I was reminded yesterday in my office how significantly ten small pounds can affect a person’s sense of health, well-being, fitness, and self-esteem while I was discussing surgical options with one of my many very overweight patients considering weight loss surgery. She had perhaps 80 pounds to lose, far fewer than most of my patients.
In discussing surgical options I proposed a surgery that was likely to result in a 55 pound weight loss yet was the significantly safer choice so far as complications are concerned. Another option was likely to result in a 65 pound weight loss….10 small pounds….likely insignificant from a medical standpoint, yet enough to cause serious consideration in this patient’s mind to undergo a much more drastic procedure.
This experience got me to thinking. I can help you lose the last 10 pounds without surgery, without pills, without a struggle. Here are the techniques I would recommend:
1. The Fiber Approach.
Many dieters count calories or measure portions with an intent to reduce intake. With fiber the goal is to increase intake. A review of studies on the subject has shown an increased intake of fiber by 14 grams per day results in a greater than 4 pound weight loss on the average over 4 months. One half cup of black beans contains 10 grams of fiber. An ear of corn contains 5 grams of fiber.
These same studies show that despite the fact you are adding the calories contained in the corn and the beans you WILL over the course of the day eat less total calories, approximately ten percent fewer calories, because you WILL subconsciously eat less other foods. Fiber containing foods help you experience more and longer lasting satiety. I know hunger is a primary driver for failure to lose weight….hunger control is by far the most important reason weight loss surgery works.
2. The Energy Density Approach.
Some foods contain very few calories yet they take time to eat and they take up quite a bit of room in your stomach. These foods have low energy density. Good examples include green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, and salad greens. As a matter of fact almost all vegetables meet low energy density criteria. Many fruits also have low energy density….melons, berries, and citrus fruits are considered low energy density foods.
Consider also broth-based soups….no cream, no fatty meats, though. Increasing your intake of plant-based “whole” foods (vegetables, beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables), decreasing your intake of animal foods (meat, dairy, eggs, etc.) and eliminating processed foods is an excellent way to naturally reduce calories without reducing the volume of food eaten. In one blinded study I reviewed the low “energy density” eating approach was good for 2 ½ pounds of weight loss over the course of only 14 days compared with standard “energy density” eating.
3. The Resistance Exercise Approach.
It is also possible to lose the last ten pounds with a properly designed exercise program. Experts disagree on the exact magnitude of the effect but a reasonable estimate is that building one pound of muscle and the resulting increased whole body protein turnover caused by the workouts necessary to build one pound of muscle can effect a 30 to 40 calorie per day increase in metabolism.
It is highly reasonable for the average woman to gain three pounds of muscle in two months. Once this muscle is in place count on burning enough calories from the muscle metabolic affect alone, NOT counting the calories burnt during the actual workout itself, to burn one pound of fat every seven weeks. Two 40 minute workouts a week will provide results of this magnitude as long as these two workouts include a muscle building resistance component.
As you can see I’m not hawking unreasonable expectations. A combination of these three techniques is very likely to help you lose the last ten pounds and keep it off for good. The effort required is minimal, the results can last a lifetime. Furthermore, these techniques enhance your overall health as well. I’m confident my patient will choose the safer option now that the science has been explained. I welcome your comments….if you are trying to lose the last 10 pounds let me know how you do….help me help my patients.