If you just need to lose a few kilos READ THIS!
A lot of the clients I see have been over-weight for a number of years and have tried losing weight on their own, often successfully at first, but always regained the weight and generally more than they lost. I hardly ever get clients that only need to lose a few kilos but I wish I did. Most wait until they are 10kg, 20kg or 30kg heavier than they want to be before booking an appointment.
And that’s the trouble with “dieting”: people generally gain more weight after dieting than they originally lost. It’s relatively easy for most people to lose weight by following a plan or instructions in a diet book, but keeping the weight off is incredibly difficult. In fact UCLA psychology graduate and researcher looking into the success rate of diets, Janet Tomiyama, reported that “Several studies indicate that dieting is actually a consistent predictor of future weight gain.”
So what is it about dieting that is so wrong? Weight loss is actually not too hard in the beginning. Dieting to reach a goal is challenging but quite a few of us actually relish the challenge (initially at least!) and having something to aim for provides focus and motivation at the start. It’s even rather exciting embarking on a new way of eating and can be refreshing, and some people even feel a sense of relief that they are now going to get to their desired weight. Then when weight begins to drop off and zipping up the trousers is a bit easier and going to the gym feels less daunting, confidence can grow and this can be hugely motivating.
But it’s hard work. At first you don’t mind because it’s fresh and novel, but after a while it can get boring and anti-social. It’s hard to resist temptation for the third or fourth week in a row when there’s birthday cake at the office. You carry on but it’s boring and miserable. And then weight loss slows down and it’s even harder to keep the motivation up. Even before the goal is reached (bear in mind also that it may be an unrealistic goal) the diet becomes less of a priority and before long weight is creeping back up.
And then it starts all over again and people become trapped in the yo-yo cycle, which by the way has been linked with increased risk of cardiovascular disease as well as feelings of failure and low self-esteem.
But carrying too much weight is unhealthy too, so we need to do something about it. First of all it’s important to realise that being over-weight is incremental. It starts off with being a very small amount over, and at this point no-one really notices. And in fact at this point you are unlikely to look any different from most other people as our idea of a “normal” weight may not actually be in tune with what a healthy weight is. Then a little more weight is added over Christmas or a holiday, and then a bit more is added the next year until you start buying clothes that are the next size up and you go on a diet.
My advice is to find out what a healthy weight for you is, and if you need to lose even a few kilos, go and see a dietitian. They will help you to lose the few kilos – which is very easy compared to 15kg, so the earlier the better – but they can also help you understand what a healthy way to eat is and to figure out why you gained the weight in the first place. They can help you to plan for the future so it doesn’t happen again, preventing the rebound weight gain after weight loss. And when you work with a dietitian you can pop back every so often to make sure you’re still doing well and if not they can support you through getting back on track.
So even if you have only a few kilos to lose, here’s my three-point plan:
1. Know what a healthy weight for you is. A good place to start is by finding out your body mass index. You can calculate it here: http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx
2. Ditch the “dieting”. We know from the research carried out by UCLA that diets don’t work for most people in the long-term. And do not pick up the latest fad-diet book whatever you do. They are even less successful long-term.
3. Even if you only have a small amount of weight to lose, see a dietitian to help you make a personalised plan that works for you and fits in with your lifestyle rather than you trying to work around a complicated, restrictive diet plan. And remember, it is so much harder and more daunting when you have double figures to shed.
Now get started! I’d wish you luck but if you have support from a professional, you won’t need it.
You can book your consultation with me either in my Harley Street or City clinics in London, or over Skype and FaceTime. Have a look at my Clinics & Availability pages for more information or please email me at [email protected]