by Susan Greeley, MS, RDN
Weight Loss is Ever-Popular Health Topic
A very hot health topic these days is undoing the damage that Covid-19 did to peoples’ waistlines, making weight loss a more “popular” topic than ever. A recent report in Medical Marketing & Media online tells us that “weight loss” was the number one health topic searched online during 2021. (1) That fact alone underscores the need to focus on the medical “crisis” that is even more concerning since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic – America’s obesity epidemic. Both the obesity crisis and poor diet quality directly impact health outcomes, and it is time for us to improve things. A study conducted at Harvard Medical School during the pandemic was published this fall and highlighted the inverse association between diet quality and both risk and severity of Covid-19. Researchers concluded that a diet high in healthy, plant-based whole foods was associated with both a lower risk and severity of COVID-19. (2)
New Year Commitment to Weight Loss
Thankfully it is time for New Year’s resolutions, and it’s certainly not too soon to get started on weight loss or at least preventing the five to ten pounds that has become America’s average holiday weight gain!
If you have been searching online for the “right” weight-loss information, stop right here and start with these three weight-loss Do’s and three weight-loss Don’ts.
What to DO for weight loss:
- Do eat more whole, fresh foods daily. This seems so simple, yet most Americans still fall short on their daily fruit and vegetable consumption. Getting leafy greens daily in particular helps you fill up with nutrition and few calories. You may also want to pack in other green Mediterranean diet foods that can be a weight-loss secret weapon.
- Do cook and prepare more (most) of your daily meals and snacks. This is the best way to control types and number of daily calories.
- Do keep a food diary. At the start of any weight loss journey, this simple tool is your best way to make you aware of your current habits to pinpoint changes to make and keep you accountable. Use it ongoing or anytime you feel the need to re-focus on what you are consuming day in and day out!
Three DON’TS for Weight-Loss Success:
Americans tend to eat too much, too frequently, and too late at night. – That means the weight-loss “Don’ts” are:
- Don’t graze. If you graze through the day, focus on eating three structured meals, or have your “three squares” and one planned snack per day.
- Don’t overeat. If you eat portions that you know are beyond what your body needs, then focus on decreasing that. Reducing the amount of calorie-dense foods alone leads to weight loss (versus eliminating favorites altogether and ending up feeling deprived.)
- Don’t eat after dinner. If you are a late-night snacking machine, that’s where a habit change best serves weight loss.
The truth about weight loss and diets is this. — Food industry and media have confused and overcomplicated things and led too many people on vicious cycle of fad diets, quick weight loss, and unfortunate regaining of more weight. Take a moment to think about whether you are ready to commit to an “easier” way of weight loss that focuses on chipping away sabotaging behaviors. A final word on what to do and not do is simply this. — Don’t fall prey to fad diets and do commit to long-term health and contentment. By knowing and doing what it takes to create sustained weight loss, you will feel empowered and get to the point of letting go of weight-loss battles for good!
Happy, healthy 2022!
- Merino J, Joshi AD, Nguyen LH, et al Diet quality and risk and severity of COVID-19: a prospective cohort study Gut 2021;70:2096-2104.