If you are like the many Americans who have made a New Year’s resolution, losing weight may be on your list. Between on again/off-again gym memberships, trendy diets, and the holidays, it can get overwhelming and lead to that feeling of “I’ll never lose this weight.” However, the New Year allows you a chance to put it all behind you and put your best foot forward! If you have doubts about whether resolving to lose that extra weight in 2015 even matters, research shows that making a resolution actually does make a difference.
A recent study found that six months into the new year, 46 percent of those who had made formal resolutions reported being on track to achieve their goals. On the other hand, only 4 percent of “non-resolvers” (people who just loosely “wished” they could change something about their lives) were achieving their goals. This means you have good reason to be optimistic about dropping excess weight in the new year if you make smart, reasonable, and most importantly, measurable goals for yourself. My friend who graduated from business school told me, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”.
Let’s begin with how to determine what your “target zone” is for your ideal weight. What is my target weight? The most common method for identifying how close a person is to their healthy body weight is the Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a measurement tool that compares your height to your weight and will give you a general indication of whether you are overweight, underweight or at a healthy weight. To figure out your own BMI, simply take your weight in pounds, divide it by your height in inches, and divide it again by your height in inches, then multiply that number by 703. Once you’ve determined your BMI, use the following ranges to determine if you are in a healthy or unhealthy range for your body: underweight below 18.5, normal 18.5 – 24.9, overweight 25.0 – 29.9 and obesity 30.0 and above.
Before you start screaming at your number, please realize this is for the average person from age 25 to 65. This doesn’t take into account gender, muscle mass, overall body shape or certain other genetic differences. What is important is that it gives you a general idea of where you are compared to others with similar height.
Is it Time to Make a Change?
Fortunately, just a small change can make a big difference. Research shows that even modest weight loss (5-10% of total body weight) yields significant health benefits such as:
– Reduced blood pressure
– Lower cholesterol
– Decreased blood glucose levels
– Better survival rates for those with diabetes and heart disease
– Improved sleep
Additionally, you simply feel better and daily activities become a little easier and more manageable. And, of course, never underestimate the boost of self-confidence that being in shape provides. Having someone notice you and say you look good is a real mood-booster! With the plethora of benefits (both physical and mental) why wait any longer?
Where to begin?
Losing weight is often easier said than done. Many of us have the desire to drop excess pounds, but are quickly discouraged from lack of results or the lack of a comprehensive plan. People often find that a few bad habits cause them to get off track and lose focus. It can be hard to break bad habits, but here are a few tips that may help.
Identify when and why you engage in your bad habits. Perhaps you find that you overeat when you watch TV because you lose track of how much you’re eating. Being aware of these situations is the first step to fixing them. This is why some people find counting calories is a successful tool for weight loss.
Another bad habit might be failure to manage portion size. Using smaller plates is one method to overcome this habit and avoid overeating. Additionally, avoiding “seconds” will help you stay focused on portion control and benefit you on your weight loss journey.
People often think exercising will negate the need for tracking food to avoid overeating. For example, jogging a mile burns about 100 calories. What you can’t do is say, “I jogged a mile, so I’m going to treat myself to a 12 ounce milkshake!” That milkshake may have 400 calories, so in the end, you fail to lose weight and, in fact, actually gain 300 calories by jogging that mile and treating yourself with dessert. With that in mind, realize that losing weight is not just about exercise, but also about being consistent, and changing attitudes and eating habits over time.
Putting bad habits in writing will help you analyze the triggers that lead to the habit. For example, if you find you are more likely to visit a fast food restaurant after having a stressful day at work, try finding other ways to cope with your bad day, such as deep breaths, meditation, or listening to a song that cheers you up. Furthermore, try alternate routes to and from work to avoid your favorite fast food restaurant. Lastly, you may find that you respond well to the “bait and switch” technique. For example, if you crave candy before you go to bed, try chewing a stick of gum instead to satisfy your craving. Finding healthy ways to satisfy your unhealthy cravings can go a long way in your journey towards a slimmer, fitter you.
Often, those who struggle with weight issues need a more structured approach. Weight loss rarely happens easily or accidentally; you have to have a firm and comprehensive program in place that sets specific, realistic, and forgiving goals. If you’re too loose in your goals, you’ll find that it is hard to stay motivated and focused. On the other hand, drastic or overly restrictive diets are physically and mentally fatiguing and can make you feel worse or constantly defeated.
What should you look for in a weight loss program?
According to the latest research, the most successful weight loss strategy is one that makes lifestyle changes that include food modification and physical activity. I want to share a program with you from Metagenics, called Healthy Transformations, which I believe is unlike any other program you have tried in the past. I am impressed with its attention to detail and innovative approach.
The Power of Healthy Transformation
The first component of the program is a high-protein, high-phytonutrient (greens), low-glycemic (sugars) index food plan. No weight loss program can be successful without a healthy food plan that emphasizes the proper balance and types of macronutrients (like carbohydrates and fat) and content of micronutrients (such as vitamins and minerals). It’s a food plan that combines meal replacement with suggested meals from food you prepare. The plan also helps you prepare your shopping list for the healthy foods your body needs for successful weight loss.
A 2005 study from the University of Washington shows that diets with a higher intake of protein reduce feelings of hunger and promote a more favorable body composition change than lower protein diets. And perhaps just as importantly, high-protein diets with a low-glycemic index have been shown to lead to higher user compliance (people actually stick with it).
Another component of the program is mid-day meal replacements (in shake, soup, or bar form) to make it easy to stay on track with your weight loss goals. Instead of eating a mid-day meal from a food cart, vending machine, fast food restaurant or just from around the house, the replacement shakes, soup and bars both taste good and provide nutrition that keeps you on your way to your goal. Since the first component of the program is a change in diet, people often forget that there is an increased risk for nutritional imbalance when caloric intake is reduced. However, the researchers at Metagenics took this into account and included supplements like omega-3 and probiotics to make sure that, despite eating less, your body still gets the nutrients it needs to function at optimal levels.
Finally, exercise is a key component of this program. The researchers at Metagenics decided that a 10,000 step per day exercise regimen is effective because walking is safe, easy, can be done every day, and 10,000 steps per day is a highly attainable goal. Measuring these steps with a pedometer has been shown to successfully motivate individuals to increase their physical activity.
A Clinical Case of Effectiveness
A functional medicine research center conducted a 12-week study of this weight loss program using obese volunteers. The results of the study were highly encouraging and, in some ways, even exceeded expectations.
Of the 100 participants who completed the study, 92 of them lost more than 7.5% of their total body weight. As a whole, the group lost 11.2% of their collective total body weight with 62 of the participants losing over 10% of their body weight and 13 of the participants losing over 15%. However, the weight loss is only part of the story. The participants in the study also had significant reductions in body fat percentage and improved cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood glucose levels.
The research center’s report also detailed the individual cases of 2 participants who experienced tremendous results from the Healthy Transformation program. The first, a 47-year old male, had a BMI of 36.3 that put him in the “obesity class 2″ category. He believed his weight problem stemmed from a sedentary lifestyle and began the program aiming for a 7.5% reduction of his total body weight by the end of 12 weeks. However, he ended up losing over 38 pounds for an impressive 16.3% weight reduction! In addition to losing a bunch of weight, he also reduced his fat mass, increased his lean body mass, improved his insulin levels, and credited the “very easy” to follow food plan and exercise regimen as the reason why he was able to keep the weight off.
Another participant, a 38-year old female, had even more success. She steadily lost 19.8% of her total body weight by the end of the 12-week period and reduced her BMI so dramatically that she was no longer any level of obese. At the end of the 12 weeks, the data collected showed that the program helped her improve her quality of life in several key aspects, such as improved physical functioning, reduced pain, and increased vitality.
My Personal Experience
As a practicing physician, I’m not one who is typically a big believer in fads and trends in the diet world. I’ve seen many programs hailed as the “next big thing” become discredited over time. I tend to believe what clinical research demonstrates, which is why I am impressed with Healthy Transformation as a fantastic weight loss tool.
As compelling as the various studies are, I was not a true believer until I saw it for myself. A longtime patient of mine lost 35 pounds in the first 12 weeks of the program. This was incredibly eye-opening to me. Since then I have recommended Healthy Transformation to a large number of patients who struggle with weight issues. With very limited exceptions, the results have been terrific. This program isn’t just for those who fall into the BMI range of obese — I’ve had other patients achieve success who were just a little overweight and wanted to drop 10 pounds.
I hope that you will seriously consider this Metagenics program if you want to shed those extra pounds but have been unsuccessful in the past. One of the best gifts you can give yourself in the New Year is a healthy body resulting from a healthy lifestyle. Click here to learn more about what the Healthy Transformation program can do for you. If you have any questions about the products or suggestions discussed here, or need help placing your order, our customer service team is standing by and ready to assist you in any way we can. You can reach us at (888) 460-3091 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, stay healthy!
Yours in health, Dr. Gregg Gittins
Originally posted at Dr’s Corner – Tired of Waiting for Weight Loss?