3 no-fail strategies for weight control
By Dr. Georgene Collins

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The current overweight statistics and healthcare reform confusion are topics of concern among Americans. With most of the population at risk of weight-related diseases, weight loss is a primary focus among the American population. The amount of weight-loss information currently available is overwhelming to most. Yet the focus on weight loss is outdated.

INDUSTRY PULSE

Which is the most important strategy for weight control?
  • 1. Doing it for you
  • 2. Remaining flexible
  • 3. Remembering the basics

The unstable economy and healthcare changes create the perfect storm to make health the priority. Many individuals delay health improvement plans until it is too late. The best strategy to prevent disease is weight control. Here are three no-fail weight control strategies for long-term health promotion.

1. Do it for you

Weight loss and weight control is personal. Too often individuals start a diet or health improvement plan for the wrong reasons. External motivators such as urging from a spouse or child, or to impress others, are short-lived. In reality, internal motivators drive long-range results. Achieving and maintaining weight control depends on personal action. Although external motivators may help with the decision to lose weight, in the end, personal reasons motivate individuals to practice healthy habits long term — the foundation of weight control.

2. Remain flexible

Weight control is about balancing daily calorie needs. This is best achieved through caloric intake and activity. The challenge with weight control — and a large contributor to weight regain — is boredom. While weight loss depends more on calorie reduction, exercise drives weight control. For many, exercise becomes boring during maintenance. This often leads to abandonment of exercise programs and weight regain. The best strategy to prevent boredom in weight control is to maintain a flexible exercise program. Changing the scenery, type of equipment or routine are great strategies to prevent boredom and control weight.

3. Remember the basics

Weight control is as simple as three basic elements: calories, activity and monitoring. Anything else is simply a distraction. Weight control depends on balancing daily calorie requirements through intake and exercise, and regular weight monitoring. A weight-control transition plan begins in the final month of weight loss. An ideal plan identifies the balance between daily caloric intake and exercise needs to support the healthy weight goal. Once the balance is identified, include the adjustment schedule in the plan. One example is to increase daily calories by 100 for one week. Reducing the number of miles accumulated in an exercise program by one or two per week is another example. The key is to adjust only one area at a time.

Equally important is monitoring the effects of the changes. Before achieving the weight control stage, set up long-term weight monitoring parameters. A weighing schedule with cues is essential to long-term weight control. A weekly weigh-in schedule that allows a variation of no more than five pounds before taking action is an example. If the scale notes a gain or loss of five pounds, quickly adjust the calorie and activity level to return to an ideal healthy weight.

Although common sense, many individuals often overlook or forget these three weight-control strategies. This is obvious by the 95 percent of adults who quickly regain weight after dieting. Prevention of disease and health-promotion strategies are gaining importance in the changing economic and healthcare environments. Because excess weight is foundational to all disease, these simple weight-control strategies are fundamental to any personal health-improvement plan.

Georgene Collins, Ph.D., RN, CPHQ, is a registered nurse and health coach who teaches women weight management strategies. Dr. Collins, once obese, has maintained her 145-pound weight loss since 2005. She maintains certification in nutrition, weight management and wellness through the American Fitness Professionals and Associates. You can learn more about weight management at her website, Weight Management for Women.