Over two thirds of the UK population is either overweight or obese. It is estimated that by 2030 this figure will rise to over 70%! In a time where we know more about our nutritional needs than ever, how can this possibly be the case?! Diets/FADS, food marketing companies, ever changing government guidelines, and people becoming increasingly lazy are the main contributors. This short article will look at the dangers of common extreme weight loss/FAD diets which people are using for quick fix results.
As tempting as it is to strive for results as fast as possible when trying to lose weight, it is not the way to go! In the modern day there are countless FAD diets encouraging rapid weight loss and whilst you may initially lose the weight, it can come with a number of health risks and it is not going to be sustainable. What is the point in losing 15lbs for you to put it back on as soon as you finish a diet which cannot be maintained for a long period of time?! FAD diets, crash diets of whatever you want to call them are money making schemes targeting vulnerable and often desperate people who are looking for an easy fix to lose weight. Think of the research you put into buying a new car or house – your body deserves even more attention!
“Magic Pill” diets do you really want this? Does that really look like fresh veg?
We now live in a world where the question of ‘what to eat’ has become overly complex and people will often seek expert advice. The multi-billion pound food and supplement industry brainwashes people about the latest lab made product which comes with a whole host of health claims – Real food doesn’t need health claims. The food industry uses similar marketing tactics that the tobacco used to. Using catchy slogans to tempt people into purchasing – ‘A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play’ – yeah right! These sugary snacks, washed down with fizzy drinks and a microwave meal are in fact, in the long term, going to contribute to a number of potentially life threatening illnesses.
If you are trying to lose weight, a safe weekly rate of weight loss is between 0.5kg (1lb) and 1kg (2lb). To put that into perspective; 0.5 pounds of fat contains 1750 calories. So, to lose 0.5 pounds a week, you need to burn 250 more calories than you eat each day – this is easily achievable. In contrast, for a person to lose 4lb (14000 calories) in a week, they would need to burn an extra 2000 calories per day! To do this while providing your body with the required nutrients it needs is simply unachievable, hence the health risks.
An in depth study found 83% of people who initially lost weight using FAD diets, went on to eventually show more weight gain than initially lost! DO NOT DIET, but change your lifestyle! Rapid weight loss is not SAFE or SUSTAINABLE! The fact is, as human beings we aren’t supposed to diet!! We are made to crave a variety of foods and our bodies will tell us when we are hungry. Listen to your own body and zone out the mass media and the photoshopped picture of the celebrity that you want to look like within two weeks, be patient and results will follow. Make small, permanent changes that you can live with until they become habit.
Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations or depriving yourself of the foods you love. It’s about eating for enjoyment, to feel good, keeping your mind and body healthy. Where possible, prepare your own meals, always read labels, grill food instead of frying, plan meals in advance, never miss a meal and take your time eating to suppress your appetite. Eat a range of fruit and veg, aiming for at least 5 portions a day and limit your intake of trans & saturated fats, simple carbohydrates (sugar), salt and alcohol. Don’t make a habit of using food as a comfort when anything goes wrong in your life! Use exercise as a stress relief, not a pack of doughnuts, and remind yourself that nothing tastes as good as looking good feels!
Stick to a range of whole (1 ingredient), healthy and REAL foods which are predominantly plant based, control portion sizes, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly – There you go, a sentence that will in the long term, help you more than any diet on the market!
For people who have developed bad habits over a number of years, this will not be easy, but what is easy in life? Embrace it and start loving food again! Eat healthy to live healthy
You only get one body, look after it.
Rob Maher BA (HONS) Sports Science and Injury, Personal Trainer Reps Level 3.
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