Which diet is best? With so many diets out there, how do you know which one is for you, if any at all? Did you know, the average person gains 11 pounds for every diet they go on? And to top it off, not only do you lose fat, but if you are not exercising, you also lose muscle too! And so the yo-yo effect begins.
You may be aware of someone overweight, that continuously states they don’t eat that much. It is most likely they have just damaged their metabolism by yo-yo dieting. But surely, it’s not just about losing weight, we all want to keep it off and feel healthy, right?
Firstly, you have to want to lose weight. Losing weight is not easy and if you really don’t want to commit to a long term plan, the struggle will be there from the beginning – you will be battling with yourself.
The battle between ‘should I have the doughnut or the apple’ or ‘should I have the burger or the fish’. If you are not 100% committed, it’s likely you will go with your usual option, which is not always the best option. Sometimes it’s just too easy to give in to temptation if you are not fully committed.
Secondly, you need to educate yourself. It’s not about a 4-week diet. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you cannot go back to eating the way you did before. If you want to keep it off, you need to understand nutrition and understand your body.
Understanding the effect that good food and exercise have your body. Also, understanding how much protein and carbohydrates you should have with each meal. You also need to know how much water you should be drinking, the effects of drinking alcohol and how much is ‘ok’ in a week. It’s not just about the now, it’s also about the future. It’s not about a single diet, it’s about a lifestyle change.
Thirdly, you need to reduce your appetite. This does not happen over-night and takes willpower. Don’t starve yourself, this will not only play havoc with your metabolism but you’re more likely to binge eat too. Reduce your food in-take slowly, allowing your body to adapt to the slow changes in your lifestyle.
Finally, speaking of metabolism, you need to increase yours. But with most diets out there, due to the sudden decrease in calories suggested, you will also have less energy and there tends to be no fitness plan with these diets, so not only will you be hungry, you will have low energy levels and your metabolism will slow down. The opposite of what you want to happen.
Key things to watch out for when looking to lose weight:
So called cheat days:
Be careful how you reward yourself. it is not about undoing all the hard work you have done for the whole week prior. Think of it as a day you have a cheat meal or cheat snack.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep:
Good quality sleep is so important in your day to day life. Realistically yes, it’s not always possible, if you work shifts, have a young child or even just daily stresses may mean you end up heading to bed later than you would like. But, your aim should be 7 – 8 hours per night. Even mild sleep deprivation can cause the hunger stimulating hormone (ghrelin) to go into overdrive and this reduces levels of the hormone that suppresses appetite (leptin). This can cause you to feel hungry when you are not.
When to eat:
Eating at the right time plays a key role in weight loss. Most importantly, how late you eat. You should be aiming to eat no later than 2-3 hours before you go to bed, to allow your food to start digesting. Don’t be tempted to skip breakfast either, (the most important meal of the day to ‘fire your body up’ for the rest of the day).
Get up and move:
Ok, so you have an office job, it’s difficult, but try to get up and move for 2 minutes at a time, every 30 minutes. Some countries, including Australia and Finland have actually made recommendations that children limit screen time, to just one or two hours a day. Encouraging them to get up and play!
So, it’s time to Un-Diet:
Unfortunately, most diets don’t work so the answer to the question: What is the best diet? Is, there is no best diet! The key to losing weight, keeping it off and staying healthy is to make a lifestyle change. Change the way you have been thinking about your health. And remember to start feeling good about yourself too, this will help you to make healthy choices.
From inside our Winter issue of Thrive Magazine:
Sharon Armstrong, dipn, sacdip