For weight loss, lifestyle and behavioral factors are also important. According
to a recent review, “…individual, social, and environmental factors are also linked
to energy imbalance. These include television watching and lower average sleep
duration, especially among children/adolescents; socioeconomic status and race/
ethnicity; local environments, such as the presence of fast-food restaurants, grocery
stores, crime safety, parks or open spaces, and walking or biking paths; and influences
of advertising, social norms, and work and home dynamics. Ultimately, these
influences act through changes in diet or activity to influence weight change.”

These factors and differences in heredity and in resting metabolic rate may make
weight loss and maintenance of a normal weight more difficult for some people
than others. And if losing weight were easy, more than two-thirds of Americans
would not be overweight or obese. But the factors that affect weight and equally
important, maintaining a healthy weight that are under an individual’s control are
the most important determinates of adiposity. Selection of a healthy balance of
nutrients in the diet, especially low levels of added sugar and high levels of fiber,
limiting dietary intake of calories, and increasing expenditure of calories by increasing
physical activity are actions under our control that are critical to weight
loss and maintenance.

Food selection, or a “diet,” and a lifestyle that includes a considerable amount of
physical activity are the keys to weight loss and maintenance success. All diets that
bring about weight loss do so by restricting calorie consumption. Some diets make
it easier to limit calories. Among the characteristics of the ideal weight loss and
maintenance diet are:

• It must be safe, nutritionally complete, healthy, and sustainable.
• It should be low in calorie density, avoid refined grains, added sugar, and
highly processed foods that are loaded with sugars, fats, and salt.
• It should be high in plant-based high fiber foods—fruits, vegetables, legumes,
and whole grains.

The composition of the diet is important but equally important is sticking to it.
That is why long-term control of weight requires the choice of a healthy diet that
you can eat over a lifetime. Weight loss and maintenance of normal weight are facilitated
by choice of a high proportion of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in the
diet; whereas selection of larger portion sizes and greater intakes of sugar-sweetened
beverages, processed snacks, fast food meals, and possibly trans-fat, appear to
increase the likelihood of gaining bodyweight. So, various features of dietary type
and quality impact the number of calories a person is likely to eat.

To put it succinctly, you can lose weight the hard way, by focusing on limiting the portion
sizes of a typical American diet, or the easy way, by changing your food choices.

This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel,