- Approximately 49.3 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 and over have made attempts to lose weight in the past year, a noteworthy increase from 43 percent back in 2007-2008.
- This rise in awareness and concern about obesity is associated with sedentary lifestyle patterns, eating out more often, higher stress levels, and inadequate sleep.
- Registered Dietitians like Stephanie Schiff and Sharon Zarabi advise to avoid temporary diets and instead adopt long-term healthy lifestyle changes to effectively drop unwanted weight and maintain a healthy weight.
- Schiff suggests that an optimal dietary approach includes: focusing on plant-based foods, removing processed foods, and minimizing potential sources of temptation in our daily environments.
- While exercise promotes weight loss, its true value is in enhancing overall health and strength, amidst a focus on lifestyle modification over dieting.
In recent years, an increasing number of adults across America are stepping up their efforts to combat the expanding issue of obesity.
Overall, approximately 49.3 percent of adults aged 20 and over have confirmed that they have made attempts to lose weight in the last year, according to U.S. health governance.
A Rising Trend in Weight Loss Attempts
These figures, which are based on nationwide health surveys conducted during 2015 and 2016, demonstrate a remarkable rise from previous findings. For instance, back in 2007-2008, only 43 percent of American adults were actively trying to get in shape. However, these numbers show a steady increase, year by year.
While weight loss efforts were found to be more prominent in women (56.3 percent) compared to men (42.2 percent), the rates of increase have demonstrated a consistent upward trend for both genders.
Why are Weight Concerns Mounting?
So what has triggered a marked rise in awareness and concern about obesity among Americans? According to Stephanie Schiff*, a Registered Dietitian, there are several underlying causes.
Firstly, she points out, people have become more sedentary than any other time in history. More often than not, entertainment is sought on a couch, in front of screens.
Secondly, fewer people are cooking for themselves, and more people are eating out, Schiff said. This lack of control over what goes into meals means higher fat, sugar, and salt intake.
Surging stress levels can destabilize our metabolism, leading to overeating. Insufficient sleep, another common issue, is a known risk factor leading to poor food choices, Schiff added.
Keys to Effective Weight Loss
What’s the most effective way to shed those extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight? Sharon Zarabi, a Registered Dietitian suggests that adopting lifelong healthy habits is crucial, rather than seeking out a quick fix.
Zarabi advises against the usage of the term ‘diet’ as it represents a temporary plan based on food intake. Instead, she recommends focusing on living healthily, which involves establishing new rituals to promote long-term wellness.
Implementing lifestyle changes rather than merely following a diet can help keep the unwanted weight off. Schiff is in agreement with this viewpoint.
She has seen that even the most unconventional diets can work to reduce weight, but those pounds tend to return over time. “Because eating only 500 calories a day may not be sustainable, or eating only certain foods for your blood type,” Schiff clarified.
The real solution is finding a method of eating that is natural, sustainable and fulfills the individual over the long term. That includes consuming foods you actually relish.
“Choosing plant-based foods and refraining from consuming refined sugars, refined flour and chemically processed foods can yield the best results,” Schiff said.
Sometimes the environment needs to be tweaked. This could mean removing certain temptations from your house, particularly foods over which you have no control, or foods that you consume simply because they are available.
The main takeaway here is to “implement changes that are realistically sustainable for the long haul,” she said.
But let’s not forget the importance of physical activity. While exercise can boost weight loss efforts, its real value lies in optimising overall health and strength. Regular exercise, particularly resistance training, ensures that any potential weight gain comprises healthy muscle rather than fat, Schiff noted.
Where to Find More Resources
For more information on managing your weight in a wholesome and sustainable manner, you are welcome to visit the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s online resource.
* Please note that Stephanie Schiff’s affiliation with Northwell Health’s Huntington Hospital, in Huntington, N.Y, was mentioned in the original article which is not referenced here to maintain brand neutrality.