With the new year comes resolutions for many people, and one of the most common is related to weight. When we combine our knowledge bases for prevention of eating disorders (e.g., anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa) and prevention of obesity and overweight, we generally come up with the same list of strategies for long-term, methodical weight management. Combining regular treatment strategies for individuals diagnosed with eating disorders with results from the National Weight Control Registry (a longitudinal study of over 4000 previously overweight adults who have successfully maintained a healthier weight for multiple years), successful weight management at a healthy weight incorporates the following strategies:
- eating breakfast every day, and eating regularly (4-5 times) throughout the day
- limiting the frequency of eating out at fast food establishments
- eating a lower-fat, higher carbohydrate/fiber diet
- watching less than 10 hours of television per week
- exercising, on average, about 1 hour per day at a moderate level (e.g., walking, aerobics class, biking, swimming)
- self-monitoring weight, portion sizes, and meal planning
These practices may be appropriate for individuals who are overweight by medical standards or who seek to maintain a current healthy weight. Note that extreme measures, such as overexercising, skipping meals, or using harmful measures such as laxatives or diet pulls were not listed as successful strategies. In fact, the use of extreme measures may affect basal metabolic rate in such a manner that weight is gained over time! So, treat your body well with a daily, methodical, and moderate weight management plan.