IN THE 1995 comedy “Heavyweights,” an obese teenage boy named Gerry is sent to a weight-loss camp. When a psycho trainer tries to coerce the kids into doing punishing workouts, the campers imprison him and then gorge on junk food. Clearly, such ferocious weight-loss efforts backfire big time — and not just in the movies.
Research published in JAMA shows that from 1999 to 2016 an ever-increasing number of Americans 40 to 65 were trying to lose weight (up from 34% to 42% of the population). Ironically, at the same time, their weight was going up, not down, from a BMI of 30.5 (obese) to 31.9 (more obese). Holy frustration!
Clearly, whatever folks are doing to lose weight isn’t working (reduce calorie intake, exercise and drinking a lot of water were the top three techniques reported). So what should you try?
• Go for a lifestyle change, not a sensory deprivation experience. Don’t go cold-turkey with unhealthy habits. Give up a bad-for-you food every couple of weeks — no processed meats (bye-bye pepperoni) or no added sugars (so long sodas), for example. Replace a bad habit with a healthy habit. Instead of an after-dinner snack do an after-dinner walk.
• No extremely low calorie diets. Stick with around 2,000-2,300 calories a day with the right nutritional components. Eat 75% of your daily calories before 3 p.m.
• Move more. Get a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic activity daily.
• Chew bites well. Research finds that chewing for longer helps you eat less overall.