For many years it was believed that yo-yo dieters have a harder time losing weight than those who have not been yo-yo dieters. The term “yo-yo dieter” refers to someone who has lost weight and regained it, many times over. Conventional wisdom was that all of this up and down with weight loss and weight gain, made the body more resistant to losing weight again, and that made it harder to keep the weight off, once lost.
New studies are coming out disproving this belief. A study recently came out of a cancer research institute in Seattle. The study followed 439 overweight or obese, sedentary women, ages 50 to 75. These women followed one of four exercise and nutrition programs: a reduced calorie diet, a reduced calorie diet plus an exercise program of at least 225 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity (mostly brisk walking), an exercise program only, and no intervention what so ever.
The women who followed the reduced calorie plan lost on average 9% of their weight or 16 pounds. Those who followed the reduced calorie plan along with the exercise program lost 11% of their weight or 20 pounds.
Of these women who lost weight, 42% had a history of losing and regaining 10 pounds or more on 3 or more occasions (yo-yo dieters). This study showed that the yo-yo dieters lost the same amount of weight as the non yo-yo dieters.
Anne McTiernan, the study’s senior author and researcher, said that this shows that even if you’ve had problems with losing and regaining weight several times before, it’s never too late to try again. “You hear people say ‘Diets don’t work for me,’ but they do if you use a structure and stick with it,” she says. “The message is: don’t give up.”
This goes along with what I have learned. It is never too late to start. Even if you are in your late 80’s or early 90’s, you will still benefit from changing around your patterns and exercise more and eat healthy. The trick is to pick a program that you can stick with, and do consistently.
The components that most people have in common that have successfully lost weight and kept it off, is that they watched what they ate and reduced their calorie intake. They made exercise a part of their life.
I feel that you can diet as much as you want to, but if you don’t exercise along with it, the weight loss will not amount to much and will be temporary. Exercise is essential to losing weight and keeping it off, and to feeling better. If you want to reduce the pain you are in on a daily basis, you have to exercise. If you want to decrease the progression of your arthritis and joint pain, then you have to exercise. If you want to chase around after your children or grandchildren, then you have to exercise.
If you can exercise in the right way, then you can burn calories. You will be able to increase your endurance which will allow you to walk up the stairs without straining yourself. You will be able to chase around after your children or grandchildren without worrying about hurting yourself. You will be able to work longer, and be more productive because your body will be stronger and better able to support yourself throughout the day. Exercise will strengthen up the surrounding muscles of an arthritic and painful joint to stabilize it and take stress off the joint which can extend the life and activity of that joint. And even taking off a few pounds can take an immense amount of stress off of your irritated and painful joints.
Eating right can also take stress off of the body and help you to feel better. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables will supply your body with anti-oxidants and vitamins and minerals that will aid in your body in repairing muscles and other injured areas. It will also decrease chronic, low grade inflammation that is present in so many of us and irritates so many of the issues in our body.
The trick is to pick things you can do consistently and long term, because this has to become a lifestyle change. You can’t just exercise once and expect to be strong for the rest of your life. That is like going to the dentist once and expecting to never have to clean your teeth again. You can’t just change the oil in your car once and expect to never do it again. You are using your car a lot. With use comes wear and tear. It is the same with your body. You use your body all day every day since you were born. There is bound to be some wear and tear. If you can manage the wear and tear on your body you will feel much better and age much more gracefully. Healthy eating and exercising is the most effective anti-aging medicine anywhere.
Most diets will fail. Most diets have you do some extreme change for a few weeks to months to lose weight. And if you follow the program then you probably will lose weight. But once you lose the weight, you won’t know how to keep it off. You can’t keep up with the extreme changes that got you to lose the weight, so you fall back into your old patterns that caused you to gain the weight in the first place. Once you fall back into your old patterns it is only a matter of time before you start gaining the old weight back, and usually a little extra.
But if you can change around your lifestyle, change around your eating and exercise habits then you will lose weight, and keep it off long term. The trick is to introduce small, do-able changes over time. You can’t change around a lifetime of habits at once. You have to ease your way into it. Once you lose weight, then you will feel better, look better, and it will start you on a positive feedback cycle. The better you feel, the more you will exercise and take care of yourself, and this will help you feel better and better.
Get out of the negative feedback cycle you are in, stop following the fad diets that are out there. Introduce some lifestyle changes you can stick with. You will feel better and look better if you do.