Choosing the right Diet for Weight Loss
Obesity is an ever-increasing problem in affluent countries. But if you plan to
lose weight and stay slim, there is only
one answer. You need to find a healthy way of
eating that becomes part of your
life for ever, not just as a temporary diet. Along with building extra
activity into your daily routine, this tried and tested approach is the one that
The main conclusions of research into the success or failure of diet products
and weight-loss plans are sobering. They
show that, after people stop
dieting, most of them
regain all the weight they
may have lost, while some
Glamorous brochures and promises of instant weight loss are undeniably
seductive. But miracles do not happen in
the real world: fast track diets are impractical and shortsighted. Many take the
form of milk shakes, designed to replace
one or more meals. The drinks contain a wide range of
nutrients. But they have
They offer little or no education about making the gradual changes in eating and
exercise routines that are
necessary for successful long-term weight control.
They frequently encourage rapid weight loss, even though there is no healthy way
to achieve this.
They produce a typical 'dieting mentality': using the products means that you
are 'going on a diet' rather than
choosing a regular, healthy eating pattern. This attitude to food has its own
psychological pitfalls and can be highly
They may be misused by people who are obsessed with being thin and who do not
need to lose weight.
Yo-Yo dieting -Some diets do promote gradual, steady weight-loss. But others
promise results within an unrealistically
short time. This creates an endless cycle: sudden weight-loss followed by
equally fast weight-gain. This 'on-again, off-again' approach can be harmful: fluctuating changes in weight put a strain on
the heart. One study has shown that
changes such as these during adulthood increase the risk of heart disease and
cancer. Extreme dieting may also lead to
irregular menstruation: this is especially the case in young girls, some of whom
take dieting to such excess, they stop
Joining a club - Reputable slimming groups provide support and advice while you
lose weight. The aim of most clubs is to
help you to change your eating behavior.
Portion-control - Ready-made calorie-counted meals are popular choices. They are
often labeled as 'diet' or 'low-calorie'.
portion sizes tend to be small: this is usually why they are so low in
calories. But you can always give a
positive boost to the health values of these meals by accompanying them with the
recommended servings of fruit and
vegetables from the Five
The most effective way to maintain a balanced
weight and healthy metabolism is
to increase your levels of physical
activity. This triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural
painkillers: these combat
stress and also help to
Try to incorporate simple activities into your routine and work up to 30 minutes
of daily sustained exercise.
Walk as much as possible; walk the dog, take the children out or simply park the
car farther away from the house.
Always walk at a pace that leaves you slightly out of breath.
Use the stairs instead of the lift, or run up and down the steps at home.
If you have an exercise
bike, set it up in front of your television and cycle
through your favorite soap.
Take up a fun sport: go
or line-dancing with friends.
Use Measurable targets
Here are a few examples of the energy expenditure derived
from various activities. They are all
measured in Calories-per-hour units: you should check the time you spend on the
activity and work out the sum from
Light to moderate exercise: These use 50-300 Calories per hour: ironing; making
beds; sweeping floors; hand-washing
clothes; light gardening; washing your car; walking at 2-3 mph on a level
surface; cycling at 5 1/2 mph on a level
Moderate exercise: To use up 300-400 Calories per hour try: digging; mowing the
lawn; pulling weeds; badminton;
canoeing (at 4 mph); dancing; playing golf (no cart); walking at 3 1/2-4 mph on
a level surface; ping-pong; volleyball.
Heavy exercise: These will burn up around 420-600 Calories per hour: chopping
wood; digging holes; climbing;
waterskiing; jogging at 6-7 mph; walking at 5 mph on a level surface, walking
upstairs, walking up-hill; cycling at 5-6
mph up and down-hill.
In the end, it's your choice what diet you want to follow. It all comes down
to calories...too many and you gain weight, while a safe reduction will help
you lose weight. Period. It's much easier to reduce your calories by making
small changes in your current habits than to change your entire lifestyle
overnight, as many of these diets require. Oh, and don't forget to exercise!