What is the easiest way to lose weight? Although most magazines claim to have the solution, using an idolized celebrity as their example of success, how reasonable is the advice that is given? Can people realistically make the appropriate changes in their lifestyles in order to see a change in their weight? Do these individuals know that the recommendations may be customized to their lifestyles and body type? The truth is, too many people use a vague approach for weight loss and only see short-term results, if any at all.
The image of the perfect celebrity may intrigue consumers to make short term changes in their lifestyle. However, how effective is it? Most people are motivated to lose weight for aesthetic purposes. But if properly educated of the long-term consequences of extra weight, the motivation for weight loss would be increased in order to avoid the most common medical complications of obesity.
Most medical problems are either the cause or the consequence of weight. Through proper education and motivation, the population may be appropriately motivated to make the adjustments necessary for long-term weight loss and prevention of the problems that may be seen with long-term weight gain. By knowing the adverse consequences of weight gain, people may be more willing make the lifestyle changes to keep the weight off altogether.
What I’m talking about depends on the cause of the weight gain. It may be anything from lack of exercise, high fat intake, carbohydrate craving, recent pregnancy, an undetected medical condition or even depression. There are many causes for why someone may be carrying an extra amount of weight. The way to solve the problem is by identifying the source and making the appropriate recommendations and changes for that specific cause. Different approaches for weight loss may be customized for the individual. This tailored education and long term coaching and motivation will result in long-term successful weight management. We’re not talking about a quick fix, but an identification of the cause of the problem and continuous advice to reach a solution that is appropriate for the individual.
Many people put unlimited amounts of time and money into weight management, yet do not see results. The answer to this puzzling problem may simply be that people are not addressing the issue correctly. Some may have metabolic or vitamin deficiencies, which may simply be diagnosed and addressed with a general physician. Amongst these problems include thyroid abnormalities, vitamin D deficiencies, iron deficiencies and vitamin B12 deficiencies. These problems may be easily diagnosed and treated to decrease cravings and behaviors that result in overeating.
Others may be frustrated because they feel that they are spending endless hours exercising, excessive amounts of money on trainers and gym memberships, yet fail to see results in weight loss. This may be explained by the simple fact that most people overestimate the amount of calories they burn through their workout.
For example, many people feel that since they “exercise,” they can eat whatever they want. The truth is, it would be better if they did not make the extra effort to exercise and watched their food intake instead. Although exercise has tremendous benefits in an individuals well being, by improving mental and cardiovascular health, the harm of eating a poor diet outweighs these benefits. For example, one person may spend an hour on the treadmill and then stop by at a café for a latte and muffin. The work-out burned no more than 500 calories, while the muffin alone is well over 500 calories, resulting in weight gain. The most effective approach would be to focus on restricting the caloric and fat intake and using exercise as a supplement.
Another source of frustration has to do with patient’s weight gain following temporary weight loss. What needs to be done in order to accomplish long term weight management? The answer has to do with muscle mass. Although most people approach diets as a mode of weight loss through caloric restriction, this may actually lead to long term weight gain. In order to achieve successful, long term weight loss, people need to focus on maintaining muscle mass while losing fat. Although weight loss may be accomplished quickly through starvation, these results are only transient, as most of the weight that was lost was water weight and muscle mass. This unfortunately results in a drop in metabolism. When resuming a regular diet after this type of weight loss, the individual will then not only gain back the weight that they had originally lost, but they’ll most likely gain addition weight due to the drop in muscle mass and decrease in metabolism. Thus, the key to successful weight loss and maintenance is through caloric restriction, which prevents muscle loss. This may be accomplished through a diet which is mostly comprised of protein as well as an exercise regimen that focuses on resistance training.
Further education on identification of the cause of weight loss in a particular individual and thereby developing an appropriate and customized weight loss regimen will be discussed in future articles.