How to actually lose weight and keep it off


By pH health care professionals

On the show “The Biggest Loser,” participants arrive seriously obese, then drop pounds dramatically with a combination of intense exercise and carefully planned eating. But after the show, many contestants gain it all back.

So how can non-reality show people keep the weight off, then?

Get help changing behavior

Researchers from Oregon Health Sciences University found that a combination of behavior-change classes and meal replacements (like carefully crafted weight loss shakes) was actually successful in helping people keep the weight off for a couple of years.

While “behavior-change classes” might not be something you can just look up on Yelp, most people can use their health insurance benefits to enlist a psychologist to help with binge eating or stress eating. That way, the help is more tailored anyway.

Get up and get moving

Scientists looking at gastric bypass surgery found that the most successful “losers” were those who didn’t sit very much and those who engaged in moderate to high physical activity. That shouldn’t be a surprise; sitting is a huge risk factor for early death, heart disease, and weight gain! They also faithfully followed the “five servings of veggies and fruit a day” mantra. You can squeeze these in by putting a lot of different kinds of produce in a large salad for lunch.

Build muscle

Dr. Wayne Westcott, college professor of exercise science and author of 28 textbooks, has the same body composition he had in his 20s, with around 12 percent body fat. But he teaches that it’s not about the fat; it’s about the muscle. He points to the loss of muscle mass (from being sedentary, aging or dieting) as the culprit for many modern health issues, from diabetes to regaining that weight. His remedy is simple -- strength training (things like weight-lifting and push-ups). He does strength training twice a week, and endurance exercise about five times a week (things like walking, jogging or cycling).

As for “The Biggest Loser” contestants? He says they lose weight too fast, where their bodies are not only losing fat but muscle, too. Less muscle = slower metabolism. So when they regain the weight, they end up with more fat and less muscle than they had the first time around, and with slower metabolisms.

Dr. Westcott recommends losing weight at a rate of only a pound per week, and including 20 minutes of resistance exercises twice a week.

Be proactive and get help!

You might not have Jillian Michaels or your own weight loss ranch, but you do have a great team of doctors, nutritionists, fitness instructors and patient advocates available to you at Proactive Health Labs. The pH health centers in Santa Monica and Sherman Oaks offer a wide range of services to track and monitor your progress: From body composition to specialty lab tests, and education and support to keep you motivated.

Come see us soon!

Enjoy Your Healthy Life! 

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, health care attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.