Weight loss might be easier with company
It’s a Matter of Your Health
By VEITA BLAND
So many of us view the New Year as the starting point for new behaviors in our lives, we make those resolutions that proclaim our new behavior to ourselves. Does it matter if we make them privately versus publicly?
As the song goes, “find a little help from my friends.” A little help does make a difference. Encouragement from friends, family and coworkers is important to one’s success for many people. Now indeed there is a difference between encouragement and nagging. We want supportive people not naggers as they do not help, but may harm the efforts.
So I bring up having supportive people in your circle especially during this time. Studies have shown that 80 percent of those New Year resolutions have gone by the wayside by the second week in February. Don’t let that happen to you. Get your support group together and strive on.
Remember that little changes can make a difference. Some of you who are losing weight make lofty goals. That is fine. You may have goals of 20 or 30 pound weight losses. You may feel defeated with the loss of less. If you are diabetic and lose just 6 pounds, that can make a difference in the amount of medication you may be on. So indeed that loss is significant. Recent guidelines for the management of people that are overweight and obese in adults recommend a 3 percent weight loss to achieve measurable health benefits. Of course more weight loss is better but what those guidelines say is that if your weight is 200 pounds and you lose 6 pounds that can make a difference.
A study funded by Weight Watchers International looked at couples: one involved in a weight loss program and the other not involved in losing weight. The study sought to determine whether the uninvolved spouse's weight was affected. Researchers looked at how these couples were doing at three and six months. Half of the participants were placed on a Weight Watchers program and were given full access to the content of the program. The other half were given a four page handout with information about healthy eating, exercise and weight control strategies such as eating a low calorie, low fat diet and portion control. They were left to see if they could use this information to lose weight on their own.
In the first 3 month check, those individuals in the Weight Watchers group lost significantly more than those in the other group, 7.4 pounds vs 4.3 pounds. This equated to 3.6 percent weight loss of their initial body weight vs. 2.1 percent. The untreated spouse lost 3.2 pounds or 1.5 percent of their initial body weight.
When research participants checked in again at six months, the Weight Watchers group had NOT lost significantly more than the control group. This time it was 9.5 vs. 6.8 pounds. That equated to 4.5 percent vs. 3.2 percent of their body weight loss. Untreated spouses lost four pounds or 2 percent of their body weight. Remember, a three percent loss of body weight can make a difference. So, it does seem that being around someone who is losing weight can affect the behavior of the spouse not in a weight loss program.
When we look at this further this could really be of benefit to the children who cannot prepare their own meals. If parents are eating healthier it will affect the children in a positive way. Little steps are indeed important.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.