At first, each of the diets seemed to work. After awhile, the limited food choices became boring and the desire to eat other foods won. Once I gave into temptation, I never resumed the diet and ended up gaining more than I had lost. Then I felt like a failure and again sought comfort in food. Sound familiar? It is to many of us. The health effects of being overweight are tremendous; increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, orthopedic issues, lower self-esteem and quality of life, and cancers are just a few of these effects.
How does one successfully achieve a healthy weight and maintain it? The choice must be individual. Certain interventions have been shown to increase one’s chance of success. One study indicated that a person’s perception of life events influences their success. Those who did not attribute their previous weight to medical or psychological factors were more likely to succeed. In other words, they felt strongly that their behavioral changes would allow them to reach their goal weight. Family factors can also influence success.
For now, I have chosen to take the advice I give to my patients. Stop dieting and modify portions. In addition, imagine dividing your plate into quarters with each meal; one quarter lean meat, one quarter whole grain, one quarter fruits and one quarter vegetables. Choose a lean cut of meat, such as sirloin (in moderation), pork loin, chicken, turkey and fish. Make a point of leaving some food on your plate, rather than eating every last bite. The weight loss is slower, but in the end, this type of diet along with exercising three or more times weekly may be the best way to safely achieve and maintain long-term weight loss.
Tammy Brown, MSN, ARNP, FNP-C