Recent statistics reveal that 68.6% of adult Americans are overweight, of which 34.9% are obese. Women and black Americans have a higher rate of obesity.1 Did you know that 40 to 50% of Americans will make a new year’s resolution of losing those extra pounds, but losing weight isn’t easy and sustaining a healthy weight is even more difficult.2 A recent study revealed that about 83% of obese individuals who have lost weight through a program or diet regain most or their entire weight within a year.3 With the start of a New Year upon us, let’s focus on how to keep those resolutions strong throughout the year.
The first step is to find the cause of failure and to commit to a long-term weight-loss regimen. Many health and wellness organizations attribute weight loss failure to highly restrictive diets that are difficult to sustain, the assumption that diet only and not daily exercising is required for a healthy weight, and untreated mental or medical conditions and stress.
Here are a few tips to turn failed resolutions from previous years into losses on the scale:
Avoid punishing diets: Diets that deprive or starve you can be negative and discouraging. You will eventually want to give up these plans just to make yourself feel better. Try not to completely avoid the foods that you love. Moderation while planning your diet and finding ways to make it exciting yet healthy helps you focus on the dividends ahead.
Plan to change your lifestyle: Weight loss is not possible without a change in lifestyle. This can however be introduced gradually by making small changes in your daily habits, including the way you eat and your level of activity.
Start working out: A good exercise regime is essential to any weight loss plan. Join a gym, find a good exercise program, or simply start exercising at home. A well-planned, gradually progressive workout that focuses on all aspects of physical fitness should be effective.
Set definite goals: Having dietary, exercise and weight loss goals are important to monitor your progress. Specific goals that are realistic and measurable are more practical in achieving weight loss.
Let others in on the plan: Going through it alone can sometimes be difficult, especially when faced with the temptation to back out. Having a partner, friend or instructor can hold you accountable and give you that extra motivation you need to stick to your plan.
Sometimes, diets, exercise and even weight-loss medications do not help you lose weight. In such cases, bariatric surgery offers hope for the morbidly obese (BMI of more than 40 or more than 30 with a serious associated disorder). The year 2013 saw 179,000 bariatric surgeries performed in the US, an increase of 15% from 2011.4 Surgery involves reducing the size of your stomach and/or bypassing a part of your intestine to make you feel full sooner and reduce food absorption. Following surgery, you will be able to achieve a 48 to 70% weight-loss.5 However, complete success of any weight-loss surgery lies in the life-long maintenance of a healthy weight by staying fit and eating healthy. According to a study by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, about 50% of those undergoing bariatric surgery will only regain about 5% of their lost weight after 2 years.6 More long-term studies reveal that most patients are able to keep 50% of their excess weight off.7
The improved quality of life after weight loss through bariatric surgery and the freedom from obesity-related conditions such as sleep disorders, diabetes, hypertension and metabolic problems can further motivate you to maintain weight loss. Following the above tips can ensure long-term success. Here’s to the new you!!
- Obesity Rates & Trends Overview. State of Obesity Web site. http://stateofobesity.org/obesity-rates-trends-overview/.
- Lenny Bernstein. It’s a week into January and a quarter of us have already abandoned our New Year’s resolutions. The Washington Post. January 7, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/01/07/its-january-7-and-a-quarter-of-us-have-already-abandoned-our-new-years-resolutions/
- Kraschnewski J, Boan J, Esposito J, et al. Long-term weight loss maintenance in the United States. Int J Obes (Lond). 2010 Nov; 34(11):1644-54.
- New Procedure Estimates for Bariatric Surgery: What the Numbers Reveal. Connect ASMBS Website. May 2014. http://connect.asmbs.org/may-2014-bariatric-surgery-growth.html
- Buchwald H, Avidor Y, Braunwald E, et al. Bariatric surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA. 2004; 292:1724–1737.
- Bariatric Surgery Misconceptions. ASMBS Website. https://asmbs.org/patients/bariatric-surgery-misconceptions.
- Bariatric (Weight Loss) Surgery Statistics (Updated 2015). Obesity Reporter March 27, 2015 http://obesityreporter.com/author/5dm1n/.