Weight Loss Q&A

The Best Way To Fight Diet Envy
Q: My sister and I are on a diet, but she’s lost more weight than I have. How can I stop feeling resentful?
A: Cut yourself some slack—you and your sibling share only about half your genes, which means your varying degrees of success may be beyond your control. “Everyone has a unique biological makeup that influences how quickly she can lose weight,” says Martin Binks, Ph.D., director of behavioral health at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina. So while your sister may have inherited your dad’s fast metabolism, it’s possible you got stuck with your mom’s average one—along with her sweet tooth.

     The next time the green-eyed monster rears its head, try focusing on what you can control: your own behavior. Start by telling yourself you’re happy for your sister, even if you have to fake it for a while. “The more you practice positive thinking, the weaker those negative thoughts get,” says Binks. And an optimistic outlook will not only keep sibling rivalry at bay, it will also help you stay on track; according to Binks, you’re more apt to make unhealthy choices when you feel helpless or sad.

Q: I’ve heard that eating less, not exercising more, is the only way to lose weight. True?
A: Though both can help you slim down, dietary changes do help you shed pounds faster than working out. To lose a pound, you need to create a 3,500 calorie deficit, which break down to 500 fewer calories a day for a week. “Most women find it easier to nix their midmorning bran muffin than to run four and a half miles at a 10-minute-mile pace,” says Jeannie Gazzaniga Moloo, Ph.D., R.D., a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association in Roseville, California.
     But before you throw in the (gym) towel, consider this: According to a new study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, women who cut calories and boosted their daily activity levels shed more weight than those who only dieted or exercised. And another study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that women who stuck to a regular workout routine had the most success in keeping pounds off over a period of seven years. “Physical activity does so much more than just burn calories,” says Gazzaniga Moloo. “It also boosts your metabolism by helping you build muscles, ups your brain’s production of feel-good endorphins, and curbs stress-induced snacking.”


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