Keeping the Weight Off
What habits are associated with a lower likelihood of weight gain over time?
It is clear that certain dietary and exercise habits contribute to our likelihood of weight gain. In a prospective study following hundreds of thousands of non-obese, healthy nurses’ diet and exercise patterns over 12-20 years, several statistically significant associations arose.
Dietary habits particularly associated with long-term weight gain:
- consumption of potatoes (largest magnitude of effect)
- sugar sweetened beverages
- red meat consumption
Dietary factors associated with long-term weight loss:
- eating various nuts
- incorporating whole wheat
- yogurt consumption
- consumption of fruits and veggies
Other lifestyle factors:
- people who exercised had much less weight gain
- those that slept less than 6 h per night or more than 8 h per night had more weight gain
- excess television time was associated with greater weight gain
Findings from the Look AHEAD trial agree with these points. Specifically, people who maintained their weight loss tend to:
- continue to exercise even after a goal weight was achieved
- continue to attend sessions with health care providers
- And finally, not surprisingly, tended to eat less calories.
- Mozaffarian D, Hao T, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Hu FB. “Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Men and Women.” NEJM. June 2011. 364:2392-404.
- Wadden, T et al. Four Year Weight Losses in the Look AHEAD Study: Factors Associated with Longterm Success. Obesity. 2011 October ; 19(10): 1987–1998.