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Avoid Weight Loss Relapse: Strategic Synergy

As challenging as it is to lose weight, for many people an even more daunting problem is avoiding, or at least limiting, the weight regain that tends to follow. Metabolic adaptations may account for some weight regain, but many people find that relapse into old habits is clearly involved, too. Is there help beyond ironclad self-discipline?

Tracking your weight and targeting specific changes in eating, exercise and sitting time can both be powerful tools for weight loss. Previous Smart Bytes® posts featured interviews with Rebecca Krukowski, PhD, discussing research on frequency of weight checks and other behavior change tips for weight loss. Dr. Krukowski, a clinical psychologist on faculty at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, provides additional insights on tracking’s role in avoiding relapse in the video interview shared here.

After hearing from Dr. Krukowski, read on for my take on how new research presented an American Heart Association conference I recently attended can address the all-to-common problem of weight loss habits relapse, and help take maintaining a healthy weight from daunting to doable.

 

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Weight Checks: Is Daily Really Best for Weight Loss?

If you’re trying to lose weight, studies suggest that checking your weight regularly can help. But how often? Is a daily weight check best, or is that too much? How about after you meet your weight loss goal?

In Part 1 of our video interview series with Rebecca Krukowski, PhD, we looked at how tracking progress can help with efforts to create healthy lifestyle habits. Dr. Krukowski is a clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, where she conducts research on behavior-change interventions for weight loss. Now in Part 2, we focus on what recent studies say about frequency of checking weight.

Following the video, read on for practical points that can help in understanding what’s behind some of the latest study headlines, and how their conclusions might or might not represent the best strategy for you.

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How to Get a Handle on Healthy Habits: Tips from Research

“Ultimately, people do not decide their future. They decide their habits, and their habits decide their future.” So says John C. Maxwell in The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential, a book I’m on my third time through as an audio book to accompany me on walks.

Ah, you say, but where do those habits come from? Do health-promoting habits seem hard to establish and easy to lose, while it’s amazingly easy to fall back into unhealthy habits?

Here, in Part 1 of a series, Rebecca Krukowski, PhD, provides perspective on how “self-monitoring” can play a role in creating healthy habits. Dr. Krukowski is a clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, where she conducts research on behavior-change interventions for weight loss.

 

Following the video, read on for practical take-home tips on different options for using self-monitoring to help you create habits to lose weight or achieve other health goals – or to avoid the all-too-easy path back to unhealthy habits in the months ahead.

 

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Mediterranean Diet, Olive Oil & Breast Cancer Risk

Can a Mediterranean-style diet reduce your risk of breast cancer? Olive oil is key to plant-focused Mediterranean diet

Exciting headlines from the PREDIMED study proclaim potential for major reductions in breast cancer risk, with olive oil seemingly a key factor. Yet other studies portray less clear-cut protection. Therefore, it’s important to step back and look at what differing results among these studies might mean as women seek to find doable choices that could play a role in reducing breast cancer risk.

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Cutting Sodium: Doable Eating Habit Tweaks

Reducing the hefty sodium load that’s part of many people’s eating today can seem a confusing and daunting challenge. Average U.S. sodium intake at 3592 milligrams (mg) per day – not counting any salt added at the table — is well beyond the recommended cap of 2300-2400 mg. Reaching the target the American Heart Association identifies as “ideal” (no more than 1500 mg daily) would require major changes in all aspects of eating choices and preparation.

Salty 6 - good targets for cutting sodium

42% of U.S. sodium intake comes from the AHA “Salty 6” (NHANES 2009-2010)

However, reducing sodium is not an all-or-nothing proposition.

Instead of focusing on a target that may feel out of reach, try finding a few doable tweaks in your usual choices. Just a few swaps can add up to reduce your current daily totals by 1000 mg a day. That’s a goal that research supports to make a difference in your health. Given the high sodium levels in many foods today, the tweaks may not be as hard to accumulate as you think.

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