Obesity remains the biggest health challenge facing North Americans. The health issues that spin off from being overweight are numerous and tackling these extra pounds that more and more of us deal with are key to maintaining to a longer and more importantly a better quality of life.
A study out of Northwestern Medicine published in the Archives of Internal Medicine is encouraging for those of us struggling with keeping weight off because it found that simply changing one bad habit has a domino effect on others and can lead to dramatic changes.
According to the study, by simply cutting back on sedentary time, you will reduce the amount of junk food and saturated fats eaten because when you’re not glued to the TV, you don’t snack as much! Combined with eating a few more servings of fruits and veggies, these two changes make more of health change than dieting or taking on an exercise regime.
The study randomly assigned 204 adult patients, ages 21 to 60 years old, who self reported that they were not active and were regular snackers into one of four treatments. The treatments were:
- increase fruit/vegetable intake and physical activity
- decrease fat and sedentary leisure
- decrease fat and increase physical activity
- increase fruit/vegetable intake and decrease sedentary leisure
At the conclusion of the study, those that simply ate more veggies and watched less TV saw the greatest change in weight and were able to maintain their weight loss the longest.
Losing weight is never easy, but this study does reflect that starting by making small changes can go a long way to making a big difference in the end. Too many get overwhelmed and try to diet, exercise and eventually get discouraged and give up. By starting with a pledge to simply not veg out in front of a screen, and eat a few more veggies a day, can be key to big changes down the road.