What qualifies as healthy weight loss?Unlike the methods mentioned above that can do more harm than good, healthy weight loss is a positive and transformative process. It is a journey to lose weight and experience the other life-saving benefits that come along with it, such as lower blood sugar and reduced cholesterol.
Good weight-loss tips should never involve pills, surgeries, negative side effects, gimmicks or dangerous lifestyle changes. Healthy weight loss centers around a new way of life, one through which you can become the best version of yourself. Though, it is important to remember that not all weight-loss journeys look the same.
"For many people, slower weight loss is healthier. But it's important to understand that everyone's journey is individual," emphasized Dr. Tom Rifai, MD, FACP, Regional Medical Director of Metabolic Health & Weight Management at Henry Ford Health System in Michigan, and member of the Pritikin Scientific Advisory Board.
As people lose weight at their own pace and in their own way, it can be a struggle for some to maintain their new lifestyle, especially if they hit a weight-loss plateau or are intrigued by fad diets promising instant results. For example, there are always new studies emerging about how one food group or another can cause significant weight loss. Recently, one clinical study concluded that dairy products help you shed more pounds and burn more fat than just cutting back on calories.
This information may make you feel like you should go out and grab a gallon on milk, until you dig a little deeper. Not only did the study only focus on 21 people, but it was also funded by the National Dairy Council! Then, another researcher, Dr. Jean Harvey-Berino, professor and chairwoman of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Vermont, conducted a larger-scale study into the potential weight-loss benefits of dairy, she found dairy products are not more effective at helping people lose weight.
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"Whether dairy foods can really enhance weight loss is unclear. Any claims to this effect are based on thin evidence," explained Dr. Jay Kenney, nutrition research specialist at the Pritikin Longevity Center. "But certainly, the use of moderate amounts of nonfat dairy products as part of a weight control diet seems reasonable. Because of their low calorie density and high protein content, nonfat dairy foods appear to provide more satiety per calorie than other foods, which means they'll help you fill up on fewer calories. And since people, especially women, tend to lose bone density when they diet, it makes sense to include a moderate amount of calcium-rich foods in a weight-loss diet."
The bottom line is, be careful when you hear claims about the newest and greatest way to get rid of extra weight. After all, exercise and a healthy diet are still two of the best ways to promote long-term weight loss.
BOTH diet and exercise are important
But if you think all you have to do is exercise frequently and then you can eat whatever you want? Maybe this worked in your early 20s, but the National Weight Control Registry has followed over 10,000 Americans for years who lost weight and kept it off. The researchers found that only 1 percent of their participants kept their weight off with exercise alone, 10 percent did so with just a diet and a whopping 89 percent did so when they combined both practices.
Despite these findings, this does not mean that exercise is not important on its own. Physical activity is proven to offer a multitude of benefits in addition to weight loss, such as decreasing stress, increasing mental sharpness, reducing the risk of strokes and improving general wellbeing. Yet, it is vital to keep in mind that you must focus on eating healthy first. After all, you will only lose weight if your calorie intake is less than that of your output.
How do I know what is the right weight-loss approach for me?
To separate fact from fiction when it comes to weight-loss tips, you must remember that balance and persistence are key. Weight loss should be a lifestyle change, not a quick fix or way to drop the pounds quickly – and then gain them all back the next month. At the Pritikin Longevity Center, thousands of people have found lasting change through our three pillar approach to weight loss: effective exercise, a health-centered eating plan and a healthy mindset.
Instead of encouraging people to eat less, the Pritikin staff encourages them to put more good foods on their plates. Instead of solely focusing on cutting out the bad, Pritikin people eat plenty of fresh produce, water-rich whole grains, starchy vegetables, legumes, nonfat dairy and lean animal foods.
Then, when paired with regular exercise and mindful lifestyle practices, participants find that our unique approach really works. After helping more than 100,000 guests at the Pritikin Center and millions more people worldwide, you don't have to take our word for it: You can read the success stories yourself.