Wellbeing: Seven ways to avoid weight regain

Eat breakfast
Skipping breakfast means you are more likely to gain pounds you had lost, according to researchers at Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham University. In a study published earlier this year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Hamid Farshchi and his colleagues found that women who were asked to skip their morning meal for two weeks ate on average 100 calories more during the rest of the day than those who ate a bowl of high-fibre cereal. The breakfast skippers also experienced a rise in their cholesterol levels. Over time, Farshchi said, those extra calories would lead to weight regain.

Don't obsess over labels
In a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Dr Linda Bacon of the University of California's department of nutrition assigned 78 overweight women to either a diet or non-diet group. Dieters were given information on how to read food labels accurately. The other group was taught to pay attention to internal hunger cues, but ate what they liked. After two years, 42% of the diet group had dropped out, compared with 8% of the others. Both groups lost 5.2% of their body weight after the first six weeks, but the dieters regained it by the end of the two-year study.

Eat low fat/high protein for life
In a study in June's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dr Manny Noakes of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation put 120 overweight women on a diet of either high protein and low fat or high carbohydrate and low fat. After 23 weeks, all the women were lighter, but those on the high-protein diet lost 25% more weight (around 20lbs) than their high-carb counterparts. "Protein can affect appetite regulation in the brain," Noakes says. "So, three hours after a meal, you are going to feel far less hungry after eating a lot of protein than if you ate the same number of calories from carbohydrate. It is a diet approach for life."

Take up yoga
It may not be as lung-busting as a gym session, but a daily yoga class on top of other activities (such as walking or swimming) could help you avoid pounds creeping back on. In August, Dr Alan Kristal, associate director of the cancer prevention programme at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, reported in the Journal Alternative Therapies that yoga postures can help people maintain weight loss. How? Yoga practitioners consistently reported feeling "more connected" to their bodies, which may reduce food intake by enhancing awareness of internal hunger cues, Kristal said.

Be progressive
If exercise has helped you to lose weight, be prepared to do more to keep it off. In a paper entitled Strategies for the Prevention of Weight Regain for Adults, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) outlines that to lose weight the average person needs to do four and a half hours of moderate activity a week (which will burn 2,000 calories) as well as reduce the amount of food they consume. But to maintain your slim-line physique, you must gradually increase the duration or intensity of your workouts. Changing your routine so that you use different muscle groups, doing a longer run or a faster walk are all good options.

Go for a walk
If you're not a gym person, maintaining your ideal weight could come down to adding a brisk lunchtime walk into your regime, according to researchers at Duke University in Baltimore. In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine last year, they found adults who were no longer on a diet because they had reached their target weight needed only a small amount of exercise - the equivalent of a half-hour fast walk each day - to prevent weight regain. People who did no exercise regained around 2.5lbs in eight months, but 73% of those who walked were able to maintain weight or lose a few pounds.

Don't go too low
Too great a restriction of calories may help you to lose weight initially, but it also means you are more likely to pile back the pounds more quickly. A survey of 4,000 men and women by the British Dietetic Association last year found that most people are obsessed with quick-fix and very low calorie diets. But a third of those who follow them end up regaining any weight they have lost - and more. In fact, the BDA found, 10% of those who regain weight after dieting put on up to a stone on top of their pre-diet weight. Lis Anderson, a BDA spokesperson, says faddy diets are too severe. "People get fed up and go back to having a few treats. In addition, often they haven't involved exercise in their weight-loss plan, so they do put on weight." A realistic weight loss is 1-2lbs a week achieved on a diet of 1,000-1,500 calories.

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.


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