Your weight is dependent on the number of calories you consume and the number of calories that you expend. Your intake of calories comes from the food and drink you eat each day. Calories are burned by your metabolism, thermogenesis and physical activity.
When your energy intake is equal to your energy expenditure then you are in a state of energy balance. Positive energy balance occurs when your intake is greater than your expenditure and negative energy balance is when your expenditure exceeds your intake. A negative energy balance is desirable if you intend to lose weight.
To achieve a negative energy balance you have to make changes to your diet and changes to the amount of physical activity you do each day. A combination of both diet and exercise has been proven to be most effective over a long term period. Eating more healthily and having a moderate cut in calories combined with more exercise each day should lead to gradual maintained weight loss.
You should aim to lose no more than 0.5kg per week. Faster weight loss is good in the short term but is very difficult to maintain and people usually regain the weight afterwards. Also, relying on scales isn’t a good idea as the scales don’t tell you anything about your body composition. Ideally, you want to lose the fat and gain muscle instead so measures of body composition such as skinfold tests or waist circumference measures may be more helpful and encouraging than looking at the scales. Keeping a food diary is a good way to take control of your diet and is a useful tool to see what you are currently eating and where you can improve and be healthier. Setting goals is important for weight loss. They should be realistic, have an appropriate timescale and be achievable.
With regard to changes in diet, it is advisable to follow the following guidelines:
- Eat more ‘Low GI’ foods as these foods improve how your body regulates your appetite and they make you feel fuller so you won’t feel as hungry between meals;
- Eat foods high in fibre as this will give you an advantage as they make you feel fuller and improve your digestion;
- Eat more fruits and vegetables each day to ensure you are getting all the essential vitamins and minerals;
- Try to cut out foods containing saturated fats as much as possible from the diet and replace them with healthier fats such as omega -3 and omega-6;
- Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. 4-6 smaller meals at regular intervals during the day can lead to fewer calories consumed overall throughout the day and can keep your metabolism higher than normal in the periods after consuming a meal.
There isn’t a single quick method for weight loss. It has to be achieved by committing to beneficial lifestyle changes and maintaining them over time. But stick with it and the results and benefits will start to show!
Please feel free to contact the G4 Didsbury Clinic (Manchester) to speak to a member of our diet & nutrition team for any questions that you may have or if you wish to arrange a consultation to discuss your diet, nutrition and lifestyle.
If you would like to discuss your exercise and fitness regime or if you wish to have a fitness/health screening at our clinic, please contact our G4 Fitness team.