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Winning the Regain Game

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Maintenance of weight loss remains elusive for most. What's the difference between those who lose weight and keep it off, and those who lose weight only to regain it?

A study by researchers at the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University in Philadelphia looked at six focus groups to find which factors promoted or prevented maintaining weight loss among a diverse, urban population. Eligible participants were those who had intentionally lost at least 10 percent of their body weight in the past 2 years and were categorized as either "regainers" or "maintainers" using self-reported length of weight maintenance and amount regained. Regainers had regained at least 33 percent of their weight loss and maintainers had regained less than 15 percent. Participants were predominately African-American females 46 to 57 years old. The study was reported in the April 2012 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The study found that, when compared with regainers, maintainers more often continued strategies used during weight loss, weighed themselves regularly, used productive problem-solving skills and positive self-talk. Regainers experienced greater difficulty independently continuing food and exercise behaviors during maintenance, identifying decreased accountability and waning motivation as barriers. Both groups experienced lapses, wanted greater support during maintenance, decreased self-monitoring of food over time and were more apt to use how their clothes fit to determine weight loss.

Researchers found that weight loss maintenance efforts can be improved by addressing challenges like long-term self-monitoring and problem solving skills. The bottom line is that maintenance success might depend on how people think as much as what they do. - Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Q and A

Q: If weight control is so important for lower risk of heart disease and cancer, why do I see high-calorie nuts included in so many health-oriented diets?

A: Nuts do contain many nutrients and health-protective compounds, but they are concentrated in calories, so don't sit down with a big bowl and engage in mindless eating in front of the TV. The key is to use them to replace another food (not just adding them to what you eat already) and choose smart portions of nuts, usually 1 ounce per day, about 1/4 cup. Studies with a variety of different nuts show that when people substitute nuts for foods such as fatty meat and deep-fried foods that are high in saturated or trans fats, blood cholesterol usually declines. Nuts contain mostly unsaturated fat that does not raise blood cholesterol, and they provide dietary fiber and small amounts of phytosterols that help control blood cholesterol.

Brazil nuts are outstanding sources of the antioxidant mineral selenium. Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts and Brazil nuts supply vitamin E, another antioxidant. Walnuts contain a broad range of potentially protective compounds, including ellagitannins, polyphenols (such as flavonoids and phenolic acids) and gamma-tocopherol. Finally, several large population studies link regular nut consumption with lower weight and a lower tendency to gain weight. So, if you monitor portion size, there's no reason to let weight worries keep you from nuts' many protective nutrients. — American Institute for Cancer Research.

RECIPE

For most of the country, this is prime asparagus season - the time when you can find fresh-from-the-farm asparagus, big and round or small and thin. This recipe from Cooking Light's "Cooking Through the Seasons" offers a great way to celebrate spring.

Warm Asparagus Salad

—2 ounces day-old French bread, sliced

—1 garlic clove, peeled and halved

—1 tablespoons unsalted butter

—1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

—2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

—1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

—2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

—1 medium shallot, peeled and minced

—1/4 teaspoon salt

—1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

—1 cup water

—1 1/2 pounds asparagus

—1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes to toast. Rub cut sides of garlic over one side of each bread slice. Place bread slices in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until bread is coarsely ground. Arrange breadcrumbs in a single layer on a baking sheet; bake again at 375 degrees for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer breadcrumbs to bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until butter is lightly browned; remove from heat. Drizzle butter over toasted breadcrumbs; toss well to coat.

Combine vinegar, oil, 1 teaspoon rind, lemon juice and shallot; stir well with a whisk. Stir in salt and pepper. Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a large skillet. Snap off tough ends of asparagus; add asparagus to pan. Cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring. Place asparagus on a serving platter. Drizzle with vinaigrette; top with breadcrumb mixture. Garnish with 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind, if desired. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 servings.

Per serving: 94 calories, 4.1 g carbohydrate, 3.8 g fat, 5 mg cholesterol, .4 g fiber, 172 mg sodium.

Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian from Springfield, Ill. For comments or questions, contact her at charfarg@aol.com. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM


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