Nutrition, Exercise and Psyche Matter Most for Weight Loss
View All Section Pages
Americans continue to get heavier. People have higher BMIs, are more sedentary, are eating fast food too often and generally make poor decisions when it comes to health and fitness. Weight gain can cause hypertension and prediabetes, and increases one’s risk of chronic disease. Additionally, low back pain and degeneration of knees and hips can be effects of carrying excess weight. According to Camron Nelson, MD, President and CEO of Cooper Clinic, “the biggest driver of ill-health in our society is weight.”
Weight Loss Isn’t About Weight Loss
“Weight loss is not about weight loss,” says Dr. Nelson. “It’s about doing the right thing and living a healthy lifestyle, and weight loss is a natural result.” Cooper Clinic’s weight loss program is a comprehensive program based on the fundamentals of healthy eating, exercise and behavior modification. According to Dr. Nelson, ignoring any one of these pieces to the weight loss puzzle can result in failure. “Weight loss is about learning the right information about being healthy and putting it into action–doing the ‘right things’ and making the right choices–and the weight loss follows.”
Fueling Your Body
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is the key to fueling your body properly and keeping a healthy weight. “Portion size is a huge issue in America,” says Dr. Nelson. “If you go overseas, you’ll realize that portions are half the size as they are here, and in effect, most people are of a healthy size and weight.” Working with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to learn how to eat correct portions and the right combination of carbohydrates, proteins, fruits and vegetables can set you on track for nutrition success.
Fad and “jumpstart” diets may help a person lose weight quickly due to extreme calorie restriction, but Dr. Nelson notes this can be even less healthy than staying at a higher weight. “You may lose pounds from this form of dieting, but most people are unable to exercise because they don’t feel well from the calorie restriction,” he explains. “After 30 days, the person may lose 15 pounds, then regain 18 as soon as the diet is over–this fluctuation is unhealthy.”
Elevate Your Heart Rate
When it comes to exercise, Dr. Nelson recognizes that consistently incorporating physical activity can be a huge challenge for many people. However, he is adamant that if you aren’t currently doing any form of exercise, you should start. This doesn’t mean you have to immediately begin training for a marathon. Instead, set realistic goals and don’t miss out on opportunities to be active. For example, if you already take a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood each afternoon, burn a few more calories by picking up your pace and elevating your heart rate on each walk. Eventually you can work your way up to more intensive exercises.
What Makes You Tick?
Have you ever thought about why you do something, the reasoning behind it? For example, many people may overeat to cope with stress, boredom, loneliness or depression. Changing this behavior is just as important for achieving weight loss goals as is nutrition and exercise. Behavior modification is the third pillar that can help keep weight loss efforts stable and long-term.
“If you’re trying to lose weight, you must look to your psyche,” says Dr. Nelson. “What makes you tick? At some point, every person can benefit from a third party viewpoint, which is why we have incorporated a behavior psychologist into our weight loss program.”
Working through certain behaviors and the reasoning behind them can be painful and personal, but is a crucial step toward adhering to a well-rounded and sustainable weight loss plan.
Losing is Winning
After losing weight, maintaining the weight loss can be challenging. However, Dr. Nelson points out once people feel better and begin enjoying the positive effects of weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle, they often stay committed so they don't revert to their old habits. “People can get acclimated to being in poor health over time,” says Dr. Nelson. “Many people have no idea they feel bad until they lose weight and start feeling good again.”
Losing just 10-15 pounds can lead to gaining control of hypertension and lessen the need for blood pressure medication. Additionally, prediabetics may go back to normal, and in some cases diabetics may require less medication or their diabetes may go away altogether. These improvements have a huge impact on a person’s quality of life and risk of chronic disease.
Focusing on the three core aspects of weight loss–nutrition, exercise and behavior modification–can improve your health and quality of life. “Accountability is key, and there is no ‘quick fix’ for weight loss,” explains Dr. Nelson. “It is a gradual process to resolve core issues, which is why a clinically sound and foundational program is the best option to help you reach your goals.”
For more information about Cooper Weight Loss, visit cooperweightloss.com or call 844.862.8236.
Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications