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There is a cleverly marketed product for everything these days. Don't agree, do a quick Google search and you will quickly find a laundry-list of thing after thing declaring to be the ideal solution for your current dilemma, need or even your deepest desire.
Now ask yourself, is another e-book or thing really what you need?
Let's take a direct look at the field I'm in: fitness and weight loss.
In the real world, not the MTV television show, "The Real World”, change takes a lot of hard work and determination. It might even involve you getting sweaty. Scary, I know, but finding an easy and fast weight loss solution is seldom the best option for you.
Most people fail when trying to quickly lose weight or change their eating and exercise habits. For example, it is well known that many gyms intentionally oversell memberships due to the high dropout rates by consumers. To make matters worse, as I write this, the obesity epidemic is only growing and so are the manufactures of weight loss wonder products and miracle diet pills. You already know where I am going with this, right?
No matter if you hated running the timed mile in middle school or not, your 5th grade gym teacher was right, you need to focus on the good old fashion fitness basics. I know that is not nearly as appealing or sexy as me telling you about some revolutionary fat-melting formula that we have uncovered and for only three easy installments of...
So, what is the ideal weight loss solution for you?
You don't need a patent pending weight loss product or secret fitness system; you need a realistic plan that you can manage and that fits into your life. Popping a supplement that was found in the mystic trees of the Amazon Rain Forest is never going to work, I promise.
On that note, let's look at what research has to say on this subject. Who knows, maybe there is a mystical diet solution out there that research can teach us about and I can become a zillionaire after discovering it.
Solutions for Weight Loss, What Truly Works?
As you may have guessed, I didn't uncovered any world-shattering weight loss mysteries, or discover any native plants that only the indigenous people of Southern New Guinea use. Nevertheless, while weeding through hundreds of research articles, I did find one that was truly remarkable about The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR, http://www.nwcr.ws/). They have conducted one of the longest longitudinal weight loss studies and have identified the variables used by people that have successfully maintained their weight loss... a lot of weight loss. Try to the tune of over 72 whopping pounds per person and even more impressive, they have kept it off for more than five years time. That's pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.
Here are the variables that made all the difference and my suggestions based on their research.
Exercise for their Weight Loss
The NWCR subjects exercised and exercised some more. They committed to exercise, on average, for one hour every single day.
My suggestions based on those finding? Try to move more every single day and commit to getting more active. I know that one hour daily is not exactly realistic for everyone. I also think you should make your exercise program as fun as possible. Doing so should make it a lot easier to stick with. For example. try playing tag with your kids daily or even chasing them around the house or yard. I know some families that dance in the kitchen!
Diet Used for their Weight Loss
The NWCR people consumed a reduced calorie diet with low-fat foods. Surprised?
I would recommend weighing in at least once per week on the same scale. This will help hold you accountable, give you a baseline and a method for gauging your progress. Keep in mind that weight is not everything, and I would also suggest that you take your body measurements to help you further monitor your success and changes.
Maintain your Diet Plan on Weekdays and Weekends
Not only did they eat fewer calories, but the NWCR subjects were consistent with their meal planning, regardless if on the weekend or during the week.
Many individuals fall off their plan when there is less structure, like on the weekend or when they get home from work. You should plan specifically for these problem times and have an action plan in place, so that you can quickly get back on track.
Some additional honorable mentions that the NWCR group reported: maintaining weight may get easier with time, and after two - five years, the odds of keeping the weight off increases substantially. Exercise and diet plan compliance, lower rates of disinhibition and depression, and medical triggers to lose weight all were highly correlated with lasting results.
To recap, the findings of the NWCR study make a lot of good common sense. Like always, consistency, hard-work, measurement and compliance are keys for long-term weight loss results.
We at changingshape.com, a team of online personal trainers, believe that it is also critical to setup realistic exercise and dietary programs for our clients. If you are looking for someone to take care of all the complexities of program design, once you join, we will work to develop a plan that fits into your specific lifestyle and that you can manage on a weekly basis.