Transformation plans, quick fixes, and magic pills are widely promoted to people that want to manage their weight, most of the times delivering the idea, that overweight or underweight people don’t need to make changes to their lifestyle, but just sign up for the latest 12 weeks transformation plan; the latest ‘pill’, the latest ‘juice diet’ and so on.
I’m not trying to dismantle the fact that some of the above could work BUT, for most people, this is not going to deliver long lasting results and a high percentage of people will fall back into old behaviours pushing back their progress massively.
Even if the latest diet or the latest training method really works, it could lead to bad relationships with food and exercise and makes it less realistic to be maintained in the long term. These bad relationships could possibly lead to serious mental health issues or obsessions over certain foods or exercise routines.
What should I be doing then?
The main factor dictating long-term weight loss is a negative energy balance that is consistent and sustainable, however, for an individual experiencing a steady increase in weight, the first and most important step is to put a stop to the weight gain, to then focus on fat loss.
Imagine you are in a car moving forward and you want to go backward. You’d need to stop the car first, change your gear, and only after you did that, you can then start moving in the other direction. Failing to do so will put your engine under unnecessary stress and possibly cause damages or incidents.
Moving from a calorie surplus that is causing a steady increase in weight to a calorie deficit to lose weight would mean a large reduction in calories that can affect your ability to keep it consistent in the long term and could possibly lead to harsh psychological consequences when it fails i.e., depression, eating disorders, anxiety, etc.
When a desire of losing fat arises, an individual should stop and focus on a healthy and sustainable way of doing so.
What if I can sustain a large calorie deficit?
Well, a high calorie deficit such as 800kcal/ day; is very likely to lead to significant muscle loss.
I could go on all day on the reasons this is, in no way good for you and your health, but I’ll leave that for another update.
Appearance can be a huge motivator for many people but is also important to understand that being overweight goes well beyond cosmetic issues and could lead to serious health issues that can be as scary as death.
Successful weight management to improve overall health in adults requires a lifelong commitment to healthy lifestyle behaviours with an emphasis on enjoyable nutrition and exercise practices.
Some goals for long-term weight management:
⁃ Prevention of weight gain or stopping weight gain in an individual who has been seeing a steady increase in his or her weight
⁃ Varying degrees of improvements in physical and emotional health
⁃ Small maintainable fat losses or more extensive fat losses achieved through modified eating and exercise behaviours
⁃ Improvements in eating, exercise, and other behaviours.