Diet and Nutrition

When you are 25 and want to shed some weight, a few days on Slim Fast, or cutting out ‘carbs before Marbs’ (basically restricting calories), may well enable you to drop a few excess pounds in weight (often this is a combination of water, and muscle loss as well as fat, so).  However, if you are taking this approach in your 20’s, there is a strong likelihood you will go on to be a serial dieter. By the time you are in your mid 30’s, your body will have had enough of this kind of feast / famine approach, and it won’t be so keen on letting go of whatever its being given. It’s also likely that you may well have done some damage to your metabolism, causing it to slow, and this means that you will need less and less calories to even maintain your weight, never mind reduce it.

The figures from the diet industry vary, and are obviously subject to some creative data gathering anyway, but even then, some sources state that as many as 95% of people who lose weight on a diet put back on what they lost, and 65% put more back on than they lost initially.  Any figures in the public domain are to be treated with caution, but I would urge you to think of anyone you know who has successfully lost weight and maintained their lower weight. Added to this, weight is such a misleading measure; as mentioned above, weight loss can result, but it is usually made up firstly of water and muscle, with fat usually being the last thing to go, depending on the person’s metabolic status.

So, how can I lose weight successfully?

Irrespective of whether you choose to work with me, or go it alone, the functional and successful way to become leaner is to focus on health first. Leanness will follow.

  1. Identify why you want to lose weight. This is an important but often overlooked factor. If you do not love yourself in your size 16 jeans, then you are not going to love yourself (for any length of time) in your size 8s either.

  2. Is your metabolism suffering already? Have a look at my checklist

  3. Your body needs to feel safe, and not under siege, in order for it to let go of any excess padding. If you want to be lean, then it’s crucial to first of all create the conditions for the body to be lean.

  4. One of the way sure to make your body feel safe is to consistently give it fuel

  5. Identify the stressors in your life, and be honest about them.

  6. Try and get your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) tested. This will tell you, factually, how many calories you are using to exist, rather than relying on formulae.

  7. If the above is not possible, at least use a formula to calculate a target calorie figure.

  8. Be realistic about your goals. This ties into number one. If you go for quick and dirty, the chances are that you will also see quick and dirty reversal of the results.

  9. Try and avoid fad diets. However they are packaged, they all boil down to restriction of intake and / or increase in energy expenditure.

  10. Your body’s preferred source of fuel, is carbohydrates. If you have been hoodwinked by the low carb police (we’ve all been there), then just experiment: try a few weeks of using carbohydrates as your primary fuel source and see how you feel compared to how you feel on your low carb diet.  This article contains a helpful way of checking in on how your metabolic health is doing.