Why Weight Loss Resolutions Fail and How to Succeed

It is that time of year when people think about their health and their weight

It is that time of year when people think about their health and their weight

Weight loss is the most common New Year’s Resolution.  Year after year people make this resolution and fail by March.  Here are the top mistakes and top tips for sustainable weight loss.

Diet 101

A diet is designed to fail. You go on a diet for a few weeks, lose some weight, then resort back to the food that you ate before.

Diets don’t work for sustainable or long-term weight loss. But your body gets use to the diet mentality and the results are often that lost weight returns with even more weight.

HCG the scams

You’ve seen it- “medical weight loss.” Entire clinics are built around it. But HCG has never been shown to aid in weight loss – the highly restrictive diet they put you on does. For that see Diet 101.

Hopefully this place and places like it were shut down

The only problem is that HCG has been shown to NOT work and is not approved by the FDA for weight loss

How do we know HCG doesn’t work? A large study took patients and gave them either salt water or HCG.  The patient and the clinic staff didn’t know what the person received.  After the weight loss was over they checked results — and the placebo did better than HCG.

HCG is not approved by the FDA for marketing for weight loss. This is why you see some places market a “proprietary formula” for it.  Any doctor can prescribe it, but it is simply not useful and there is no prescription that is proprietary.

Pre Made Food

You’ve seen them – Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Medifast. All of them have food. All of them tell you they will teach you about how to live after the food. They all say it is about lifestyle.  They “coaches” and people to encourage you.  It works in the short-term and then in the long-term people are back or give up.

Many will buy these pre-made meals. They are not a long-term solution

Many will buy these pre-made meals. They are not a long-term solution

When you hear a commercial starting with “check with your doctor before starting a weight loss program,” you know that they are not a full service place and have no real plan to do anything but get you to buy stuff.

Some programs are sustainable and have a system where they get you back into regular food. We like Ideal Protein because it provides a transition point to actually get you off the program and into real life.

The Testimonial

You can lose weight with any diet, with any work-out plan, with any pre-made plan. The question is not weight loss – it is how to maintain it, it is how to change habits after it. Do you know how many “Biggest Loser” patients have regained weight?

The question is not what the person lost weight with – it is how long has the weight been gone? Do you remember those commercials with all the ESPN guys? Well, most of them have regained their weight after taking the prepared foods for a few months.

What about the Gym?

Starting an exercise program is ok- talk to your doctor first

Exercise is important – but if you don’t eat better it won’t work

Most experts agree – the vast majority of weight loss happens when you eat better – about 95% from nutrition. Eat better – and lose some weight. Gym memberships soar in January – and then people fall away, discouraged. This year change the resolution to join the gym after the first few pounds from eating better.

The Key is Sustainable Weight Loss

Losing weight is hard, but keeping it off for the long-term is hard. 98% of people who lose weight regain it within two years, and often gain more weight than they lost.  What can you do to lose it and keep it off?

What Resolutions To Make

Eat great food 

A whole roasted chicken is amazing

A whole roasted chicken is amazing

Do you eat out a lot? Instead of going to the same places and ordering the same food – consider going to places where really good food is made and trying something new. Great food made by great chefs isn’t expensive, but it is delicious. It is often nutritious.

Avoid eating out at the chain restaurants. They give you lots of cheap food filled with sugar, fat, and salt.

Learn to Cook

If my son can cook - you can get off formula

If my son can cook – you can get off formula

The easiest way to truly change your life is in your kitchen. If you eat at home it will cost you less, it will take less time, and you will eat better food. You will have less of a chance of food borne illness and control the food that you and your family eat.

Bring Lunch

Ok maybe my lunch box is different than yours...

Ok maybe my lunch box is different than yours…

You remember those lunch boxes? Some of the vintage ones are making a comeback. But now you can get ones that are insulated, you can keep your food hot or cold. Whether you are having a bowl of home-made chili or making your own version of chicken salad from the Sous Vide chicken breast you made – you can be certain that your food will be healthier and better.  You can even bring a package of frozen broccoli and heat it up in the local microwave.

Vegetables are Good

Low in calories and high in nutrition

Low in calories and high in nutrition

There are over 10,000 types of edible plants, and how many can you name? Turns out the majority of what we eat are about twenty of them. How many can you cook? Did you know many grocery stores have frozen vegetables with various sauces that you can put into a microwave and have ready in a few minutes?

Easy to microwave - get your source of vegetables fresh and delicious

Easy to microwave – get your source of vegetables fresh and delicious

Vegetables provide the nutrition for you that is better than whole grains, provides a lot of good food for the “good bacteria” that facilitate repair of your gut and protect you from cancer.

I judge great restaurants by how appealing they make their vegetables. Like Tarbell’s, makes great vegetables in unique ways.  I go to eat there just for the vegetables to find out how to make them.

Don’t fear Red Meat

Here are four ounces of steak on a large dinner plate. Behind them are 12 ounces of green beans, with a mustard sauce.

Here are four ounces of steak on a large dinner plate. Behind them are 12 ounces of green beans, with a mustard sauce.

Not eating red meat isn’t a “healthy choice.” In spite of its bad reputation beef can provide you with a great source of iron, minerals, and vegetables.

Fresh Fish For Your Heart

Salmon

That night they did magic with the salmon I brought

Don’t take fish oil capsules- they don’t work. What does? Eating fish twice a week – like salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout, anchovies. All of those are oily fish packed with the omega-3 fatty acids your body needs.  People who eat fatty fish at least twice a week have 10 times lower incidence of heart failure.

Specialty US canned tuna that is frequently tested for mercury is safe to eat. This brand, Oregon's Choice, submits their samples for testing frequently

Specialty US canned tuna that is frequently tested for mercury is safe to eat. This brand, Oregon’s Choice, submits their samples for testing frequently

Salmon is ok fresh or farmed – just get it fresh. Get good sources of tuna (like Oregon’s choice).

Forget Yogurt

Its Greek and full of sugar

Its Greek and full of sugar

Greek doesn’t mean it is healthy. Often yogurts contain more sugars than ice cream. It isn’t healthy, it is just having dessert for breakfast. Think cottage cheese if you want some dairy for breakfast, or even a bit of cheese.

Forget Breakfast Cereal

They don't contain fruit

They don’t contain fruit

Too much sugar, and not as healthy as some other foods. Instead consider eggs, especially those that have an increase level of omega-3 fatty acids. The eggs cost a bit more but they are worth it.

Protein Bars are a Bust

It is hard to imagine that a protein bar is "bad" - it sounds good. And for years the poor potato has been abused by weight loss books everywhere. But which fills you up? So think about this - someone is trying to sell you something...

It is hard to imagine that a protein bar is “bad” – it sounds good. And for years the poor potato has been abused by weight loss books everywhere. But which fills you up? So think about this – someone is trying to sell you something…

Most protein bars try to fool you with “net carbs.” They subtract the fiber and say they are lower in net carbs or sugar. The body doesn’t work that way. Most protein bars have more sugar than a Snicker’s bar without the flavor. If you think you need protein, consider getting some tuna, or a slice of deli meat. It will be more tasty and easier. If you want something easy to carry consider taking almonds, cashews, or walnuts with you – an easy snack.

Spread Your Calories Around and Early

Don’t eat late, and don’t eat all your calories in one meal. Instead consider spreading the calories around over a couple of meals. Earlier eating seems to be associated with better weight loss.  Plus, you don’t go to bed feeling over stuffed and risking a night of heart burn.  If you consume most of your calories at night your body has two choices to do with the excess calories– store them or burn them. Most of them will be stored. Take half of those calories and eat them for lunch.  Don’t eat three hours before bed, no night-time snacking.

 

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and went to medical school. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit www.terrysimpson.com.

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