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Articles - Weight Loss

12 things that you need to know about losing weight:

  1. Extreme diets will always make you fatter in the long run; resist the urge to try any extreme diet, however desperate you feel.
  2. Skipping breakfast or other meals will make it more difficult to lose weight. If you miss meals, your body will view the drop in calories as scarcity of food (famine response). Your metabolism will slow to conserve calories, and food that you eat may be converted to fat for use when the famine has passed.
  3. Healthy weight loss is around a pound of body fat a week, if you lose much more, the chances are that you will put it back on FAST as soon as you resume normal eating.
  4. Rapid weight loss on the scales due to dieting may in fact be loss of water. More disturbingly, rapid weight loss may be due to loss of muscle. A reduced muscle mass will slow your metabolism, making it easier to put on weight.
  5. Extreme diets will place the body under stress, forcing it to use its vitamin and mineral reserves. This is particularly damaging for women of childbearing age, who will need these reserves to sustain a healthy pregnancy in the future years. Extreme diets will also interrupt hormonal balances, and may put you at increased risk of developing osteoporosis in later life.
  6. You cannot ‘spot reduce;’ however many sit ups u perform, the fat will not ‘melt’ or ‘burn’ from your tummy. To lose body fat you must burn calories through exercise which gets you out of breath, and by sensibly reducing calories. You can improve the appearance of certain areas by developing muscle tone beneath the skin. An ideal way to do this would be to regularly attend body conditioning or circuit classes and develop muscle tone at the same time.
  7. To lose weight you must use more calories than you consume. To lose approximately a pound of body fat a week you must cut around 500 calories each day from your diet. Because this could seriously stress your system (the famine response) it is sensible to burn an extra 250 calories through exercise each day. You must exercise for about an hour each day, and cut 250 calories from you diet, through making sensible food choices e.g. swap a 200 calorie bagel at lunch for two thick rice cakes (56 calories) saving 144 calories already!
  8. Weight loss is defined by the outgoing calories exceeding the incoming calories each day/week; it makes no difference what time of the day you eat. There is no point in ‘not eating after 6’ which makes you so hungry you binge at nine on whatever you can get your hands on. Most sensible is to eat 5 small healthy meals a day to encourage the metabolism to run efficiency. If an evening meal makes you feel uncomfortable, have a light salad or soup.
  9. I am very sorry but you are not big boned, and your weight is not your mothers’ fault. Different body types store fat in different places, but the tall slim Jims really do eat better (or less) or are more active than their rounder cousins. If your family are all large, this is usually more to do with learnt eating and activity patterns. If you have been blaming your weight gain on your genetics, then stop, because you can lose weight too. Try not to look at the reasons why you can’t lose weight, and instead focus on small changes you can make to promote weight loss.
  10. If you really can’t understand why you cannot lose weight, keep a food diary; you may surprise yourself at how much/often you actually eat.
  11. If you are concerned about your weight, keep it to yourself; children copy the behaviour of their parents. To give your children a better chance of avoiding eating disorders/disordered eating, practice healthy eating and activity as a good example to them, rather than talking about dieting and your dissatisfaction with your weight.
  12. Want to lose half a stone in the next 5 minutes? Stand tall with the posture of a ballerina (lads, you can be a soldier if you would rather), draw your tummy into the backbone, feel as if you are being drawn up to the ceiling through the crown of your head, slightly roll the shoulders back and down and maintain this tall posture throughout the day. Good posture will make you look slimmer immediately. The icing on the cake is to think positive things about yourself; if you feel confident and attractive you will look confident and attractive.