Joined: 11 March 2006
Now experts from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center can help you stick to that New Year's resolution of losing weight if you just follow these six tips.
1. Keep moving each day: all it takes to see a weight-loss benefit is 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity daily.
"You don't need to be athletic. Just brisk walking or dancing to your favorite music or using an aerobic exercise machine like a stationary bike or treadmill is all you need to do - just try to do it each day," said Anne McTiernan.
"You can break it into 10- or 15-minute sessions throughout the day to get the weight-loss benefit," she said.
2. Keep a food journal: "By spending a little extra time to write down everything you eat and drink, you'll be able to see where extra calories sneak in," said Caitlin Mason, an exercise and health researcher in the Public Health Sciences Division of the Hutchinson Center.
"There are lots of good online tools that can help estimate the calorie content of common foods and track your weight loss progress over time," she said.
3. Set realistic goals: "For long-term success, aim for a slow, steady weight loss of about 1 to 2 pounds a week. No one wants to lose weight only to gain it all back - and often more - a few months later," said Mason.
4. Set specific goals: set several smaller but more specific goals, such as eating five servings of vegetables per day, taking a 15-minute walk at lunch each day or drinking six glasses of water per day.
"Adding healthy behaviors to your routine is often easier than telling yourself 'don't do this' or 'don't eat that,'" Mason said.
5. Don't let one slip-up derail your efforts: "Don't throw your entire routine out the window after one bad day. Instead, try to identify the specific barriers that got in your way and think through strategies to avoid such challenges in the future," said Mason.
6. Practice yoga: regular yoga practice and weight maintenance and weight loss are related, according to several studies.
Researcher Alan Kristal found that regular yoga practice is associated with the prevention of middle-age spread in normal-weight people and the promotion of weight loss in those who are overweight.
A follow-up study published in 2009 found that regular yoga practice is associated with mindful eating, and people who eat mindfully are less likely to be obese.
"These findings fit with our hypothesis that yoga increases mindfulness in eating and leads to less weight gain over time, independent of the physical activity aspect of yoga practice," Kristal said.
"Mindful eating is a skill that augments the usual approaches to weight loss, such as dieting, counting calories and limiting portion sizes. Adding yoga practice to a standard weight-loss program may make it more effective."
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