Journal Title (Medline/Pubmed accepted abbreviation): Br. J. Sports Med.
Page numbers: 1197-1201
doi (if applicable): 10.1136/bjsm.2009.065235
Managing one’s weight is easy in theory but difficult in practice. Increasing physical activity and improving diet are "intuitively accepted" means of weight loss, but a handful of studies show that only about 30% of people in weight loss programs are successful at maintaining a loss of >10% for >5 yrs. Increasing exercise alone, without changes in diet, may be effective but it may take a long time to achieve weight loss goals. Restricting calories without increasing physical activity can be very effective short term, but most people recover their lost weight. Also, many experience an unwanted loss in fat-free body mass with calorie restriction.
There is a debate as to whether resistance training aids in weight loss. Advocates argue that increasing fat free mass increases one’s resting metabolic rate (RMR), meaning that one has a “higher metabolism” in colloquial terms. However, there is not consistent evidence of this.
Regular daily activities (using the stairs instead of the elevator, walking, etc.) can likely prevent weight gain but not practically aid in weight loss. (It is estimated that Americans gain an average of 1 kg or 2.2 lb. per year. This weight gain could be avoided by incorporated activities that burn about 50 kcal/day.)
Success in long term weight loss is often associated with: a single event that caused significant emotional response or medical attention, follow-ups from health care professionals, behavioral therapy, and/or peer support.
Because weight loss is sometimes an unattainable goal, some recommend instead aiming to improve metabolic fitness . Metabolic fitness includes clinical metrics such as blood pressure, blood lipid levels, and blood glucose levels.
It is important for Americans to prevent weight gain and to lose weight if they are overweight or obese in order to prevent chronic disease and reduce the chance or mortality. Essentially all weight loss programs recommend increasing physical activity and improving the quality of the diet to accomplish these goals. Because a drastic change in lifestyle is sometimes hard to sustain, it is recommended for people to incorporate 10-15 min of activity a few times a day (during lunch, before or after work) in order to reach their activity goals.