Besides genetic and hormonal factors, lifestyle and behavioral patterns also have a significant impact on the success of weight loss efforts. A new study analyzing the data of over 20,000 U.S. adults shows that clinically significant weight loss is linked to healthier diets and increased exercise. Among those who met the study’s parameters for diet quality and physical activity intensity based on the Healthy Eating Index and Life’s Essential 8, 2,840 were able to lose at least 5% of their initial body weight.
However, losing weight doesn’t begin and end with modifying your diet and exercise. As this article will cover, there are facts about weight loss that may not be as common but are nonetheless helpful in better understanding how your body works.
Vitamin D Can Affect Metabolism
While it’s commonly known as a fat-soluble nutrient with an essential function in bone growth and health, did you know that vitamin D can also play a role in metabolism and weight change? In an overview of recent studies examining the relationship between vitamin D and obesity, it was found that vitamin D has a preventive effect on adiposity (body fat accumulation) and weight gain. A possible mechanism of action is how vitamin D can improve lipid metabolism by increasing blood calcium levels and inhibiting the secretion of parathyroid hormones, which otherwise reduce fat breakdown.
Vitamin D supplementation can hence be a strategy for delaying or preventing the onset of obesity. However, deriving your vitamin D from sunlight exposure and food sources like oily fish and dairy products is still the best way to ensure you’re at optimal levels for proper metabolism.
Weight Loss Pills Are Actually Effective and Worth Trying
Since excess weight gain or obesity is caused by various biological, environmental, psychological, and behavioral factors, tackling this complex issue with diet and exercise alone can sometimes be insufficient. In such cases, individuals can expand their weight loss approaches with prescription medications. Maybe you’re wondering, ‘do weight loss pills work, and are they worth trying?’ as many people do. Fortunately, you can rest assured that these drugs are research-based and FDA-approved, with some even showing effectiveness in the long term.
Among the long-term medications are orlistat (Xenical, Alli) which inhibits fat absorption, and naltrexone/bupropion (Contrave) which regulates appetite and food cravings. While these pills have been proven to influence about 5-15% weight loss, remember that they still work in tandem with lifestyle changes in diet, exercise, and behavior for the best results. Weight management achieved through anti-obesity medication can also be linked to other health benefits, namely healthier cholesterol levels and a decreased risk for type 2 diabetes.
It’s Not Just About What You Eat, But Also How YouEat
Regarding weight loss diets, figuring out what to eat is only one of the many steps. Yes, you’re expected to build a balanced plate from high-quality protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and fats. But it also helps to be mindful of how you eat. A previous list of tips to help you lose weight recommends adopting mindful eating practices. These include eating without distractions and paying close attention to your portions to avoid consuming more than you need.
Moreover, a narrative review of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) has shown that mindful eating practices can help manage weight by helping you become more aware of feelings of hunger and satiety, thus preventing overeating and stress eating. Among participants with BMIs of over 25, MBIs resulted in slightly more significant weight loss than standard behavioral treatment.
Given these scientifically-proven facts, you can start making lifestyle changes beyond diet and exercise — including adding vitamin intake, medication, and mindfulness into your weight loss efforts. It’s advisable to discuss these strategies with a health professional to ensure you maintain your health and well-being in the process of losing weight.