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The Right Weight Loss Diet for You

Updated: Sep 30, 2020

Having considered your lifestyle and its constraints, your weight loss goal and how you will track your progress, let’s look at which diet is going to work for you.

Einstein is credited with having defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. Therefore, if you have tried something before and it didn’t work out, try something different! Bear in mind that life may have moved on and perhaps you are in a different mindset now and could possibly make that same diet work now with greater determination, by adding some exercise or by getting some peer support.

The basic tenet of weight loss is to reduce your energy intake until it is less than the energy that you expend each day. As I said in my last blog post, an approximation of your daily needs can be calculated here. Reduce that by 2000 KJ per day and you will lose weight. You need to stick to it and over a period of say three months you could lose up to six kilos. Add to that the added benefits of some exercise to tone the tummy muscles and ‘tuck shop arms’ and you’ll really notice the difference.

A reduced energy diet can take various forms. What suits you?

1. If you like to feel supported then joining a group such as slimming World, Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers might be best for you. Some operate with simple rules around what to eat and portion sizes. Others provide the food. Some (like Lite ‘n’ Easy) only provide calorie controlled food, not group support. They are pretty good for nutritional balance. No effort in preparing food and no overeating – the portions are set. But expensive.

2. Make your own simple rules. If you can identify what your weak points are which cause weight gain then make your own rules. Examples could be: No alcohol or soft drinks Monday to Friday. Only 2 drinks per night at weekends. Cut out all added sugar and sugary foods. No take away. No processed foods. No eating between meals. No chips. Exercise for at least half an hour per day- no excuses. If you do this you’ll need to make sure you don’t compensate for what you have given up by eating more of other things (eg No sugar? I’ll have cheese and biscuits instead for supper!) Weight loss is likely to be more gradual than if you actually reduce energy by a fixed amount. However, as a long term strategy it’s less hassle to stick to.

3. A Very Low Calorie Diet (such as a meal replacement drink) can be a good ‘kick start’. You will lose weight at a faster rate. I don’t recommend this for long periods. It’s not sociable, it’s boring and it’s not real food! However, the benefits mentally of having made a good start are quite motivating. After this a sensible diet will seem quite decadent!

4. Intermittent Fasting. There is some evidence for the benefits of intermittent fasting. Certainly weight loss is a likely outcome (so long as you don’t gorge yourself when eating). Metabolically it seems to have positive effects on markers of inflammation, which indicate chronic disease such as diabetes type II and heart disease. Certainly we weren’t designed to graze all day like cows. It is an interesting sensation to ‘sit’ with feelings of hunger and to wait. Perhaps we should all give this one a go! Fasting can be during 12 to 16 hours per night, 2 days per week (the 5:2 diet) or the less arduous Fast 800 (800 Calories per day) diet. Many people have found these diets helpful.

5. If you have a very sedentary life then just starting an exercise regime and curbing your worst dietary indulgences can have a great effect. You’ll be addressing both weight loss and muscle toning at the same time. And muscle burns more fat than fat cells do, so your body should be using slightly more energy up! You will need to exercise multiple times per week, and to include both aerobic exercise (fast walking, running, rowing, cycling, fast swimming, energetic dancing, playing a sport…) and muscle toning resistance exercise- so something that involves weights or using body weight (eg squats, push ups…) A bit of relaxation yoga each morning is fantastic, but it’s unlikely to help you lose a lot of weight.

6. Low Carb or Low Fat? Despite the recent popularity of low carb and ketogenic diets, studies have shown that LONGTERM they are no more effective at losing weight and keeping it off than a low fat diet, or a low calorie diet. Carbohydrates are an important nutrient. Refined starches (sugar, lollies, soft drinks, white bread, pasta, pastry, cake and biscuits) are of no nutritional value. However, unrefined starches such as those in vegetables, legumes and wholegrains are super important to a healthy gut, so don’t neglect them!

7. Low GI. The low glycaemic index diet is really a high fibre diet. It aims to cut out foods which are digested very quickly into the blood stream (mainly refined carbohydrates) and concentrate on slowly absorbed nutrients. This is to avoid blood sugar spikes which are seen as a diabetes risk, and also to keep you feeling fuller longer (and therefore not looking for a chocolate fix..) Since it cuts out sugary things, it does often assist in weight loss.

So which diet is for you? They can all work. They can all fail. Persistence, having support, monitoring your progress and choosing the diet method that suits your lifestyle can be the things which make or break.

If you’d like to work with me to lose a few kilos, give me a call or make contact via my website.


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