By Julie Upton, RD
New national data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that the number of overweight Americans is far too high and is costing us nearly $150 billion a year in health-care costs.
Today, nearly 34% of adults are obese, up from 23% in 1994. Those classified as “extremely” obese increased from 3% in 1994 to nearly 6% in the most recent data. Additionally, 34% are overweight, up from 33% in 1994.
Together, more than two-thirds of the population is overweight or obese.
I know how hard it is to maintain an ideal body weight. I fight the battle on a daily basis as I'm prone to pudginess. However, for the most part, I feel like I’m winning.
I’ve developed a few key strategies that help keep my weight in check. But I've also asked my other dietitian colleagues who specialize in weight loss for their advice. Here are our best tips for losing and maintaining a healthy weight:
1. Step on the scale! This is my surefire solution for losing weight. I find that I have to weigh myself once a week to stay on track. If I stop tracking my weight, somehow I think I don’t have to think about what I eat. —Julie Upton, RD
2. Remember to WAIT! before that first bite and question yourself about what you're eating. Become a more mindful eater by asking yourself, “Am I really hungry?” and “Do I really need this?” If you're physiologically hungry, then proceed with the meal or snack. If you're not or you're not quite sure, probe further and try to choose a different mode of addressing the issue. —Heather Schwartz, MS, RD
3. Write it down! So many of my clients do not realize how much they eat each day. By writing down everything you eat and drink, you quickly become aware of the amount of food you’re eating, and the number of times you're eating—which you could be doing without even realizing it. —Felicia D. Stoler, DCN, MS, RD, FACSM
4. Eat regularly. Eat breakfast within one hour of waking and then every three to four hours while awake the rest of the day. —Janice Dada, MPH, RD
5. Lift like you mean it! Weights that is. But not the light weights. Go heavier so that you really tire your muscles. This will stimulate muscle growth, leading to more calories burned and, ultimately, to weight loss. —Katrina Seidman, MS, RD, LDN