In today’s CRU, we highlighted a new study looking at whether using a phone app helped overweight people lose weight. In this study, overall the phone app did not make a difference for most people, but the few participants who actually used it did lose weight. Finding ways to help people lose weight successfully is important because excess body fatness now links to 9 cancers, including post-menopausal breast, endometrial and advanced prostate.
For me there are 3 important takeaways from this study – the questions is not whether apps work for weight loss – but what does it really take for successful and sustained weight loss.
1. Be ready to commit.
Wanting to lose weight is an important first step, but not enough. Start by developing your specific goal, identify the barriers, and understand that you will be working hard to make changes that will last. If you decide you aren’t ready for full commitment, you might choose one small change to improve health – like adding 5-10 minutes of walking to your day. That, by itself, won’t lead to weight loss, but that may help you be confident in your ability to begin to make changes. Continue reading
Almost half a million cancer cases worldwide are due to the rising rates of overweight and obesity, making many of the most common cancers potentially avoidable, says a new study published in The Lancet Oncology.
The study was funded in part by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) International, which AICR is a member. AICR and WCRF now estimate that approximately 122,000 cases of cancers in the US are due to overweight and obesity.
Researchers in The Lancet study calculated that 481,000 – 3.6% – of all new cancer cases in adults worldwide were attributable to high BMI in 2012, the latest global data available.
Obesity-related cancers are more likely to affect women than men, largely due to endometrial and post-menopausal breast cancers, according to the study. In men, excess weight was responsible for 1.9% or 136,000 new cancers in 2012, and in women it was 5.4% or 345,000 new cases. Continue reading
Working as a dietitian specializing in weight loss for the past two years, my patients consistently report similar challenges. Lifestyle changes are hard – going from daily take out/fast food to home-cooked meals, for example, requires a dramatic change in your daily routine. Suddenly you have to not only plan out a grocery list, but you might also have to develop cooking skills and allow extra time in your day for food preparation.
One major thing I’ve learned in helping people manage their weight is that anyone can make a lifestyle change, but the motivation and commitment comes from you.
Most people are aware that maintaining a healthy body weight leads to health benefits (from reducing risk of cancer, to diabetes, to increasing life span and improving quality of life). Your doctor, a friend, or a significant other may have put pressure on you to lose weight. However, at the end of the day, the one thing that really matters is your own desire and motivation to make that change.
I like to show my patients a model called the Stages of Change Transtheoretical Model, developed by a health psychologist at the University of Rhode Island and his colleagues. This model depicts 5 stages and can be a helpful tool for anyone interested in embarking in the life-long commitment that is necessary to lose and maintain weight loss. Here are the stages: Continue reading