Weight loss and dieting is in the forefront of almost every woman’s mind and more recently men. This is mainly due to the pressure put upon us by society to be slim and the unhealthy eating practises that many people have adopted. Statistics suggest that over half of the population is on a weight loss diet at any one time, so why are so many unsuccessful in their dieting efforts and how can this be reversed?
Firstly, the rationale behind the diet usually involves a short-lived goal such as fitting into a wedding dress or losing weight for an upcoming vacation or special occasion. Because of the harsh time restrictions on the weight loss, and usually a fair amount of pressure, the diet often falters. With the lack of immediate weight loss, the individual is discouraged and the enthusiasm to continue losing weight plummets.
When weight loss is required, the individual should not implement strict time limits and should be of the mindset that the weight will be lost indefinitely rather than for a one off occasion. Instead of planning a diet that involves dramatically reducing calorie intake, a healthy and moderate calorie reduction is far more effective in creating a realistic and achievable aim and to avoid risking the metabolic rate converting to starvation mode.
So what is an achievable aim and how do we plan a healthy and moderate calorie reduction? Well, the average female requires around 1950 calories per day and males around 2500. In order to achieve a steady but healthy weight loss of around 1-2 Lbs per week , the daily calorie intake should be reduced by 500 calories.
With this calorie deficit, the body is more likely to lose fat rather than fat and muscle and become leaner. It is important to retain muscle tissue as the cells within the muscle have a higher metabolic rate and keep the overall energy requirement of the body high. This also helps to reduce the risk of weight gain following completion of the diet.
The diet should include a balance of all the food groups with carbohydrate comprising roughly 50% of the diet, fat 25-30% and protein around 20-25%. The fat aspect should be primarily mono and poly-unsaturated fats which can be found in vegetable oils. High levels of fruit, vegetables and grains will ensure that the diet has plenty of bulk and is nutritionally complete.
To optimize weight loss and maintain general health, exercise should be implemented into the daily routine. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, such as a brisk walk. However, this could also be in the form of any type of aerobic exercise and for increased levels of fitness and weight loss, the daily exercise may be increased to 45 – 60 minutes per day, over and above normal activity.
It is easy to be hypnotized by the hype and lucrative promises of vast weight loss that fad diets proclaim, however, the only way to lose weight and keep it off, is by following a method that will provide slow but steady fat loss.