The problem with quick-fix diets
Quick-fix diets are usually short-term with a rigid set of rules.
While you may lose weight, the diets are often too constraining
to sustain for long. They're also likely to be nutritionally inadequate,
could lead to problems such as iron deficiency or poor bone health
and don't help you to address your real obstacles to losing weight
and keeping it off. Plus, they can make you lose confidence in your
ability to slim successfully.
Being more active in daily life helps to boost your mood and
self-esteem, regulate (not increase) appetite, maintain muscle
and make long-term success more likely.
Expecting more from your weight-loss programme than is
really feasible only sets you up for failure, so be realistic about
how much weight you'll lose and how quickly. Developing skills
to achieve the lifestyle changes needed to reach your realistic
goals is the safe and sensible approach.
A healthy diet also helps to reduce your risk of health
problems such as heart disease
Nourish body and mind
Keeping your diet balanced while you slim helps ensure your
body - and mind - gets the nutrients it needs to stay healthy,
alert and active. Having regular meals and including small amounts
of favourite foods keeps it satisfying too. A healthy diet also helps
to reduce your risk of health problems such as heart disease,
certain cancers, diabetes, cataracts and lung disorders.
The energy content of 1lb (0.5kg) of body fat is 3,500 calories.
So to lose 1lb a week, a 500 calorie 'deficit' is needed each day
(7 x 500 = 3,500). This is best achieved by making small changes
to eat fewer calories and be more active. For example, swap a
chocolate bar for a banana (save 150 calories) and a small pot
of reduced-calorie for standard coleslaw (save 240 calories) and
add two 15-minute brisk walks (burn 150 calories) for a 540 calorie deficit.
There's no single right way to lose weight. But it's important to
do it in a healthy and realistic way. This allows you to get the
nutrients you need, feel positive about helping your health and
wellbeing, and get on with living your life. It also means you'll be
developing new skills and attitudes to help you keep the weight off.
Dos and don'ts
Feel that with the right skills you can control your weight
and that it's a positive thing to do.
Think about which diets (or elements of them) were helpful
in the past and which weren't. Use this information to plan
helpful changes and avoid past mistakes.
Plan to make small and sustainable lifestyle changes.
Keep a food and thoughts diary to help you identify problem
areas and stay conscious of what and why you eat.
Set realistic goals and aim to lose no more than one to two
pounds a week.
Eat regular meals, starting with breakfast.
Base your meals on a variety of healthy choices from
the main food groups.
Experiment with your low-fat cooking skills.
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Adopt a flexible rather than all-or-nothing approach to eating.
Learn how to cope with feelings, not feed them.
Be more active more often in your daily life.
Make time for 30 minutes moderate activity most days.
Enlist some ongoing support.
Be lured by claims for rapid weight loss offered by quick-fix
Use appearance as your only motivation to lose weight - improved
health and wellbeing are also vital.
Give up if you feel you've had a bad day or eaten too much
the lapse isn't the problem, but your reaction to it could be.
Rely on a diet to solve your weight problems. It can provide
pointers, but you must develop the skills and confidence to
do it for yourself.
Get impatient with gradual weight loss - remember, it's more
likely to end in long-term success.