty yéars ago, a standard cup of coffee with whole milk and sugar was 8 oz and 45 calories. Today, a 16-oz Grande Mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks’ adds up to 380 calories. To burn the extra calories, a person would have to walk for an hour. A typical muffin was 1.5 ounces and 200 calories. Today it is 5 ounces and 500 calories– the difference equates to 90 minutes of vacuuming [National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), 2004]. As standard portions have gotten larger, so have Americans. The only remedy is to pay attention to serving sizes. Successful “losers” control portions. In fact, some research suggests that portion control is the greatest pred’1ctor of successful weight loss (Rogue et al., 2004). Fitness professionals can help people control portions by teaching them to read nutrition labels, carefully measure out servings, eat only one helping, use smaller serving dishes, and resist the urge to “clean the plate.“
2. Be mindful:
Encourage people to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. That means paying attention to everything they eat. People should ask themselves: Do I eat when I am bored, stressed, sad, tired, and sometimes even when I am full? Emotional eating can wreak havoc on a well-planned weight-management program. People should ask themselves “why” before heading to the pantry.
More than 94% of participants in the National Weight Control Registry increased physical activity in their effort to lose weight (NWCR, 2008). In fact, many reported walking for at least one hour per day. And exercise was crucial for those who kept the weight off. People who dropped their fitness programs put on the pounds (NWCR, 2008). As people lose weight, a proportion of each pound comes from muscle. That slows down metabolism and makes it difficult to keep the weight off. While walking and other cardiovascular exercise are important for burning calories, the fitness profession also should be sure to recommend a resistance-training program to preserve lean tissue and maintain metabolic rate.
4. Check the scale:
While it is not advisable to become obsessive about weight to the nearest 0.01 pounds, people who maintain their weight loss keep tabs on the scale, weighing themselves at least once per week. This way they are able to identify small weight increases in time to take appropriate corrective action (NWCR, 2008).
Of all NWCR participants, 78% eat breakfast daily, while only 4% never do (wyatt et al., 2002). And research suggests that breakfast eaters weigh less and suffer from fewer chronic diseases than non-breakfast eaters (Timlin &. Pereira, 2007).
6. Monitor intake:
One of the strongest predictors of successful and maintained lifestyle change is monitoring dietary intake (Tinkler et al., 2007). While some people may find it tedious, keeping a food log is a highly effective and proven strategy.
7. Turn of the tube:
Time spent watching TV is time spent: (1) being completely sedentary and thus expending minimal amounts of calories; and (2) eating. Most people mindlessly consume snacks while mesmerized in front of the television, not noticing the rapidly multiplying calorie intake. Successful NWCR “losers” watch less than 10 hours of television per week (Raynor et al., 2006).
8. Do not wait until tomorrow to get started and any cheating:
It is easy to put off starting a serious lifestyle change to a later date. Likewise, it is also easy to “cheat” and eat an extra piece of cake here, a pizza buffet there. But people who do not consistently give themselves a day or two off to cheat are 150% more likely to maintain their weight loss (Gorin et al., 2004). Encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle that they can stick with so they do not often feel compelling urges to unwittingly sabotage their weight management success.
9. Know thy friend:
A study of 12,000 people followed over 30 years concluded that obesity spreads through social ties (Christakis & Fowler, 2007). That is, obese people tend to have obese friends. Pairs of friends and siblings of the same sex seem to have the most profound effect. The study authors suspect that the spread of obesity has a lot to do with an individual’s general perception of the social norms regarding the acceptability of obesity. The logic works like this: If my best friend and my sister are both obese and I love and admire them all same, then maybe it is not so bad that gain a few pounds. People can reverse this psychological phenomenon by inviting pals to work out at the gym or go for a bike ride to stay or get fit.
Research suggests that people who are optimistic-that is, they have perceived control, positive expectations, empowerment, a fighting spirit, and a lack of helplessness–are more successfül at changing behaviors and losing weight (Tinkler et al., 2007).