Thursday, May 31, 2012

Weight Loss Success Stories Without The Hype

It can be quite difficult to muddle through all the hype and marketing messages when trying to get good quality information about weight loss.  After all its a $42 billion plus industry where a plethora of product manufacturers and service providers resort to every possible tactic to hawk their wares with almost everyone of them claiming fantastic results in a short period of time.  While some programs are legitimate, many are not...but they all claim to be the best!

If you are struggling to lose weight, you will want to run from the commercial sector as fast as possible (exercise is healthy you know) and search out sources of good quality weight loss information that is based on real life success, not on product marketing messages.

A great place to gather this kind of data is the National Weight Control Registry.  Established in 1994 by Rena Wing, Ph.D. from Brown Medical School, and James O. Hill, Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, it's the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance. Given the prevailing belief that few individuals succeed at long-term weight loss, the NWCR was developed to identify and investigate the characteristics of individuals who have succeeded at long-term weight loss.

Currently, the NWCR is tracking over 10,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time. Detailed questionnaires and annual follow-up surveys are used to examine the behavioral and psychological characteristics of weight maintainers, as well as the strategies they use to maintaining their weight losses.

You can see some of the data collected by the NWCR here on my website, in fact it pretty much describes my methods for successfully losing and keeping off the weight.  Before you embark on any program, read some of the success stories and study the data to see what the real facts are instead of being swayed by sales hype.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Can Mexican Food Be Healthy?

I love Mexican food, yet so much of it is generally considered to be unhealthy and full of calories...or is it?  Managing your weight begins with controlling your food intake.  Most newbies to the weight-loss journey assume this is done through either starvation or deprivation (neither of which is sustainable).  In reality, its about making smart choices, such that you really don't have to give up the foods you like.

There are plenty of sites on the Internet that will give you good quality recipes for healthy versions of some of your favorite foods.  And healthy doesn't mean that all the taste and consistency have been removed!  Typically substitutions in ingredients have been made to bring down the calories and oust some of the other "bad" stuff, but amazingly that flavor is still there, many times accomplished just by adding in a creative combination of spices. lists 13 Mexican dishes with less than 300 calories so check it out and see what works for you.  Don't punish yourself by holding by eating stuff you don't like in order to shed a few pounds.  Just change your way of thinking/cooking and explore all the great low calorie options that will keep your stomach and body happy.

Oh yeah, and don't over eat, which you will be tempted to do as you discover great new healthy food options.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Too Much Weight? - You Are What You Eat

The best weight loss stories (in my opinion) are the ones where ordinary people do it their way without anything extreme.  Lots of lessons that can be learned and applied to creating a program that works for YOU.

Lisa Jones of Wilmington, NC is a perfect example.  In a Star News article by Mike Voorheis, she is profiled for her 30 pound weight loss.  What I found particularly interesting was a comment by one of her fitness instructors: "...what your body looks like is 70 percent what you eat and only 30 percent how you exercise."  That was a turning point for Lisa, as she had been focused on exercise, but not food, and as a result had been unsuccessful losing weight...up till that crucial turning point.

It's a great weight loss story worth reading and illustrates the key theme I continuously try to drive home: weight management is all about lifestyle management, you have to balance what goes in with what goes out (via exercise) to be successful.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gastric Bypass Surgery - Is It Really A Magic Pill For Weight Loss?

I have a friend who underwent Gastric Bypass Surgery several years ago and successfully shed a huge amount of weight, as expected, during the first year following the procedure.  In the months that followed things begin to level off - again, as expected - and for awhile he was able to maintain that new level of reduced fat.  But then he begin to experience a small but consistent increase in pounds, until he has now reached a point where is looking into a different form of bariatric surgery - The Lap Band.  He is quick to defend his situation by claiming that the Gastric Bypass procedure didn't really work... right!

What didn't work was him following the post-surgery guidelines for keeping the weight off.  The reality is that he treated the whole thing as a "Magic Pill" meaning he was going to do as little as possible to support the process.  He still eats horribly and continues to shovel in as much food as he can, which is gradually stretching out his stomach, which in turn allows him to consume more food - you can see where that cycle is going.  And if you mention, that's like two 4 letter words joined at the hip.

Bottom line, this individual was given a second chance and blew it because he didn't want to change his bad habits and engage in a healthier lifestyle that would allow him to maintain his initial weight loss from the surgery.  Turns out this is not as uncommon as it might seem, as ABC News found out in a story they did on the subject of weight gain after gastric bypass surgery.

One of the things that I incorporated into my weight loss was the post-surgery lifestyle plan that goes with Bariatric Surgery.  Using the basis of that plan alone, without the surgery, helped me drop 70 pounds over 10 months or so with the first 50 in five months, something I covered in my book - Eat Slow Walk Fast.  And more importantly, I have kept it off for over five years.

I'm not a Doctor and am not handing out medical advice, but if you are considering the surgery, make sure you understand and can commit to the post-operative lifestyle plan.  And if you are 100% sure you can, then consider trying to adopt it before undergoing surgery (unless of course you are in a life-threatening situation) and see how much weight you can drop on your own.  Remember that the surgery is a tool to help jump start your efforts, but if you can't use it properly, you may just be wasting your time and money.  THERE IS NO MAGIC PILL!