As more and more people become obese in this country, new approaches to weight loss continue to be introduced. While many of us want to blame genetics for excessive weight gain that we can’t control, there are actually several different factors that play a role in who becomes obese and who does not.
According to a review on obesity by Brinderjit Kaila MD and Maitreyl Raman MD, eating portions that are too large, eating too many of the wrong types of foods, and getting too little exercise are all part of the big picture. Associated health care costs are at an estimated $1,800,000,000 annually. This high price tag comes from treating the many different conditions that are more likely to occur in people who are obese including coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and many more.
There have been numerous studies performed to look at the best way to lose weight and to help people reduce obesity and the associated health risks. The study reviewed results from a number of those studies including those of people who followed a Weight Watchers plan that uses foods from the four food groups to create low calorie meals. Other studies compared included those of a low calorie diet (LCD), very low calorie diet (VLCD), low carb diet (Atkins), and a low-fat diet.
What they found was that although the low carb diet produced the best weight loss results, by the end of a year, the results leveled out. Overall, the greatest amount of weight loss was experienced by women who reduced the number of calories they ate from fat. Those that followed the Weight Watchers diet didn’t lose as much weight (5%) as those on the low fat or low carb diets but those individuals found it easier to maintain those results for extended periods of time.
Although individuals who followed the Weight Watchers diet did not lose significant amounts of weight, it was enough to make a significant improvement in some of their risk factors. It’s probably no surprise to anyone who has been on a diet in their lifetime that being able to stick to the diet plan is the determining factor in whether you lose weight or not. The fact that individuals were able to maintain the 5% weight loss that they experienced on the Weight Watchers diet and continued to improve their risk factors might make it the best choice for a number of women who haven’t had success with other weight loss plans and whose primary concern is with reducing their health risks.
Physical activity is another important component of a weight loss plan that works. In order to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. Leading a sedentary life is the cause of obesity. According to the review, exercise has been shown to play a significant role in reducing obesity but it works best in combination with a calorie restricting diet plan.
Other solutions to weight loss that were considered were through the use of drugs and surgery, all of which carry risks of side effects and which can be very expensive.
If you are fighting obesity, a low-carb, high-protein diet in combination with daily exercise would probably be the best plan for dropping the most weight during the first six months. Switching to a plan like Weight Watchers for maintenance might prevent you from regaining weight while maintaining your health benefits. Sticking to your plan is the most important factor towards losing weight and improving your health so find the right plan for you!