Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Many doctors give overweight patients a pill, a pep talk, and a pamphlet about diet and exercise, but that combination leads only to minor weight loss.195 When overweight people attend group sessions aimed at changing eating and exercise patterns, keep daily records of food intake and exercise, and eat a specific low-calorie diet the outcome is much more successful. Group sessions where participants are given information and help on how to make lifestyle changes appear to improve the chances of losing weight and keeping it off. Such changes may include shopping from a list, storing foods out of sight, keeping portion sizes under control, and avoiding fast-food restaurants.
According to most short-term studies, the effect of exercise alone (without dietary restriction) on weight loss is small,196,197 partly because muscle mass often increases even while fat tissue is reduced,198 and perhaps because some exercising people will experience increased appetites. The long-term effect of regular exercise on weight loss is much better, and exercise appears to help people maintain weight loss.197,200 People who have successfully maintained weight loss for over two years report continuing high levels of physical activity.201 Combining exercise with healthier eating habits results in the best short- and long-term effects on weight loss,202,197 and should reduce the risk of many serious diseases.204,205,206
Avoid weight cycling
People who experience “weight cycling” (repetitive weight loss and gain) have a tendency toward binge eating (periods of compulsive overeating, but without the self-induced vomiting seen in bulimia), according to a review of numerous studies focusing on weight loss.207 The researchers also found an association between weight cycling and depression or poor body image. The most successful weight-loss programs (in which weight stays off, mood stays even, and no binge eating occurs) appear to use a combination of moderate caloric restriction, moderate exercise, and behavior modification, including examination and adjustment of eating habits.