AKRON, Ohio, May 20, 2013 – Summer is just a few weeks away – and for some, so is the daunting feeling of summer clothing, swimming with the kids and other seasonal activities that stress the importance of getting in shape. Experts from Summa Health System’s Bariatric Care Center have some helpful tips for losing weight in time for summer – and how to keep it off long-term.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. People who are obese have an abnormally high and unhealthy proportion of body fat. An adult who is overweight has a body mass index (BMI) of 25.0 to 29.9; and an adult who is obese has a BMI of 30.0 or more. A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.
Each year, countless studies investigate various weight-loss tactics, such as low-fat versus high-fat diets, consuming high protein, the benefits of snacking, and the importance of exercise for weight loss and maintenance.
“A successful weight loss plan involves not only monitoring calorie intake, but also dealing with the psychological side of weight loss and habit change,” said Kenneth Wells, M.D., medical director of the medical weight loss management program at Summa’s Bariatric Care Center.
But what really works and what doesn't? These seven proven principles from Summa’s Bariatric Care Center can increase your chances of weight loss success now in time for summer – and for the long run.
1. Get mentally prepared before you start.
Ask yourself how motivated you are compared with the last time you dieted, and make sure you are committed to reaching your goal. If you’re not mentally prepped and go into a diet halfhearted, you're more likely to suffer the inevitable consequence of regaining the weight.
If your motivation level needs a boost, list the negative aspects to staying at your present weight. These could include having increased health risks, low energy, or not looking your best.
2. Don't aim to lose any more than 10 percent of your weight in six months.
Forget trying to be model thin or getting down to what you weighed in high school. Set a more modest goal by cutting 3,500 to 7,000 calories (one to two pounds) per week from what you normally consume. Losing so little over such a long time may seem like a small achievement, but it's not if you keep it off.
A healthy calorie intake for an adult woman can range between 1,200 and 1,800 calories per day and 1,400 to 2,200 for a man.
3. Include regular exercise in your weight loss plan.
Studies show that exercise alone doesn't produce much weight loss; so to lose weight, you must reduce your calorie intake. It’s still important to get in the habit of exercising during the weight loss phase of your diet because you'll need it when you move to weight maintenance.
Dietary guidelines from the USDA recommend most adults do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Some adults might need as much as 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. Exercise can be completed in increments throughout the day. Check your schedule for breaks or “mini” breaks throughout the day and try taking a quick and fast walk during these times.
4. Don't eliminate fat from your diet, but do watch how much you eat.
A calorie is still a calorie whether it comes from fats, carbohydrates or proteins. Fats contain nine calories per gram; and carbohydrates and proteins contain four calories per gram. So, eating one gram of fat gives you more calories than 1 gram of carbohydrate. Reducing the amount of fat you eat is one way to limit your overall calorie intake. It’s also important to remember that just because a product is fat-free, it doesn't mean that it is "calorie-free”. Fat-free items also usually have additional sugar to improve taste, so be wary!
5. Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day.
Research shows that people who eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day are more successful with their weight loss goals and have an easier time keeping the weight off. This keeps your metabolism “burning” throughout the day, your energy levels up and allows you to feel more satisfied both physically and mentally.
6. You can eat the foods you crave – every now and then.
On special occasions, go ahead and dig in. Successful weight losers don't deprive themselves of foods they crave or love, but they have self-control for tempting foods so they don't go overboard.
7. Weigh yourself regularly.
To maintain weight loss, don't ignore your scale and only go by other indicators, such as how well your jeans fit. Instead, play the numbers game and step on the scale once a week. A weekly weigh-in can accurately help you monitor your weight, so you realize when you're in relapse. If you gain five pounds or more, ask yourself what you've been doing lately that might have caused the weight gain, then make changes to lose those extra few pounds within the month.
Summa’s Bariatric Care Center provides both medical weight loss management and surgical weight loss options. For more information, visit www.summahealth.org/weightloss.
About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet® status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron.
For more information, visit www.summahealth.org or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/summahealth and Twitter at www.twitter.com/summahealth.