Routt County CSU Extension: Weight loss for a lifetime | SteamboatToday.com

Routt County CSU Extension: Weight loss for a lifetime

Karen Massey/For the Steamboat Today

If you're like me, you've already had your fill of advertisements for weight loss programs.

Don't get me wrong, the beginning of a new year is a highly motivational time to start new habits and improve your health. Many of the "easy and amazing" programs that are offered have a reasonable chance of helping you take off pounds and they may even improve your health.

But I'd like you to consider asking a bit more from all of these slick weight loss schemes before you invest your time and money. Ask yourself if the program or plan will lead to a permanent change in your habits and behavior. Only then will you be able to keep off the weight that you worked so hard to lose.

For advice on how to take off extra pounds and keep them off, look to the National Weight Control Registry for the ultimate advice on what works.

The registry is following more than 10,000 individuals who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for a full year. Registry participants have lost an average of 66 pounds and, more importantly, kept it off for 5 1/2 years.

Their weight loss experiences have led to numerous research studies to identify the core features of a successful weight loss effort. While 55 percent of the people who kept weight off participated in a formal weight loss program, the remaining 45 percent lost weight on their own.

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You could benefit by incorporating some of the habits that many individuals, who are successful in weight loss, have adopted.

Eating breakfast every day is a habit that will make you less likely to overeat throughout the rest of the day. Most individuals with weight loss success report eating breakfast every day. Morning meals that are high in protein and fiber are especially associated with better weight control. So take a few extra minutes to prepare an egg with whole grain toast or a bowl of oatmeal with milk.

Monitor your weight with a weekly weigh-in. Successful maintainers stay on top of small weigh gains by weighing themselves regularly and adjusting their diet and exercise to get back on track.

Add activity to most days of the week. Effective weight loss must include 30 to 60 minutes of movement each day. For long-term weight loss success, 90 percent of Registry members report exercising for one hour each day.

Modify your food intake to consume fewer calories. All of the registry participants report adjusting their diets. These changes could include eating more fruits and vegetables, selecting lower fat foods, avoiding processed products, consuming fewer sugary foods and cooking at home more frequently.

Getting healthy and losing weight can be important goals. It doesn't have to be expensive and difficult, but it should involve habit changes that will last a lifetime.

Karen Massey is a registered dietitian nutritionist and family and consumer science Extension agent with Colorado State University Extension in Routt County. Call 970-879-0825 or email karen.massey@colostate.edu with questions.