Dieting We're all doing it and businesses are keen to jump on the bandwagon. Every new juice fast, shake or bar is the next big thing – the ideal diet to help you lose pounds.
Let's make one thing clear; of course it's great if you want to lose a little weight. After all, obesity increases your risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and various kinds of cancer. It is also very understandable that we should reach for the miracle cures en masse. After all, they promise to be 'fast' and relatively 'painless'. And who wouldn't want that? Losing pounds quickly and painlessly.
Unfortunately, I have to set you straight; it all sounds attractive, but it doesn't work. There's no such thing as quick and painless. These things usually have a temporary effect, you keep them up for a little while and in most cases go back to your usual eating patterns. Which means in no time
you are back to your old weight, or in some cases above it. Because when you are dieting hard, your metabolism switches to power save mode – it holds onto its reserves. And when you start eating again, your body carries on doing that a little while longer, which may well mean you ultimately gain more weight than you just lost.
As I wrote in my previous blog, the trick is simple:
you'll lose weight if you ingest less energy (food) and consume more energy in the long-term.
Simple, right? Wrong. The key is to change your eating patterns in such a way that you can keep it up for good. That doesn't mean dieting for the rest of your life, absolutely not, but it does mean eating a balanced, varied, healthy diet for the rest of your life and eating the right things (sinning now and then is fine).
But the switch really has to be permanent. People often have plenty of motivation at the start, but over time it tails off.
How do you start and how do you continue?
To start with, it is important to gain a good understanding of what you eat, when and why. For this reason, it is a good idea to keep a food diary (there are various versions available online). Try to be as honest as possible. Often you'll forget what you have actually eaten on a particular day, and you'll have the idea that you actually didn't eat much or that you ate really healthily and not too much. By keeping a diary, you'll get a good picture of your actual eating habits and energy intake. That way, you'll become more aware of your eating patterns. This is the basis for change and a healthier diet.
If you find it hard to do alone, you can call on the help of a dietician. You don't need a referral from a GP and your insurance will reimburse you. A dietician can analyse your eating patterns for you with the help of your diary. Which takes you to take the next step – putting together your ideal diet.
Because losing weight is a very individual thing, which is one reason why 'one-size-fits-all solutions' from manufacturers don't work. You need to adapt your eating and living habits in a healthy way that suits your body and, perhaps more importantly, in a way you can keep up. Good luck keeping your diary!