Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar, MD on October 01, 2022
New Trends You Can Swallow

New Trends You Can Swallow

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Plenity is the brand name of capsules with bits of hydrogel. They expand in your stomach and make you feel full, then come out as waste. It’s a good option for people who aren’t eligible for surgical treatments. 

New: Endoscopic Bariatric Therapy

New: Endoscopic Bariatric Therapy

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Bariatric surgery, or gastric bypass surgery, helps lots of people lose weight. It even treats type 2 diabetes. But what if you’re not heavy enough to qualify or don’t want surgery? New endoscopic bariatric and metabolic therapies sharply reduce your stomach volume and even tweak other parts of your digestive tract -- with a compact, flexible scope looped through your mouth. It’s a same-day procedure that might help keep weight off better, too.

Don’t Skimp on Sleep

Don’t Skimp on Sleep

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You might not guess it, but sleep is a big influence on weight. One study found people who go to bed in the wee hours and then sleep late into the morning took in more calories. They also tended to have higher BMIs. (The night owls also cut more corners on meals, ate fewer veggies and fruits, and ordered twice as much fast food). Meanwhile, a Chinese study found people who slept less than 7 hours were more likely to be overweight.

Rethink Your Numbers

Rethink Your Numbers

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Pounds, clothing sizes, and calorie counts. You might rely on numbers to keep yourself “in line.” But that can be stressful and defeat your good efforts. Try more positive, useful numbers: Walk 20 minutes a day, get 1 extra hour of sleep at night, eat a cup of veggies at dinner.

5%-10% of Body Weight = A Great Goal

5%-10% of Body Weight = A Great Goal

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Another healthy way to use numbers: Rather than say, “I want to lose 30 pounds,” or “Look like a supermodel in 21 days,” aim to lose 5%-10% of your current weight. It’ll pay off, especially when it comes to some other numbers: your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels. Look at it as that first goalpost. Bonus: This mindset is more likely to stick and help you maintain your weight loss over time.

Exercise to Keep Weight Off

Exercise to Keep Weight Off

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Exercise without changing your eating habits might not help very much. It’s easier to take in fewer calories than burn off more during a workout. Still, studies show people who keep their weight off stay active. The best combo? Half an hour to an hour of activity most days, paired with strength-building exercise that builds muscle mass. Think weights, resistance bands, or even gardening and lifting groceries.

You Don’t Have to Count Calories

You Don’t Have to Count Calories

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Truth: You must take in fewer calories to lose weight. But you don’t really have to count them. One study asked people to not count calories. Instead, they set goals, found social support, and learned healthy eating habits. Even though people chose different diet plans, they all cut at least 500 calories per day -- without counting as they went along. And they all lost about 12 pounds over a year.

Don’t Censor Food Groups

Don’t Censor Food Groups

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Focus on a pattern of healthy eating rather than going to extremes: low-fat, low-sugar, low-carb, high-protein. Instead of shunning a “bad” food group, simply up your intake of the good stuff 80%-90% of the time: veggies, fruits, whole grains, beans, seafood, lean meat, and nuts. This way, you can enjoy that occasional slice of cheesecake without remorse.

Be Careful With BMI

Be Careful With BMI

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Doctors define obesity as having a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or greater. But while BMI is a good indicator, it doesn’t always flag problems such as overfat, which includes the dangerous belly fat around your middle. People who measure more than 40 inches (for men) and 35 inches (women) around the waist -- aka “apple” shaped -- are more likely to get heart disease than their pear-shaped peers.  

Fat’s Not Foul

Fat’s Not Foul

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Only bad fats are ugly. Mono- and polyunsaturated fats like those in fatty fish, vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds are part of a healthy eating pattern. Simple substitutions include baked, grilled, or steamed salmon or mackerel instead of breaded fish; a drizzle of oil-based dressing on salad instead of the creamy stuff; and fat-skimmed chicken.

A Good Carb, or a Bad Carb?

A Good Carb, or a Bad Carb?

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There are some dodgy carbs out there -- candy, soda, and white bread are just a few. But did you know fiber’s a carb, too? It doesn’t break down into sugar, though. Fiber helps food move along your digestive tract. It can balance your blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and cut your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Fiber-bearing carbs include dried beans of all kinds, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and apples, berries, and oranges.

Obesity Is a Disease

Obesity Is a Disease

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Before 2013, most people chalked up obesity to a lack of control and bad food choices. That’s when the American Medical Association designated obesity a chronic, or ongoing, disease. It affects more than 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. There are many types of obesity too, based on the reason for the weight gain. Just a few are genetic, hormonal, nutritional, or meds-related. With this new attitude, doctors can zero in on problems better than ever.

Go Steady

Go Steady

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A recent study found both fast and slow routes to weight loss can help you slim down and lose body fat. But people who took more time to shed pounds lost more inches and fat in the long run. The jury’s still out on which method is more likely to keep the weight off. Still, nutrition experts say you should eat to feel satisfied, peppy, and energized -- don’t starve yourself. The pounds tend to stay off with healthy habits.

An Ounce of Prevention …

An Ounce of Prevention …

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It seems obvious. But the more doctors learn about obesity, the more it’s clear the best route is to not get heavy in the first place. Once you have your weight under control, make sure it stays that way. If you gain 5 pounds, make a plan to lose it right away, before the scale nudges upward. No matter where you are in your journey, though, there are more angles on weight loss than ever before. And they’re sure to keep coming.

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IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

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SOURCES:

Gelesis: “Plenity® Efficacy and Safety Data to be Presented at the European and International Congress on Obesity 2020.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “New FDA-Approved Weight Loss Device Shows Promise,” “Which Diet is Best for Long-Term Weight Loss?” “Overweight vs overfat: Is your scale lying to you?”

National Institutes of Health: “How Brown Fat Improves Metabolism.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Bariatric (Weight-Loss) Surgery for Treating Diabetes,” “The 7 Best Weight Loss Tips You’ll Ever Read.”

Cleveland Clinic Obesity and Medical Weight Loss Center: “Overview.”

University of Michigan Health: “New Endoscopic Procedures Offer Alternative to Bariatric Surgery,” “Weighing the Facts: The Tough Truth About Weight Loss.”

National Sleep Foundation: “Weight Loss and Sleep.”

Obesity: “Association of Sleep Duration with Weight Gain and General and Central Obesity Risk in Chinese Adults: A Prospective Study.”

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Staying Away from Fad Diets,” “Forget Low-Fat and Low-Sugar, Concentrate on a Healthy Eating Pattern,” “4 Keys to Strength Building and Muscle Mass.”

CDC: “Losing Weight.”

Mayo Clinic: “Weight Loss,” “Gastric bypass surgery: Who is it for?”

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Fiber.”

Obesity Medicine Association: “Why is Obesity a Disease?” “What is Obesity?”

International Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism: “Rapid Weight Loss vs. Slow Weight Loss: Which is More Effective on Body Composition and Metabolic Risk Factors?”

International Journal of Behavioral Medicine: “The association between rate of initial weight loss and long-term success in obesity treatment: does slow and steady win the race?”