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Choosing a Weight Loss Diet - First Things First

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

There are myriad weight loss programmes promising great results over short periods. The worst of these are unbalanced nutritionally, scams or downright dangerous. Some are sound enough but they are not designed to be diets for life. The more radical the departure from your usual diet, the less likely you are to stick to it!

The scientific literature and our own anecdotal evidence is full of people who have lost considerable amounts of weight, only to gain it all back over a number of months or years. The only answer, ultimately, is to find a way of eating that is acceptable to you in the long term. You need to stick with it.

That said, you should not spend your life counting calories or depriving yourself of the foods that you enjoy. Once you have achieved the weight loss that you desire then you can eat whatever you like - in moderation, sometimes. The trick therefore is to enjoy eating a healthy diet. It will require adjustment and effort. But it is surely better than yo-yo dieting?

You might choose to ’kick start’ your diet with a very low calorie or fasting regime. Maybe even a meal replacement for a couple of weeks. A ‘win’ on the scales will give you greater motivation to stay on the journey. However, the hard yards are to be done after that, finding a diet that suits you and your lifestyle and committing to eating that way for the long term. Good, proven healthy, candidates are the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet.

How do you choose?

Consider all of these factors:

- What is your current weight?

- How much do you want to lose? You can calculate your approximate daily kilojoule needs here and then reduce that by about 2000 kJ per day to achieve a weight loss of about 1/4 to 1/5 kilo per week which really adds up over time.

- What is your past experience of dieting?

- Why do you want to lose weight?

- How much physical activity do you currently do?

- Do you have disabilities which limit physical activity?

- What is your current diet like?

- How much do you know about nutrition?

- What are your cooking skills like?

- How much time do you have to focus on this?

- What is your support team like/ (Your family, friends and colleagues).

Once you have thought about all these factors it can help you to choose an appropriate way to go about losing some weight.

Goal Setting

An important first step is to set a goal. This should have a number (maybe a desired weight or waist measurement), a time frame and a statement about how you mean to achieve it.

How will you keep yourself accountable?

Using an app., joining a weight loss support group, creating an informal group with a friend or friends or keeping a paper and pen diary are all good ways to record your progress.

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