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Clinician's Corner

3 Tips for Achieving Sustainable Weight Loss

According to the Boston Medical Center, an estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year.1 Additionally, nearly $33 billion is spent annually on weight loss products that promise quick fixes and rapid weight loss.1 Why is it then that roughly 80-95% of people who lose weight eventually regain all of it, if not more?2 Continue reading to learn more about why that “quick fix” is not a long-term solution and how you can make meaningful, sustainable changes without compromising your physical and mental health. 

Why Dieting Doesn’t Work

A fad diet is any weight loss plan that promises quick results and is usually a temporary nutritional change.3 These diets typically promote rapid weight loss and dramatic results through behaviors and eating patterns that are not sustainable in the long-term. Although weight loss typically does occur, it often occurs too quickly and the majority of the weight lost comes from water and muscle.2 Additionally, a major component of dieting often involves limiting certain foods or entire food groups, which can cause both physical and psychological consequences, including nutrient deficiencies, disordered eating, increased stress, and disruptions to your hunger and satiety hormones, to name a few.2,3 More importantly, your weight is also affected by various factors other than what you eat, including genetics, hormones, behavior, and environment – all things that fad diets often fail to take into consideration.

Sustainable Weight Loss

First and foremost, it is important to understand that real and sustainable weight loss takes time, patience, commitment and ongoing support. Recent studies have shown that sustained, substantial weight loss is best achieved through continuous monitoring and goal setting and that people stay more motivated when they have support and encouragement.4 Here are three tips:

Identify Barriers to Your Long-Term Goals

If you have struggled to lose weight and keep it off in the past, you are not alone. Oftentimes, people try to make drastic lifestyle changes without first identifying and addressing barriers that hinder their long-term success. It is inevitable that you will face obstacles and challenges throughout your journey; however, your ability to deal with and overcome these barriers is a critical step in staying on the right track. A registered dietitian or other healthcare professional can help you identify your barriers and come up with a personalized plan for how to overcome them.

Think Variety & Moderation

Making adjustments to your daily eating patterns and physical activity has been shown to be the most effective method for both weight loss and maintenance.3 Your path toward sustainable weight loss should not be restrictive or leave you feeling hungry throughout the day. A balanced, healthful eating plan includes a variety of foods, incorporates all food groups, and promotes adequate fiber intake. Are you interested in making changes but not sure where to start? Click here to see if you are eligible for Season’s nutrition prescription program.

Focus on the Positives

In order to positively progress toward your health and nutrition goals, it is critical to understand that sustainable lifestyle and behavior changes do not happen overnight – they take time, motivation, and commitment. Remember, no one is perfect! Recognize and celebrate your successes, no matter how large or small, on a daily basis.

References

  1. Boston Medical Center. Weight management. https://www.bmc.org/nutrition-and-weight-management/weight-management. Accessed October 21, 2021. 
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Why people diet, lose weight and gain it all back. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-people-diet-lose-weight-and-gain-it-all-back/. Published October 1, 2019. Accessed October 21, 2021. 
  3. Khawandanah J, Tewfik I. Fad diets: lifestyle promises and health challenges. Journal of Food Research 2016;5(6):80-94. doi:10.5539/jfr.v5n6p80.
  4. Spreckley M, Seidell J, Halberstadt J. Perspectives into the experience of successful, substantial long-term weight-loss maintenance: a systematic review. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being 2021;16(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/17482631.2020.1862481.

Elizabeth Adrian, RD, CDN

Elizabeth is a registered dietitian nutritionist with clinical experience at healthcare systems, including NYU Langone Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Her interest in nutrition-related public policy and desire to work with underserved populations has led to experiences outside of the hospital setting, including spending time as a nutrition education volunteer in Tanzania, Africa. She has also worked as a research assistant and nutrition counselor for Cooking Up Energy, a cooking & nutrition education program for predominantly BIPOC children and adolescents at the Boys & Girls Club. Elizabeth hopes to utilize her diverse background and passion for science, medical nutrition therapy, and community nutrition to support clinically-related product and service development efforts at Season.

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