THE MOST COMMON NEW YEARS’ RESOLUTION: WEIGHT LOSS!
How To Lose Weight
The difficulty with losing weight is that it’s really hard to keep up motivation after an initial success, and it’s all too easy to fall back into lifelong patterns of behaviour. This article will address some of the basics of losing weight with some suggestions about how to not only lose weight but start a healthier long-term lifestyle. London Doctors Clinic is happy to advise and support you through such lifestyle changes, as they are to diagnose and treat your medical problems!
Being overweight and inactive can be a major contributor in lots of health conditions including some cancers, heart disease and arthritis. It can also make you feel tired and lethargic. Before you start trying to lose weight it can be a good idea to check what activities are safe for you with your GP and they can also check for any underlying health conditions or medications that may be causing you to gain weight, such as by performing some basic blood tests.
Why Do I Put On Weight?!
The process of losing and gaining weight is bedded in evolutionary history, and therefore not suited to today’s environment. We crave fatty, sugary and salty foods as these were rare in our evolutionary past. Today, however, most of the cheap and easy foods we chose are high in fat, salt and sugar. This makes them extremely tasty to us, and helps the supermarkets to sell more! It’s really difficult to stop craving these foods, especially when you’re tired or in a rush!
Additionally, our bodies are trained to store any excess food energy as fat. In times when food was scarce we would be able to use this fat to see us through to another period of plenty. Now, however, when you can order a pizza all through the night and go to the supermarket five minutes away at 2am, this mechanism can be damaging to us, and means that it’s important to keep a tight hold on how much you eat.
Most of us no longer need to worry about when food will next be available, like our evolutionary ancestors did, hence the now-unnecessary ability to store energy as fat
The First Rule of Weight Loss
The basic principle of all weight loss across all the sources of diet advice is: Eat less energy than you use! This way, your body needs to burn some of your own fat.
You can do this by:
- Eating much less,
- Doing much more,
- A combination of a bit of both - as most people find
There are lots of calorie calculators to work out how many calories you need to eat a day to maintain a safe weight loss. This is tailored to:
- Your age,
- Activity level,
- Weight loss aims
How Quickly Can I Lose Weight?
Safe weight loss is slow weight loss. Although you may feel that it’s best to get rid of a few extra kilos as quickly as possible to get back to 'normal', this can lead to a yo-yo diet cycle, which can result in you becoming heavier than you started.
It’s safest to try to maintain a 1-2kg/week weight loss.
That said, if you’ve been gaining weight for a long time, even maintaining your weight for a few weeks can be an important goal and first step.
Quick Weight-Loss Solution: 'How To Lose 5Kg In A Week?'
If you find yourself repeatedly googling this phrase, you’ll be searching out methods that result in:
- Mainly water loss
- An exhausting week
- Such sugar lows
This kind of diet is simply not sustainable, and you’ll almost definitely be searching out the cake at the end of the week!
Losing Weight: A Lifelong Change
If you can think of losing weight as a lifelong (instead of week long!) change, with a health rather than aesthetic benefit, you can set yourself up for longer term success.
When you’re thinking about lifestyle changes try to think about things that you would be able to do forever. Never eating chocolate or chips or biscuits ever again, or replacing two meals a day with a drink forever seems impossible to most people, and so isn’t usually part of a long term health strategy.
But going for a long walk, to an exercise class or swimming once a week might be quite reasonable. These boundaries will be different for everyone, but for choosing a lifestyle that isn’t doomed to failure from the outset they can be a useful tool.
If you're out of practise with your exercise, why not start to slowly build your fitness by walking, or hiking, gradually picking up the pace over time?
Keeping Track of Your Weight Loss: "Dear Diary..."
When you start thinking about losing weight it can be important to start documenting what you are eating, when and why (hungry, sad, tired, bored etc). You can also start documenting how much exercise you do: it may be useful to get a pedometer, and through this documentation you become accountable to yourself. This also means that if you are struggling to lose weight your GP or a dietitian might be able to find some clues in your diet.
Keeping track of what you're eating, as well as weight, BMI, measurements in a diet diary is a great way of measuring progress!
Remember that every new decision is another decision to lose weight or not. Just because you had a biscuit doesn’t mean that you have to try to start again next week! Your long term health will benefit from positive changes to your fitness and activity levels, diet and weight, and a long term outlook, including being kind to yourself about any small mistakes and focusing on positives, can be the key to your success. If you are looking for help with weight management, we offer it as well as many other services at all of our locations. And considering we have 8 London clinics, you will always be in luck if you are looking for a "GP Near Me."
By Ruth Laurence-King