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Losing Weight and Keeping It Off

For hundreds of years, human beings have sought to improve their appearance. In modern day America, losing weight is high atop the list of things that Americans seek to do to improve their appearance. Besides the aesthetic benefits of losing weight, research studies overwhelmingly confirm that weight loss is an effective means to improving health and reducing the risk of several chronic diseases. However, losing the weight is only half the battle; maintaining the weight loss is another monster that is commonly overlooked and ignored.

The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) was founded in the mid-nineties as a means to gain an understanding of some of the common characteristics shared amongst individuals who have successfully lost weight and maintained the weight loss for an extended period. Unfortunately, a large percentage of individuals who had lost weight will return, sometimes surpass their starting weight within 12 months.

Some of the methods used by those who have maintained their weight loss include adopting a consistent workout routine, increasing the amount of physical activity, recording foods consumed, electing lower calorie food options, and eating breakfast, each day. A common misconception about weight loss is that fat is burned by workouts, but it is actually burned after the workout. By increasing the intensity of a workout, this raises the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which means that more fat will be burned after the workout.

However, many individuals seeking to lose weight with exercise are too motivated for their own good by working out too hard for too long, too many times in a short period. Working out at high intensity for too long can break down the body and lead to unwanted injuries, similar to redlining a car for too long—eventually, the engine is going to fall apart, then the driver would be left stranded. By having a good balance of light, moderate and high intensity workouts, an individual can sustainably exercise to produce positive results and reduce the risk of injury.

As far as healthy eating habits, the NWCR reports that approximately half of their participants weight themselves weekly and maintain a daily log of what they ate. These two practices are especially helpful for losing weight because they maximize accountability and offer undeniable records of how a person has been eating.

It has been shown that the average person underestimates the amount of food consumed and overestimates the number of calories burned in a workout, which may result to stagnant weight readings or increased weight. To prevent this from occurring, one might want to measure their food portions with measuring cups and spoons, or they can leave a little bit of their meals uneaten. Also, one could increase the length of their workouts by five minutes or extend the distance when they walk the dog.

By adopting some of the strategies exhibited by NWCR contributors, you may be able to achieve the weight loss goals you desire. If you have another method that worked for you, but was not mentioned in this blog, please share!

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