Well, is there anyone out there who does not want to lose weight?
May be a few. But the vast majority of the people are overweight. And many of them are trying to lose weight. They jump from diet to diet and get frustrated. They try different kinds of exercises and eventually give up because they cannot sustain the discipline of life long healthy eating and exercising.
For many years there has been a debate about the best diet for weight loss. Any diet will work for you if you stick to the demands of the diet. Variety is the spice of life hence people get tired of eating the same sort of food everyday. They need to go out with family members and friends to try different dishes. Many people find wining and dinning satisfying and socially invigorating. Most diets eventually become boring and monotonous.
Doing regular exercise is essential part of any weight loss program. Once people achieve their weight loss then they lose the enthusiasm and slack off. That is when they start putting on weight.
So, the question is how much exercise do you have to do to maintain the weight loss?
“Effect of Exercise on 24-Month Weight Loss Maintenance in Overweight Women,” is an article which was recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. For two years the authors of the article studied 201 overweight and obese women with body mass index of 27 to 40, with age range of 21 to 45 years.
The participants were told to reduce calorie intake to 1200 to 1500 calories per day. They were also randomized to one of four physical activity intervention groups based on energy expenditure (either 1,000 calories or 2,000 calories burned per week) and exercise intensity (high vs. moderate).
The results were interesting.
They found weight loss did not differ among the randomized groups. At six months the weight loss was about 10 per cent of initial body weight. At 24 months the weight loss was five per cent of initial body weight.
They also found that by the end of the 24-month intervention, the women who managed to lose at least 10 per cent of their starting body weight and managed to keep it off were exercising twice as long as and burning more than twice as many calories through exercise as women who had no change in body weight. More they exercised, more they lost weight. Women who lost the most weight exercised 68 minutes a day, five days a week.
One of the conclusions was: exercise was more strongly associated with weight loss than any other factor, including diet. Over an hour of sustained exercise most of the days is required to burn enough calories to maintain weight loss. This should be combined with reduced calorie intake. Conventional advice of half-an-hour of moderate exercise does not help lose weight nor maintain weight loss.
The biggest challenge is to stick to a healthy weight reducing diet and overcome obstacles to regular exercise. One way to avoid slacking off is to join some existing programs or get few friends together and form a group of your own – call it “a happy hour group”.
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