If you’ve been through yo-yo dieting cycles and have heard that you may find it harder to lose weight again, don’t despair. The latest findings for postmenopausal women and weight loss show that – even with previous yo-yo dieting – you are just as likely to be able to lose weight as those who haven’t dieted.
For more good news, another study of postmenopausal women and weight loss shows specific eating behaviors that are linked with successful weight loss (short- and long-term). Researchers looked at individual strategies women used for weight loss at six months and then after 4 years. Some were in a life-style/weight loss education program and some were in the control group. You can read more about the study in the AICR blog. Following are the strategies they studied and how they worked.
Crucial Habits of Successful and Healthy Weight Loss
- Eat Dessert Half as Often. At six months the biggest losers (those who lost at least 22 lbs) cut their desserts from about 15 to 5 servings per month. At four years those who lost the most weight were eating, on average, about 7 desserts per month.
- Get the Sugary Beverages Out. At both six months and four years, cutting sweetened beverages from an average of 1 per month to almost none linked with losing the most weight. Here are some great ideas for zero calorie refreshing beverages.
- Color Your Plate with More Veggies and Fruit. This strategy was the biggest winner and paid off most at the four-year mark. Women who lost the most weight upped their vegetables and fruit servings from less than 4 to more than 5 per day. If you’re looking for ways to get more of these cancer-fighting foods in your diet, sign up to receive our weekly Health-e-Recipe.
- Forgo the Fried Foods. During the first six months of the study, women who lost the most weight, cut back on fried foods from over 10 servings to about 2 per month. By four years, they were eating about 5 servings per month, so they were eating half as many fried foods as they had at the start.
- Moderate the Meat and Cheese. This seemed to be more of a long-term strategy for weight loss. After four years the big losers were eating fewer meats and cheeses (about 1/2 ounce less per day) than at the beginning of the study. Use AICR’s New American Plate as a model to help moderate animal protein.
- Enjoy Fish More Often. On average, the most successful losers increased their fish, on average, from about 4 servings per month to about 5-6 servings per month. Substituting fish for higher fat meats means fewer calories and an added heart health benefit.
- Start by Eating at Home. One of the first steps toward losing weight may be to eat at home more often. At six months, eating at restaurants less often linked with more weight loss. However, at four years, how often women dined out didn’t seem to matter. The authors of the study hypothesize that women who had lost the most weight and kept it off were using the other 6 strategies even when eating at restaurants.