With
over two-thirds of American adults overweight or obese, many people are
searching for ways to lose weight – and possibly decrease the risk of
cancer at the same time. According to some recently-published studies,
the key to shedding pounds and keeping them off may lie in our everyday
habits.

Here are three behavioral strategies that may help:

Pick Up a Pen: Tracking what you eat in a food diary can lead to shedding more pounds, according to a study published this month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
In the study, approximately 1,700 participants were asked to restrict
calories, exercise at moderate intensity levels, attend group sessions,
and follow a diet high in fruit and vegetables aimed at stopping
hypertension (the DASH diet). After six months, more than two-thirds of
the participants lost at least nine pounds. The biggest weight loss was
experienced by those who kept the most extensive food records every
week. Other behaviors associated with increased weight loss include
more minutes spent exercising and attending group sessions.


Avoid Weekend Pitfalls:
Does this sound like you? Weekdays it’s a healthy pattern of
calorie-cutting and exercising: weekends, not so much. This pattern,
according to a study published in this month’s Obesity,
may be the reason behind your slower-than-expected weight loss. In the
study, 48 adults were assigned to two groups for a year – one group
that restricted calories, and one that exercised daily. Daily weight
changes, calorie intake, and activity levels were measured for weekends
and weekdays. During weekdays, both groups were burning more calories
than they were consuming, which leads to weight loss. Yet on weekends,
both groups ate more calories compared to weekday consumption and the
exercise group was less active, which prevented them from losing weight.

Integrate Small Changes: Whether
it’s adding one more vegetable or another hundred steps to your day, a
new study suggests that focusing on small, cumulative changes can make
significant differences in weight loss and maintenance. Published in
the Annals of Behavioral Medicine,
the study compared weight loss and maintenance between a standard
weight loss group, and a group that selected healthful, small changes
that would fit into the individuals’ lives. Both groups received the
same amount of time with counselors and exercise training programs over
the course of four months. After another three months of no meetings,
the small-change group kept significantly more weight off than the
standard-diet group.

A Healthy Weight for Health

The
record numbers of overweight people today come at a time when the
evidence linking excess body fat to cancer risk is stronger than ever
before. AICR’s expert report found that carrying excess body fat is
convincingly associated to an increased risk of six types of cancer,
including pancreatic, colorectal, and post-menopausal breast cancer.

Yet
while the end goal of reaching a healthy weight may be the same,
nutritionists agree there is no one correct way to reach that goal. “In
the struggle to lose weight, every individual faces their own unique
motivators and barriers,” says AICR Nutritionist Sarah Wally. “Not
every weight loss strategy will work for every person, but
experimenting with different behavioral approaches allows you to find
the one(s) that best suits your needs.”

Submitted by Sherri Meyer, MS, RD
Source: AICR.org