What is the best way to lose weight and keep it off? Scientists chime in

If you’re desperate to lose weight, you need to remember that the road to fitness is one that requires self-discipline. Don’t fall for weight-loss program commercials with empty promises and drugs that could be linked to negative side effects.

According to a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), shortcuts to weight loss aren’t long-term options for your weight loss goals.

The paper summarized several years of analysis concerning current interventions on weight loss and maintaining weight loss. The researchers noted that the report didn’t include results from surgical interventions that reduce the size of the stomach.

The review’s criterion for the weight-loss interventions was whether or not they could be “provided in or referred from a primary care setting.” In the report, researchers highlighted the need to determine effective weight loss methods because of the rise of an obesity epidemic in the U.S. Obesity is often defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Researchers warn that over 40 percent of women and 35 percent of men in the U.S. today qualify as obese.

Effective weight loss and maintenance strategies

The review of published studies suggests that “[intensive], multifaceted weight-loss interventions” are more effective compared to other methods. These interventions often last for one to two years and are complemented by monthly or more frequent meetings.

While the weight-loss interventions incorporated food plans, the report did not state a specific type. The researchers advised that you can follow any food plan, as long as you can maintain it for many months. (Related: 3 Natural drinks that can promote weight loss.)

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Dieters are advised to keep track of their weight and exercise levels, to use food scales to weigh their food, and to seek behavioral support regularly. Behavioral support included face-to-face meetings with individuals or a group and remote interactions via Skype or through other computer-assisted interactions.

While the review assessed programs that could be carried out in a primary care setting, primary care physicians were rarely included in the programs. Instead, people worked with behavioral therapists, dietitians, exercise physiologists, and life coaches who all offered different services that can help enhance the weight loss but and its subsequent maintenance.

The study didn’t consider weight-loss drugs as an option because the researchers wanted to find interventions that were safe and effective.

The researchers warned that most weight-loss drugs, such as appetite suppressants, can cause negative side effects such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Headaches
  • Mood disorders
  • Nausea

On the other hand, the side effects of behavioral interventions only included aching muscles from a new exercise or a craving for high-calorie foods.

While combining pharmacological interventions with behavioral ones provided better results compared with either intervention alone, doing so was also linked to a high rate of attrition, such as withdrawal from the studies for those taking weight-loss drugs. Researchers believe that this could be due to the negative side effects of the drugs.

To summarize, a lot of people who need to lose weight for health reasons must consult a primary care physician who can help them determine “an intensive and comprehensive behavioral weight-loss program meeting at least once a month for 18 months or longer.”

Taking part in the program can:

  • Help you find the time and resources you need to exercise regularly.
  • Identify or solve problems linked to emotional overeating.
  • Teach you how to buy and prepare healthier foods.
  • Make sure that your weight-loss successes are supported by family and friends.

The report did not mention cost and the studies assessed in the review were offered for free to volunteers.

If you truly want to lose weight, check primary care practices near you and ask about their intensive weight-loss programs. You can also look for hospital-based weight-loss clinics with trusted dietitians, exercise physiologists, life coaches, and therapists who can help you get started.

When it comes to your health, be disciplined enough to make the right choices, such as following a healthy diet and exercising regularly. After all, losing weight won’t just make you look good, it can also make you feel good and lower your risk of developing health conditions such as orthopedic disabilities or cancer.

If you want to lose weight safely and naturally, visit Slender.news for tips that can help you get started.

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