On Dieting

Summer is around the corner, and I have more and more people coming to talk to me about their weight and the age-old topic of...Diets!

There are various incarnations and methods floating out there, but there are a few Great Golden Rules to go by when it comes to losing weight.  

1. If it doesn't take long to lose the weight, it won't take long to come back either.

Most weight loss within a matter of days or weeks, especially during 'crash' dieting, is attributed to losing water. When the human body suddenly has a lot less energy intake, it uses up all the glycogen stores - which is our body's supply of ready-to-use sugar. A lot of water is stored with glycogen, and therefore when this store is used up, the water is lost from the body. This may account for anything up to 10 kg of body weight, depending on the weight the person begins with.
As soon as the person starts to eat again, the glycogen and water is stored into the body again, and all the 'weight loss' returns.

2. We can eat more than we burn off.

2 kilometer run burns around 150 calories.  Twice around the block, 15 minutes.

7 small squares of chocolate (30 grams) is around 150 calories. A few chews, 5 minutes

(even the healthy option has a lot of energy - 2 slices of toast cut wholemeal bread: 200 calories.)

3. Protein and fibre keeps you fuller for longer.

From a 'feeling hungry' point of view, having more protein in the diet (eg. egg, beans, nuts, meat, poultry, fish), will keep you fuller for longer. It takes the digestive system a bit longer to digest and absorb, and releases energy at a slower pace, as opposed to simple sugars in candy - which releases energy quickly, but leaves you craving for more. Fibre, will also physically increase the bulk of the meal, making you feel fuller, with less calories.

4. Chew slower, eat less

Chewing slower will allow the food we eat to be absorbed better, as well as increasing the time between mouthfuls. Less time shovelling food down the throat means less calories.

5. Treat yourself!

One of the greatest misconceptions is that losing weight means no treats. Have regular and scheduled times for whatever your vice may be: ice cream, cake, candy, fish n chips...make sure you make time for these. Large amounts – once a week eg. A fish n chips meal. Small amounts: two spoonful of ice cream, once every second day. Doing so will motivate you to avoid those unnecessary snacks in exchange for your favourite treat, as well as keeping the cravings at bay.

6. Take your time

10 kg of body weight takes about a year