Seven tips to boost weight loss in 2013—based on Fred Hutch’s research
By Colleen Steelquist, Hutchinson Center Science Editor
Like many folks this time of year, I brush the sugar cookie crumbs off my lap and regret those umpteen cups of eggnog as I peek over my jiggling midriff at the telltale numbers on the bathroom scale. Ahh, January! Time to start indulging in kale and whole grains and put on my running shoes.
It isn’t all about vanity and the snugness of my waistband. Many studies have shown obesity increases cancer risk. Obesity is linked with about 100,000 cancer deaths in the U.S. each year.
So even though it sounds cliché, weight loss is one of my new year’s resolutions (along with almost 40 percent of Americans). Recently, a psychological journal published a study that found people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t. That makes me feel successful before I’ve even begun!
It isn’t easy to lose weight and keep it off, but it’s one of the best things you can do for your health. Try these evidence-based tips from Fred Hutch researchers:
- Exercise daily for at least 30 to 60 minutes, either all at once or in short intervals.
- Prepare meals instead of eating out so you can control portion sizes and preparation methods.
- Set realistic goals, aiming for slow, steady weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week. said Dr. Caitlin Mason, a Center exercise and health researcher. “The biggest mistake people make when trying to lose weight is trying to lose too many pounds too fast or setting unrealistic goals,” Mason said. “No one wants to lose weight only to gain it all back—and often more—a few months later.”
- Avoid skipping meals so you won’t be tempted to eat anything in sight.
- Don’t take an all-or-nothing approach; if you get derailed, try new strategies the next time. “Don’t throw your entire routine out the window after one bad day,” Mason said. “Instead, try to identify the specific barriers that got in your way and think through strategies to avoid such challenges in the future.” For example, to avoid the temptation of buying a candy bar while standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, make sure to eat a healthy snack beforehand, such as a handful of nuts or a piece of string cheese.
- Set specific goals like eating nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day or drinking six glasses of water daily.
- Keep a journal to honestly and consistently track calories consumed, activity and weight.
Here’s to a healthy, happy 2013!