Everyone’s heard of those crazy diets promising to shed the kilos in extra quick time. Many of them don’t work or are bordering on downright dangerous to your health.
Some may have worked for your friend but have had absolutely no impact on you.
That’s because we’re all different, with different metabolisms wired to respond in different ways.
Finding the right weight management approach is often a matter of trial and error.
Consult with your doctor who can help you develop the right strategy for you.
Popular strategies for losing weight
There are four common methods for weight management which all come with varying caveats and different degrees of difficulty.
Reducing calorie intake – It may work at first but your body adjusts its expectations depending on how many calories it is receiving, hence you may need to continue to reduce your calorie intake to continue losing weight. Also, not all calories are equal. The key is to fill up on foods that sustain you and don’t make you hungry again.
Reducing fat intake – Oils ain’t oils and fats ain’t fats. There are good and bad ones. Unsaturated fats plentiful in oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocados and olives help regulate our weight. Don’t fall for the mistake of eating many of those “low-fat” branded foods that are high in sugar.
Reducing carb intake – Reducing carbs can help break a vicious cycle. Carbs create glucose in the bloodstream which release insulin that turns to fat and adds weight. The insulin then burns the carbs (but not the fat) triggering a desire to eat more. Low-carb diets tend to replace those carbs with protein and fat which can also be counter-productive to your health.
The mediterranean diet – It’s about eating good fats and carbs along with fruit and veg and good oils from fish, nuts and olive oil while reducing meat and cheese intake. It also demands exercise, as indeed any good approach should.
Instead of adopting one of the above rigid diets, there are some more general strategies you can adopt to help you lose and maintain weight healthily.
But before you start, ensure you are both motivated and dedicated to avoid the disappointment of failure.
Losing weight takes both of those qualities in spades as well as the discipline to see it through.
Reduce sugar and refined carbs
You can eat well over your daily healthy intake by lunch if you’re consuming white bread, sugary cereals, pastries, pasta and pizza.
Replace the white with the brown and start consuming whole-grain foods instead.
Read labels on everything you buy to check how much sugar is present.
You’ll consume more than enough sugar eating whole foods. Everything else is excess.
Eat more fruit, veg and fibre
Just because you want to lose weight doesn’t mean you have to eat that much less – as long as you eat smarter.
That means high-fibre foods which take longer to digest and hence keep you feeling ‘full’ longer.
We’re talking fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes.
Eat your vegetables raw, steamed or roasted.
Microwaving or stir-frying with a little olive oil is okay too but boiling is a no-no. The water drains vegetables of their nutrients.
Stop emotional snacking
Too often we turn to food when really, we’re not that hungry.
If you can identify some of the feelings or behaviours that result in you heading to the fridge and find an alternative distraction, you’ll have won half the battle.
Some of these feelings may be:
Bored or lonely – When we run out of things to do, we sometimes eat to while away the minutes. It’s all extra calories we don’t need. Go for a walk instead, call a friend or find something else productive to do.
Watching TV – It’s not compulsory to put out that bowl of potato chips while watching the match of the day or bust out the chocolate biscuits while taking in the latest thriller. If you do have to snack, try some carrot sticks and hummus.
Stressed or anxious – These feelings may prompt unwanted eating or drinking. Try some mind-cleansing meditation instead or get some fresh air. A brisk walk is great to reduce anxiety levels.
Morning or afternoon slumps – A sugar hit isn’t the answer to those 11am or 3pm hunger pangs. If you find yourself low on energy, try a small healthy snack or alternatively, take a short nap.
Any weight management plan will be rendered largely useless unless it is accompanied by an exercise routine.
If you are serious about dropping kilos, you should be aiming for at least 30 minutes a day, even if it is broken up into two or three blocks.
Start slowly before building up your workload.
Walk to the local shops instead of driving. Every step counts.
Try to incorporate activities you enjoy into your exercise routine whether it be listening to music as you walk, riding a bike, hiking, whatever!
Develop your own food plan
This one is really important. Take charge of your own destiny by rigidly adopting and adhering to the following:
Cook your own meals – It’s the only way you can monitor exactly what’s going into your body.
Reduce your portion size – You don’t have to fill the plate. Use smaller plates if that’s easier or stop when you’re full rather than overeating.
Stop eating out – Restaurant and takeaway food is often loaded with saturated fats, sugar and salt.
Load up at breakfast – Studies indicate eating more at breakfast and less at dinner can help you lose weight. A larger, healthy breakfast is also the best start to a day and helps regulate your metabolism.
Fast for 14 hours – Eating dinner earlier in the day (6pm) and then not again until breakfast (8am) is a great reset for your body and helps you avoid filling up while you are least active.
Drink plenty of water – It’s vital for good health, stimulates your metabolism and may naturally suppress your appetite.
Don’t buy temptations – Leave those biscuits and cakes on the supermarket shelf. If you share a house with someone else, ask them to always store them out of sight.
Book an appointment
Weight management is never easy – wanting to do it is a great first step. Doing something about it is even better.
Your doctor can work with you to help you curate a program tailored specifically for you, as well as offer you some great tips and tricks to avoid slipping into old habits.
There’s no better time to get into shape and discover a new happier and healthier you.
Book an appointment today at the Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or the Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic.