Yes, I am asking a question. How is your weight loss strategy working for you? Weight loss is always an important issue for many and even detrimental to the health of some people when they cannot achieve it. It is quite easy for many to pile on the weight but to drop the weight can be quite a task. It often requires you to employ your all faculties sometimes and even employ the help of other people – directly or indirectly.
I have a few other questions that I think you need to ponder on. If you can confidently answer them then you are on the right track.
- Do you understand the basic principle about weight loss?
Energy is very essential to keep your body and mind going every day and you would only get this energy from your food and drink (I know that some spiritual people will tell me otherwise). The amount of energy you need differs from other people because of your age, sex, level of physical activity and so on. You must understand that if your energy intake exceeds the energy you expend, then you will gain weight. If your expenditure of energy is higher than your intake then you lose weight. Also, when you get the weight that you want, you must learn to balance your energy i.e. your intake should balance with your expenditure.
Your weight loss plan must be able to get you to consume foods that would help you reduce your intake without making you feel hungry all the time or you will falter. Example, eating whole grains will take some time to break down in your body and will raise your blood sugar slowly compared to sugary foods and drinks or eating refined carbohydrates which will get your blood sugar to rise quickly and eventually you get hungry more quickly.
- Is your weight loss plan a sustainable one?
No one wants to do all that hard work only to gain them back a few months or a year down the line. Can you comfortably incorporate your weight loss into your everyday schedule and stick to it for all of your life? Many weight loss plans hinge on fad diets that most people cannot keep up with. Perhaps that is why it is called ‘fad’, it is for a season. Even if your weight loss plan is sustainable, are you investing all you can to ensure that it works for you? You need to invest your time, money, mind and energy also.
- Are you certain that your weight loss strategy is not harming your body?
Some diet plans lead you straight towards malnutrition. An example is a diet plan asking you to drink a ‘shake it up’ compounded liquid twice a day. They tell you to just take that and you would not feel hungry and it is expected to help you lose weight. First I am here to tell you that any diet plan must first ‘DO NO HARM’ to you. A good diet plan should not only help you lose weight but boost your overall health thereby reducing your risks to chronic diseases. Another example is diet made up of just high protein and high fat with little or no carbs. By going this route alone you might end up not getting some types of minerals and vitamins that are essential for your body and a deficiency of nutrients leads to malnutrition. Ask your dietitian if your weight loss plan is a good one and let her advice you on what you can do to make it the best one.
Your state of health also matters. If you are a diabetic patient who is overweight, you know already that your food composition is critical to the management of diabetics and you have to drop some weight. This means that if you are going on to a diet, you need to consult with your Dietitian and Physician and work out a good plan.
- What is your long term lifestyle plan to maintain a good weight and remain healthy?
Lastly, long term weight loss requires that you pay maximum attention to your weight and be consistent in your drive to achieve it. To achieve this you have to be able to incorporate it into your lifestyle. It should not be disruptive. A disruptive plan upsets your balance of living and it may not be sustainable or it may become an overtly regimented way of life that you do not get to enjoy many pleasures of life (I am referring to food here o!).
Take a cue from celebrities of the west. They invest in good meal plans as well as exercise (of course some are extreme but note the that they do both diet and exercise) .
Invest in scientifically proven good habits for weight loss and healthy living. Here are some great ones:
- Avoid the sugary and highly processed foods when shopping for food or eating
- Invest in whole grains and other nutrient dense foods
- Fruits and vegetables should be your companions
- Eat more proteins
- Chew your foods slowly and thoroughly
- Use smaller plates and food bowls
- Drink more water throughout the day especially before a meal
- Sleep well
- Get moving even if you are a sedentary worker.
There are quite a number of good habits that you can incorporate into your daily life. A lifestyle change is what you need to lose and maintain your weight while improving your health generally. When you can achieve a lifestyle change, you would not be talking about Diet plans, you would be focused on healthy meal plans. Sometime in the future I will focus more on how to incorporate these good habits into your routine. In the meantime, please evaluate your weight loss strategy.
- Brunstrom JM. 2014.Mind over platter: pre-meal planning and the control of meal size in humans.International Journal of Obesity. 2014;38:S9–S12.
- Fallaize R, Wilson L, Gray J, Morgan LM, Griffin BA. 2013. Variation in the effects of three different breakfast meals on subjective satiety and subsequent intake of energy at lunch and evening meal. Eur J Nutr. 2013;52:1353–9.
- Ferriday D, Bosworth ML, Godinot N, Martin N, Forde CG, Van Den Heuvel E, et al. 2016.Variation in the Oral Processing of Everyday Meals Is Associated with Fullness and Meal Size; A Potential Nudge to Reduce Energy Intake? Nutrients. 2016;8(5):315
- Shah, M., Copeland, J., Dart, L., Adams-Huet, B., James, A., & Rhea, D. 2014. Slower eating speed lowers energy intake in normal-weight but not overweight/obese subjects. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114, 393–402
- Weigle DS, Breen PA, Matthys CC, et al. 2005. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations.Am J Clin Nutr 2005;82:41–8.