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How To Achieve Sustainable Weight Loss

From Weight Watchers to low-carb diets to juice cleanses, the options for attempting to lose weight have never been more plentiful. Yet sadly, no matter how much time, money, and energy Americans spend on losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, the goal often remains elusive. In fact, based on data collected by the CDC, even as nearly half of American adults try to lose weight, more than two-thirds are still categorized as overweight or obese. Try as they might, most people simply can’t find sustainable weight loss.

What Causes Weight Gain?

Even though it may seem obvious, it’s helpful to keep in mind some of the reasons people gain body weight in the first place. Our bodies obviously need fuel in the form of food, and this is measured in terms of calorie intake. The most basic principle of nutrition is that we need a certain number of calories for normal body functions; if we eat more calories than we need, we gain weight, and if we eat fewer calories than we need, we lose weight. While this is undeniably true, there are nevertheless a number of other factors that can inhibit our weight loss goals:

    Latin woman in baggy pants, indoors.
  • Activity level: a more active body requires more calories to function, so a sedentary lifestyle can make it more likely to gain weight.
  • Environment: sometimes simply lacking access to sidewalks, parks, and exercise equipment can make it more difficult to get sufficient exercise.
  • Food culture: in the United States, there are cultural and economic factors that limit access to healthy food. Additionally, from a very young age, children are exposed to substantial advertisements for fast food and other unhealthy options.
  • Genetics: though the connection between obesity and genetics is not fully understood, much research has suggested that a propensity to gain weight may be able to be passed through genes.
  • Health conditions: certain hormone-related conditions, like having an underactive thyroid, may also explain some weight gain. Moreover, some medications used to treat a variety of conditions include possible weight gain as a side effect.
  • Lifestyle: for a variety of reasons that are only beginning to be understood, lifestyle factors like stress, anxiety, depression, ennui, and lack of sleep all seem to make people more likely to be overweight or obese.
  • Tips for Achieving Sustainable Weight Loss

    While there are some uncontrollable causes like genetics and a few other factors noted above, the fact remains that we all have a lot of tools in our toolbox for losing weight. Indeed, many people do actually lose weight by following a certain diet or exercise plan; the problem is that the weight usually comes back within six months or a year. The key to sustainable weight loss, then, is finding methods that are more likely to lead to permanent changes in diet and activity levels. Below are some tips for how to make long-term, sustainable weight loss more likely in your life:

    Focus on Healthy Eating: It can be tempting to focus exclusively on the number of calories in your diet, but the truth is that the components and nutritional content of the food is a more important consideration. Instead of just counting calories, read the entire nutrition label and note the fat, carbohydrate, and protein content. Also, try to avoid foods that are high in cholesterol or saturated fat. By more broadly focusing on eating fresh and whole foods rather than processed and packaged, you’ll begin to shift your long-term thinking on food.

    Beware Sugar: In recent decades, researchers and nutritionists have discovered the importance of blood sugar levels and insulin levels in understanding obesity. Unhealthy sugars are added to many (if not most) processed foods, and not just sweets and desserts; even everyday items as seemingly healthy and benign as pasta sauce and fruit juice have added sugars that can increase your blood sugar level. Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance, weight gain, and other obesity-related conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. To combat this, make sure you read labels and avoid foods that are high in sugar.

    Eat Veggies: Vegetables are naturally low-calorie, healthy foods that are beneficial on multiple levels. If you don’t already eat many vegetables, look for ways to incorporate them into your favorite foods; for instance, you might have a salad instead of french fries with a burger. A big part of sustainable weight loss will be making vegetables a bigger part of your regular diet.

    Whole Grains: Refined carbohydrates, most often in the form of white bread and white rice, are a huge part of the American diet, but they are sadly not healthy foods. These kinds of carbs are processed quickly and broken down into glucose for energy, but any of that glucose that can’t be immediately used is stored as fat. Whole grains, by comparison, are more filling, take longer to digest, and contain more nutrients.

    Diet Plan: If used as a guide to help you transform your eating habits, a weight loss plan can definitely be part of sustainable weight loss. Low-carb, keto, and intermittent fasting diets are some popular options, but no one diet paradigm is necessarily the best. Adopt or develop an eating plan that works for your life and your preferences, and it can lead to a long-term shift in healthy habits and your approach to food.

    Physical Activity: If you don’t already have a workout routine in place, it can be daunting to start one. It’s OK to start small, however; a good first step is to add a little more movement to your day. If you have a desk-based job, commit to getting up once an hour and walking around for a few minutes. A subsequent step might be going for a short walk in the morning or at the end of the day. Eventually, you can work toward finding an exercise program that works for you and fits with your life.

    Freedom is Waiting

    If you’ve tried to lose weight through a fad diet or a punishing exercise program but found no success, you’re not alone. At Garrow Wellness Center, we’re dedicated to helping you finally lose weight and develop a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. If you would like more information about the procedures and what’s involved, please contact us to request a consultation.