Successful Weight Maintenance – How Do People Do It?

Successful Weight Maintenance – How Do People Do It?

 

It’s hard enough as it is to lose weight, and the more we learn, the more we find how many factors stack up against our efforts to maintain our progress. A review of the literature on weight loss maintenance and weight regain has narrowed down the potential reasons for why keeping the weight off is so difficult. To help us understand why weight maintenance is tough, it helps to consider what makes it successful to begin with. 

What Makes Weight Maintenance Successful? 

According to this literature review, successful weight maintenance is associated with: 

 

  1. Greater Initial Weight Loss 
    • The more weight you lose at the start of your weight loss efforts correlates with how well you can keep your total weight loss off. 
  2. Reaching a Self-Determined Goal Weight 
    • There is potentially a psychological benefit to setting a goal and achieving it that helps you maintain the results of all your effort. 
  3. Having a Physically Active Lifestyle 
    • This can be understood to mean that those who lose weight strictly by dieting will have a harder time maintaining weight loss than those who also incorporate physical activity into their lifestyle. 
  4. A Regular Meal Rhythm That Includes Breakfast and Healthier Eating 
    • Numerous studies have already determined that individuals who eat breakfast are more likely to control their weight,1 so we’re not at all surprised by this one. 
  5. Control of Over-Eating and Self-Monitoring of Behaviors 
    • The ability to practice self-control and to monitor our own behaviors is not a natural skill. It takes practice and will-power to master our involuntary impulses. 

These 5 items are all things you can do. You can work for greater initial weight loss, you can add physical activity to your lifestyle, you can change your nutrition habits.

The following factors also contribute highly to successfully maintaining weight loss, but they are not as easy to manipulate.

According to the same literature review, part of your success is also owed to:

  1. Your Internal Motivation 
    • This is perhaps the reason most of us struggle to start with or stick to plans that we think will be difficult to accomplish. 
  2. Your Level of Social Support 
    • It’s not just a matter of having a support system but a question of how easily you turn to them when you need support. 
  3. Better Coping Strategies and Your Ability to Handle Life Stress  
    • Poor coping strategies can involve eating in response to negative emotions and stress.2 
  4. Self-Efficacy 
    • This is the belief that you can do the things you set out to do. 
  5. Autonomy  
    • This is the ability to make your own informed decisions. 
  6. Your Ability to Assume Responsibility 
    • How well do you take-on tasks that are presented to you? 
  7. Greater Psychological Strength and Stability 
    • How effectively can you check-in with your emotions, recover from setbacks, and recognize maladaptive behaviors? 

In this list we can see how much our psychological, social, emotional, and environmental situations all contribute to our overall ability to care for our health. We haven’t even touched the biological factors that make our individual endeavors more difficult. The bottom line is, there is never ONE reason why you are struggling with maintaining your weight loss. 

Why We Regain Weight

Now that we can clearly see the common factors among those who are successful, we can easily run through those lists and identify which factors are playing a part in our personal struggle. A lot of it is founded in our ability to adhere to certain routines and to new habits. An equally important piece comes in the form of our emotional and psychological strength and the type of support we have.  

What Can We Do About It?

If all these things are tied together, it seems that a person would need a life that is perfect in all ways in order to achieve and maintain their goals. However, we know that no one has a perfect life, and yet there are successful people everywhere. How do they do it and what can we learn from their success that we can apply to our own approach?  

The answer to that is attempted in “Keep the Weight Off” articles everywhere. Everyone has their own idea of which approach works best. Yes, there is some cross-over, but a lot of the advice typically goes back to something along the lines of “watch what you eat” and “do more exercise.” However, if any of the above factors mean anything, the real answer should be something only you can determine based on your individual circumstances. 

Take some time today to think through areas in your life that, if improved, can help you set a foundation for success. A strong foundation can make the difference you need to get where you’re trying to go. 

We invite you to share what you plan to tackle to increase your total wellness and to establish a stronger base. Let us know in the comments below! To read our dietitian’s advice for Slow Weight-Loss, How to Handle a Weight-Loss Plateau, or How to Calculate Your New Calorie Limits After Weight-Loss, click the links to read the QA’s. For more articles like this one, subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly highlights from the LA Fitness blog! 

Sources  

  1. Davis, Jeanie Lerche. “Lose Weight: Eat Breakfast.” WebMD, WebMD, 31 Aug. 2010, https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/lose-weight-eat-breakfast#1  
  2. Elfhag, K., and S. Rössner. “Who Succeeds in Maintaining Weight Loss? A Conceptual Review of Factors Associated with Weight Loss Maintenance and Weight Regain.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 10 Jan. 2005, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2005.00170.x 

Bulking on a Clean Diet | QA

Bulking on a Clean Diet | QA

Question:

Hi, my name is Nigel and I was wondering if you could help me with eating tips for someone trying to clean bulk. Thanks.

– Nigel A.

Answer:

As a dietitian I interpret your inquiry as you’d like advice for bulking up on strictly a ‘clean’ diet. Bulking up without gaining fat pretty much means eating a clean diet, anyway. 

Clean foods – those that are raw or minimally processed – include energy dense foods like avocados, banana, coconut, fatty fish, meats, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, poultry dark meat, seed butters, and soybeans which can help you put on weight. Muscle weight if resistance training consistently, of course. Starchy vegetables like corn, potatoes, peas and winter squash and (naturally) dried fruit provide more energy per bite than watery ones. Other higher calorie foods (by weight) such as granola/trail mix, pesto and cottage cheese can be made from scratch if raw/unprocessed is desired. Incorporating eggs and quinoa helps to keep protein intake up. 

Resources: 

  1. Dold, K. (2017, July 28) The 13 Most Basic Rules of Clean Bulking https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/eight-essential-rules-clean-bulk/ Accessed 1.10.2020 
  2. Geiger, B. (2018, Oct. 16) The Clean Bulk: A New Approach To Adding Offseason Muscle https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/the-clean-bulk-a-new-approach-to-adding-offseason-muscle.html Accessed 1.10.2020 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Next Gen Meatless Burgers: How Healthy Are They?

Next Gen Meatless Burgers: How Healthy Are They?

Meatless burgers that bleed and have the taste and mouthfeel of cooked ground beef are here to stay! Whether from restaurants or the grocery store, these next generation meat analog products are seemingly everywhere. Curious or health-conscious carnivores are happy to gobble down mock meat foods in an attempt to reduce their risk of cancer or heart disease while many vegetarians embrace the convenience of these prepared plant products. Now there are even blended patties combining beef with plant proteins to please every omnivore and flexitarian. 

Did you know? The first commercially available veggie patty was from an English “VegeBurgermix in 1982, according to www.Smithsonian.com. 

What’s in My Food?

Beef is from nature and beans are from nature But highly processed foodstuffs made from either of them aren’t as healthy and definitely aren’t considered natural. Fresh, lean red meat offers high-quality protein, is rich in niacin, selenium, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12, and is a good source of potassium. Unfortunately, the way typical Americans prepare ground beef – exposed to high heat until charred – creates compounds harmful to health1. With the newer meat analogs, there’s a concern over preservatives, sodium, additives like smoke flavor, artificial colors, and other factory-derived proprietary ingredients2.  

Sure, we can pick them apart individually* and talk about isolated ingredients, but it may be wise to focus on the bigger picture of one’s overall diet first3. Health agencies and experts most often recommend a varied diet rich in antioxidants and vegetables, moderate in fat, with adequate micronutrients, protein and fiber1. So, it makes a difference if these newer veggie burgers replace meat or take the place of raw plant foods, and how often they do so.  

There’s a growing body of research supporting the risks of red meat consumption1 and the health benefits of replacing animal proteins with plant proteins4. Compared to pure ground beef patties, plant-based burgers are naturally devoid of cholesterol and vitamin B12, may be lower in saturated fat, are higher in fiber, but are also higher in sodium3. Compared with traditional DIY veggie patty recipes that call for minimal ingredients (beans, grains, vegetables, and mushrooms), they’re lower in fiber and are higher in sodium.  

Notable Ingredients of Next Gen Meatless Burgers 

One of the major differences between the current next generation plant patties and other processed legume-based burgers (such as Morningstar Farm® Grillers) is in their appearance and texture to replicate the experience of eating meat. You can thank a few choice ingredients for the aroma, flavor and look of meat-like patties. 

Legume Protein

A side-by-side nutritional comparison showed that Impossible Burger, Beyond Burger, and 85% lean real beef have similar protein content (19-21 grams per 4 ounces)5. Soy and pea protein are the primary protein contributors in the new analogs, making them higher in protein than veggie burgers which never contained beans (such as Gardenburger® Original).  

Still, they differ from legumes in traditional bean-based burgers (e.g. BOCA burger, Dr. Praeger’s® Heirloom Bean) in that they are refined — and that’s not such a bad thing. Digestion of isolated proteins is slightly greater than whole plant food protein4 while the digestibility score of soy protein is about 97%, one of the highest for plant proteins. Isolating the protein from beans leaves out the natural factors that inhibit protein digestion4, so for the newer meatless patties there could be greater protein digestibility than from traditional whole bean burgers.  

Methylcellulose

A compound synthetically derived from methyl chloride treatment of cellulose, a plant cell structural component, it is used as a thickening and/or gelling agent in processed foods and as a natural laxative. As a high-viscosity fiber, some studies show methylcellulose may help blunt blood sugar response to a meal6 and relieve constipation.

Beets

A convincing meaty appearance often comes from the addition of beets which impart a vibrant color, mimicking the juiciness of beef. Omnivores and cross-over carnivores see the ‘bleed’ as a positive burger characteristic, just as most people expect grill marks on a patty. Beets offer not only color, but a sweet, earthy flavor and nutrients such as folate, manganese, potassium plus the antioxidant betaine.

Soy Leghemoglobin

Plant burgers with legume heme as a color additive may also sizzle and smell like real meat4. Legume hemoglobin (called legume heme for short) is a plant-derived oxygen carrier similar to blood hemoglobin and has a distinct red color which releases upon heating5. 

Sunflower Oil

It contains both mono and polyunsaturated fats, vitamin E, and cholesterol lowering phytosterols5. Sounds good but some studies have shown that it releases hazardous aldehydes when it’s used in high-heat cooking, such as frying5.

What’s the Verdict?

Overall, the newer meatless burgers provide a needed cross over for people wanting to incorporate more healthy plant-based foods by replacing the all-American favorite beef hamburger. For omnivores, these mock meats allow a seamless transition in the burger category. However, those already eating a (mainly) plant only diet may be better served by sticking to whole food ingredients for their health unless they have issues obtaining sufficient protein. 

* Numerous meatless burger products abound – too many to mention. Inclusion of or exclusion of any particular brand name does not imply recommendation against or endorsement for that brand’s product(s). Products mentioned are for consumer reference and comparison only. 

References: 

  1. Marsha McCulloch. Risks and Benefits of Red Meat. Today’s Dietitian, January 2016; 18(1): 2025.
  2. The Center for Consumer Freedom “5 Chemicals Lurking in Plant-Based Meats.” https://www.consumerfreedom.com/2019/05/5-chemicals-lurking-in-plant-based-meats/ May 17, 2019. Accessed 11/18/2019
  3. 3. Ginger Hultin. Meat Substitutes. Today’s Dietitian, June 2019; 21(6): 18-22.
  4. Sharon Palmer. Plant Proteins. Today’s Dietitian, February 2017; 19(2): 26-31.
  5. Anthea Levi. “Cracking Down on Fake Meat: Are the Impossible and Beyond Burgers Healthier Than Real Beef?”  https://www.livestrong.com/article/13721456-impossible-beyond-burger-nutrition/ September 18, 2019. Accessed 11/18/2019
  6. KC Maki, et al. Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose and Methylcellulose Consumption Reduce Postprandial Insulinemia in Overweight and Obese Men and Women.The Journal of Nutrition, February 2008; 138(2): 292–296.https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/138.2.292

The Right Recovery Drink for Your Workout | QA

The Right Recovery Drink for Your Workout | QA

Question:

What is the best type of recovery drink that can help my muscles recover quicker from exercising?

– David A.

Answer:

The optimum content of your recovery drink depends on the type of exercise, intensity and duration.  

  • For heavy resistance training you’ll want 10 to 20 grams quick-delivery protein, such as from concentrated whey, casein, albumin or soy in powdered or liquid form to prevent muscle breakdown and enhance repair. Micro-fractionated isolated protein, peptides or amino acids might be suitable after an extended weights workout. Still, some carbohydrate helps ‘push’ that protein into muscle cells where it’s needed. 
  • For an hour’s worth of high intensity interval training (HIIT) or circuit training which incorporate both aerobic work and strength, a diluted yogurt and fruit smoothie might be suitable. It has carbohydrates to replete, plus some protein and electrolytes to combat muscle soreness. 
  • For exercise that is lower intensity, such as for fitness or endurance, a glass of chocolate milk or protein-enhanced juice will help replenish electrolytes and glycogen stores

Stop by your club’s juice bar to see what’s likely to fit into your recovery nutrition. No matter what you choose, remember to consider portion/energy since some shakes can contain over 300 calories and may surpass what was burned during the exercise

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Micronutrients: How Much Do I Need? | QA

Micronutrients: How Much Do I Need? | QA

Question:

Good evening. I am a 53-year-old male and I was hearing that I should be taking fish oil, a multivitamin, B-12, vitamin D, magnesium, and creatine. Do you agree? And what do you recommend in terms of dosage for the fish oil, vitamin d, magnesium and creatine? Do you recommend any others as well? 

Thank you for your time.

– Jeff 

Answer:

If your multivitamin (usually has minerals too) supplement provides close to 100% of the Daily Value for micronutrients, then you probably don’t need additional vitamin B12 or D. Most “once daily” multi’s are meant to cover the bases of micronutrient needs, but they vary greatly. A quick glance at a few widely available products (Centrum for Men, One a Day Men’s Formula, Nature Made Multi for Him) reveals they are rather low in magnesium, which is on purpose because the risk of toxicity is greater from supplemental magnesium than from foods. Though the Daily Value for magnesium is 420 mg for men, the maximum advised from supplements is only 350 mg daily1. Get the remainder of your magnesium intake from good sources such as almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts, shredded wheat cereal, soymilk, black beans, edamame, peanut butter, wheat bread, avocado, baked potato, brown rice and plain yogurt1. 

Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). There is no set Adequate Intake for EPA and DHA, only for another omega-3: alpha lipoic acid (ALA) from plant sources2. It’s recommended to eat fish twice per week and walnuts, chia seed or flaxseed daily to obtain omega-3 naturally from the diet. Generally, a combined EPA+DHA dose of 300-500 mg per day is suggested for anti-inflammation but higher levels may be warranted for certain health conditions. For cardio protection there may be benefit for African-Americans and non-fish eaters to take 1,000 mg supplemental omega-3 daily3, and higher doses by prescription. 

Creatine works by providing ready energy for muscle contractions in the form of ATP. Whether or not you’d benefit from a creatine supplement depends on your exercise routine and goals. About 3-6 grams pre-workout has been shown to increase creatine stores and affect strength gains accompanying weight training4, and is relatively safe to take. You can get creatine from protein-rich foods and your body makes some, thus it’s not worth supplementing if you don’t participate in short duration high-intensity resistance exercise.  

References: 

  1. Magnesium – Health Professional’s Fact Sheet. (October 11, 2019) Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/  Accessed 12.30.2019
  2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Health Professional’s Fact Sheet. (October 17, 2019) Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/ Accessed 12.30.2019 
  3. Harvard Women’s Health Watch (April, 2019) Should You Be Taking An Omega-3 Supplement? https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-be-taking-an-omega-3-supplement  Accessed 12.30.2019 
  4. Hall, M and Trojian, TH. Creatine Supplementation. Current Sports Medicine Reports. July/August 2013; 12(4): 240–244.  doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31829cdff2 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Recommended Reading - Q+A

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