Francesca Powers RD, CDN: Weight Management for Adults


Manage my weight? Easier said than done. The increasing rate of overweight and obese individuals in our population is a growing concern. There are associated health problems and risks we take when being overweight. I will be sharing seven secrets of successful weight loss for you to finally get a grasp on your weight.

Having too much fat around your waist may raise your chances of health problems even more than having fat in other parts of your body. Females with waist sizes larger than 35 inches and males with waist sizes larger than 40 inches may be more likely to develop diseases related to obesity. Some complications include pulmonary diseases, liver diseases, gall bladder diseases, osteoarthritis, cataracts, stroke, cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Unfortunately, many of the diet plans advertised are “fad” diets and contribute to the vicious diet cycle including a start of the diet, a famine response, falling off the plan, and an inevitable feast response.

So, what’s the answer to weight management? Nutrition! A reduced calorie diet is recommended, along with increased physical activity, and behavior modifications. Setting realistic weight goals is key, such as two pounds per week. The goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Achieving nutritional adequacy during weight loss is important. The general rule of thumb for women is 1200-1500 calories per day and 1500 – 1800 calories per day for men. However, it is always better to meet with a Registered Dietitian, like myself, to determine the optimal calorie level to support a healthy weight loss specific to you and your goals! The total caloric intake should be distributed throughout the day, so stop skipping breakfast! Portion control should be included as part of a comprehensive weight management program. Portion control at meals and snacks results in reduced energy intake and weight loss. Physical activity is a key part of this as well. Less than 150 minutes per week promotes only minimal weight loss, whereas 225 minutes or more per week promotes 5 pounds of weight loss per week.

The basis of the dietary component of a comprehensive weight management program is reducing calories. Reducing fat and/or carbohydrates is a practical way to create a calorie deficit of 500-1000 calories below your estimated energy needs. This should ultimately result in a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. For people who have difficulty with portion control, meal replacements may be used as part of the diet component of a comprehensive weight management program. Learning to read food labels, recipe modification and healthy cooking classes will help guide you in making better food choices.

The Seven Secrets of Successful Weight Loss:

1. Consume a low calorie, low-fat diet

2. Have consistent food intake from day to day, eating about 4-5 times per day

3. Always eat breakfast

4. Stay very physically active

5. Weigh yourself at least weekly

6. Limit television time to less than 10 hours per week

7. Do not allow even a small amount of weight gain to occur without corrective action

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