Making Weight Loss Last

The fact that overweight and obesity are major health problems in New Zealand and around the world is not new.

The fact that overweight and obesity are major health problems in New Zealand and around the world is not new. We are all aware of obesity being the second leading cause of preventable loss of life (smoking is the first).

Strategies to combat undesirable weight gain and making the weight loss last can be confusing, conflicting and just plain hard to follow in many cases. Here are some facts and tips you may not know to help you along the highway of ups and down towards getting body weight into the desirable and healthy range. It has been said we are hunter-gatherers who don’t hunt or gather anymore and we need to burn 420 kJ (100kcal) extra each day to halt the weight gain (that’s only a 20 minute walk everyday!).

  • A reduction of 5-10% of body weight will have significant health benefits! These include lower blood pressure, reduced blood cholesterol and lower blood glucose. That’s only 12kg for 120kg, 10kg for 100kg or 7.5kg for 75kg people.
  • A loss of around 6-7kg is a whole dress or trouser size for many people.
  • You can take a whole year to reduce your body weight by 10-12kg.
  • Eat breakfast everyday. 78% of successful weight losers eat breakfast daily.
  • Cutting only 1050 kJ (250kcal) a day everyday results in a loss of 91250 kcal or 6kg body weight. That’s giving up a bar of chocolate, large muffin, large glass of sweetened beverages, packet crisps or candy bar a day.
  •  You will make mistakes; get over it and get back on track
  •  Stress has been identified as a major contributor to overeating and stopping weight loss programmes and the number one predictor of weight regain. Don’t let stress derail you!
  • Get the right amount of sleep (7-9 hours a day for most people).
  • Eating breakfast reduces overeating later in the day.
  • Walk 60 minutes briskly each day or wear a pedometer to monitor your daily activity rates. Keep an exercise diary. Studies show people over-report exercise by as much as 50%; walking 20 minutes (burning 420 kJ or 100 kcal) is needed to stop weight gain. A pie costs you 12000 steps!
  • Write down what you eat and be honest in your serving sizes! People appear to under report what they eat by 20%, especially fat, fat containing food and energy content.
  • Weigh yourself regularly (but not every day). Once a week or fortnight is fine.
  • Focus on being healthy, feeling better and having energy.
  • There is no ideal nutrient profile for weight loss. The USA National register shows successful weight loss occurs with 24% fat, 56% CHO and 20% protein. No room for fad diets here!
  • Cut back on added fats and sugars. And plan your treats to once or twice a week only. Not every day!
  • Find support – a dietitian, trainer, family, doctor or a friend. Families that eat healthy together and exercise together do better. (see next month’s article)
  • Never, never give up.

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