Dieting and Lifestyle Change
The quest for the perfect weight loss method is nothing new. Fad diets and non-prescription weight loss supplements have been in style for years, and there never seems to be an end to the amount of new exercise equipment and “easy” weight loss methods available. At best, methods like this are unsuccessful at promoting long-term weight loss, and at worst, they can be dangerous. The most effective weight loss programs are comprehensive, combining a healthy, low-calorie diet with regular, moderate exercise and behavioral therapy.
The Proper Weight Loss Diet
One of the most popular and highly recommended diets is a low-fat, low-calorie diet. This diet requires the reduction of both calorie and dietary fat intake. Many people confuse this diet with a low-fat diet, but it’s important to remember that reducing fat intake doesn’t do much good unless calorie intake is reduced as well. Therefore, a dual approach is required for successful weight loss. In an effort to achieve weight loss at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week, it’s important to follow a diet that creates a deficit of 500 to 1,000 k/cal per day.
A comprehensive weight loss and maintenance program must incorporate regular physical activity. Exercise can help decrease fat around the abdomen and increase cardiovascular and respiratory fitness, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. Regular exercise also helps maintain weight loss. In order to create a calorie deficit, more calories must be burned than consumed, and exercise is the best way to burn calories.
At the beginning of a comprehensive weight loss program, you should try to incorporate 30 to 45 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity into your day on 3 to 5 days of the week, with a longer-term goal of 30 minutes per day, every day.
Behavior Modification Therapy
Sometimes, behavior modification therapy is also integrated into a weight loss plan; after all, our levels of activity and how we relate to food are behaviors. Behavioral therapy practitioners typically start by identifying why an individual is motivated to lose weight and then assessing how ready he or she is to make the necessary lifestyle changes. This information is then used to develop a strategy for motivating positive change.
While successful weight loss requires a comprehensive approach, a combination of the above methods is usually insufficient for morbidly obese individuals. While bariatric surgery requires dedication and effort on behalf of the patient in order to result in lasting weight loss, it can make these methods more effective.