Is losing weight one of your 2017 New Year’s resolutions? Be honest, you won’t be alone. Gyms and parks worldwide (and the Lekki bridge in Lagos!) are full of people frantically exercising in January, who’ll give up by the end of February.
Something you should know before you start is that 70% of people who lose weight on a diet gain it all back within two years. It is hard work losing weight and just as difficult to maintain the weight loss.
Your resting metabolism (the energy you burn to run your body function) is mostly responsible for your weight – how much you weigh, how quickly you put on weight and how efficiently you lose weight. Age, gender, genetics, how much muscle mass you have, and your body frame, all play a part in determining your metabolism.
We all burn energy or calories in three ways daily:
- Basal, or resting metabolism – energy used for our body’s basic functioning (60-80% of your total daily energy consumption)
- Energy used to digest food (10% of your total daily energy consumption)
- Energy used in physical activities (10-30% of your total daily energy consumption)
Diet gimmicks and dangers
Beware of gimmicks that claim to “speed” up your metabolism for faster weight loss – supplements, green tea, and eating certain kinds of foods like coffee and chili pepper. Only building more muscle mass and reducing your body fat can increase your metabolism because muscle uses up more energy at rest than fat. The more muscle you have, the higher your basal metabolism. Increasing your physical activity by exercising daily will also cause you to burn more calories. Dieting, on the other hand, slows down your metabolism as your body fights to hold on to the weight.
The problem with diets is that they are short-term and when you go “on a diet” you have a short-term mindset. You plan to diet for a specified length of time – for example, from now until your 40th birthday party or until your weight loss goal is met. In contrast, a long-term mindset is necessary for maintaining weight loss. The short-term outlook of dieting will fail woefully when it’s time to keep the weight off for good.
The result of studies done regarding what helps those who are successful in keeping weight loss off for more than two years is eye-opening. Findings show that:
- They weigh themselves at least once a week.
- They exercise regularly with varying intensity – walking is the most common exercise
- They limit their calorie intake, avoid high-fat foods, and monitor their portion sizes.
- They tend to eat breakfast rather than skipping it
- They count calories
Simply put, they work hard on changing their eating habits and make regular exercise a part of life.
2017 is an opportunity to gain control once and for all over your health. View your planned weight loss as an important step in achieving a healthy lifestyle, changing your eating habits for better and maintaining a healthy weight for the long run. Do your homework on exercise and healthy nutrition, get the right support and make that commitment today. You can do it!!