Weight-loss, the eternal enigma
Registered dietitian Mairi Wilcock of Stanner Nutrition Clinic, gives her expert opinion on overcoming the trials and pitfalls of trying to lose weight.
Losing weight, for some, is one of life’s most demoralising enterprises. We devote a huge proportion of time, money and emotional energy to it during our lifetimes, often ending up where we began or worse off, wondering why the end result continues to delude us, despite our best efforts.
As a dietitian, I am often asked why I think this might be the case, and I honestly have to say I think that we’re over complicating matters! There are so many diet plans online and in the media that give conflicting and confusing messages, it can be difficult to know where to turn. Sometimes the more complicated (and expensive) something appears to be, the more likely we are to try it, ending up bitterly disappointed when it doesn’t work out in the long run. I say don’t be too hard on yourself - sticking to a complicated, expensive diet long term is nigh on an impossible task.
There are several considerations to be made before you embark on any weight-loss plan, which will ensure successful, long term weight-loss.
Be honest about your starting point and where you want to be.
How much weight do you need to lose? Be realistic! While we all might want to have bodies that wouldn’t look out of place on the front of a fashion magazine, the cost of trying to achieve this might just be too much if it means never being able to tuck into a Friday night take away, or looking forward to a few cocktails with friends, or having to get up to work out seven days a week at 5.30am. We all need to have a lifestyle that makes us happy and some sacrifices are just too much to bear!
Enjoy your food, no one will stick to something that they can’t enjoy for very long.
Stop dieting! There are two very good reasons why. Firstly the term ‘diet’ implies something that is short term, most of us don’t want to lose weight just for a short while. We want to keep it off! As such, we need to find a way of eating that allows us to lose weight and that we can live with in the long term - which means we need to enjoy it! Secondly, so called ‘yoyo’ dieting can affect metabolism, meaning that subsequent attempts to lose weight will be even harder!
Stay motivated! The toughest part of weight-loss is keeping going, make a list of what will motivate you to stick to your plan and take action to remind yourself of what these are. Hang those jeans you want to get back into on the front of your wardrobe or have a weight-loss buddy to help you through the hard times.
Don’t sweat the small stuff! Please don’t beat yourself up about the occasional slip up - it’s what you do on a daily basis that defines your weight, not what you do occasionally.
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