What is the Right Way the Lose Weight?

In the last decade, the U.S. has become increasingly conscious of its own weight. From new diets, to government policy and even television shows, the stress has been on the importance of “losing weight”. But should losing weight be the only goal? It’s looking more and more likely that Americans might just be approaching the issue wrong.

A recent Food and Health survey conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation shows that about 77% of Americans want to and are trying to lose weight. The only problem is, about 70% of Americans are still obese.

So how can this be? By focusing solely on losing weight, people forget that the real goal is living a healthier life. This includes changing the way you eat, changing the way you move and changing the way you look at life. A results driven mentality of “I have to lose a X amount of weight” fails to address the fundamental principles of healthy living.

If we adopt a more broad approach to losing weight – that we want to become healthier people and live happier lives, we allow ourselves more space and flexibility to change our habits over time. This includes not only eating healthier, but learning to eat less and stay active on a regular basis.  Weight loss shouldn’t be the goal, rather it should be the byproduct of a healthy and active lifestyle. This includes moving naturally, eating wisely, and engaging with the right tribe, the fundamental principles of the Blue Zones way of life.

So what should you do? Try these simple Blue Zones® approved tips to help direct you to healthier lifestyle.

1) Eat with Family

Why do it: Adolescents who eat dinner with their family are 15 percent less likely to become obese (1). In addition, research shows that family meals positively influence family communication, development of healthy eating patterns in children, and school performance.

2) Use smaller plates

Why do it: Eating on 10” plates promotes eating in smaller proportions. Over the last 20 years, the average U.S. dinner plate has grown to over 12 inches. During the same time frame we are eating 22 percent more calories. The easiest, mindless way to eat less is to eat off smaller plates (2).

3) Have only one TV in your home

Why do it: People who watch too much TV are more likely to be overweight. TV-watching actually lowers metabolism, makes us less active and engaged, and encourages us to eat junk food via commercials. Kids with a TV in their bedroom are 18 percent more likely to be (or become) obese and have lower grades (3). The happiest
people watch only 30-60 minutes of TV per day.

4) Eat a big breakfast

Why do it: Have you ever heard your mother tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Well, People who eat a bigger breakfast are more likely to be physically active throughout the day (4). Eating a big breakfast is a common characteristic in those who live healthy, active lifestyles.

(1) Taveras et al. “Family Dinner and Adolescent Overweight.” Obesity Research. Vol. 13 No. 5 May 2005.
(2) Wansink, Brian (2010), “From Mindless Eating to Mindlessly Eating Better,” Physiology & Behavior, 100, 454-463, and “The Perils of Plate Size: Waist, Waste, and Wallet” (2011), Brian Wansink and Koert van Ittersum, under review at Journal of Experimental Psychology.
(3) Roberts DF, Foehr UG, Rideout V. (2005) “Generation M: media in the lives of 8-18 year-olds”. Kaiser Family Foundation, 32, 1140-115.
(4) Wyatt et al. “Long-Term Weight Loss and Breakfast in Subjects in the National Weight Control Registry.” Obesity Research. (2002) 10, 78–82; doi: 10.1038/oby.2002.13.

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July 27, 2011