It’s the beginning of the year and that has a lot of us thinking about weight loss to improve our health and appearance.   This is a challenge most of use deal with.  Our body adjusts to our current, higher weight, and it generally tries to maintain this weight despite efforts to lose.   Still, there is no secret to weight loss, it involves motivation, discipline, and a plan for diet and exercise.  Couple that with reasonable expectations for weight loss to be a slow process, and you have the recipe for action and success.

Of course, such simplistic comments don’t help us get the job done; the devil is in the details.  In that, there is no secret either.  Which diet is best, works best, or is best for me?  The answer is:  Any one of them.  They all work…for someone.  Choosing the one that is best for you, whether it’s Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, The Zone Diet, Eat for for your Blood Type, Nutrisystem, The Portion Teller, The Atkins Diet, The Scottsdale Weight Loss Center.

So…..what principles can I suggest that can help you with this endeavor and are ‘truth’s’ about the process of weight loss?

  1.  Unless you are obese (body mass index (BMI) over 30, losing weight is a personal goal for appearance and not for health.   In general, overweight people live just as long as normal weight people, so losing weight if you are 5-20 pounds over ideal is going to make you feel better about yourself and how you look in clothes and at the gym and probably will not help you to live longer or healthier.
  2. The science of weight loss is filled with inconsistent results.   As I’ve told many of you when we’ve spoken of this topic in the office, “Good Calories, Bad Calories” a book by Gary Taubes, does a great job of reviewing the history of weight loss diets and the science behind them and shows how there have been massive mistakes in the research and recommendations and that the scientific basis of weight loss remains murky at best.
  3. Exercise is important.   Not necessarily for weight loss, but because it is the #1 key element in improving your health and does provide some small benefits for weight loss.  The extra calories and ‘boost’ the metabolism are beneficial, but more generally, being more active has a positive effect on health no matter you current weight.
  4. Health conditions and medications can affect your ability to lose weight.  If you have diabetes and you use insulin, then you will find that insulin is a ‘weight gainer’ and losing weight will be move difficult for you.  Some antidepressants can affect appetite and may need to be adjusted or eliminated in order to get your weight loss moving forward.
  5. In general eating healthier foods on your way to losing weight, is a good idea.  This Graph from Sunday’s New York Times, shows a list of foods and their general health status.   If the food is higher and to the right, it is a healthier food overall, but there are differences of opinion among experts, so keep an open mind here.
  6. Eating foods that satisfy your hunger and that can be sustained as a long-term diet strategy, is the best way to achieve long-lasting results with your weight loss plan.
  7. Being motivated to be healthy and to feel good is the best stimulus of all towards getting results with your weight loss efforts.  Read more about that >>HERE<<