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How I’ll Help You Lose Weight

As many people would know I don’t believe in quick fixes when talking about health and weight loss. While it might sound very appealing to drop a dress size in a week, the reality is that quick fix, fad or crash diets are not a sustainable long-term solution to weight loss. They are temporary eating plans, meaning you revert to old patterns soon thereafter and start to regain weight. This results in a person getting quite upset with themselves and the adoption of a negative mindset in relation to managing their health and body weight.

 

Ultimately, I can talk ad-nauseum about why these approaches don’t work and why developing a healthy eating plan or dietary pattern that will serve you long term is the better solution to arriving at a healthy weight and maintaining it. But when 90% of my clients have a primary goal of weight loss and wish it to happen sooner rather than later, I’m not doing a very good job of running a client-focused business if I don’t come up with a way to meet their needs.

 

To this end and after months of reviewing nutritional science research trials, the methodology that I would be comfortable recommending to my clients is a variant of intermittent fasting because:

  1. It results in weight loss similar to that of chronic calorie reduction but without what I believe to be the psychological torture of chronic day-after-day deprivation.
  2. It enables me to put in place a healthy eating pattern for the non-fasting days that can then be maintained by my client once their initial weight loss goal is reached.
  3. It puts a person back in touch with their true hunger signals which is necessary when building a long term healthy dietary pattern.

 

My preferred method of intermittent fasting is the 5:2 diet; five days normal healthy dietary pattern and two days fasting dietary pattern, using real, nutrient dense food. My preference is that this approach is only started once an individual has an overall healthy dietary pattern in place. By healthy dietary pattern I mean Mediterranean-influenced; vegetable-led with adequate amounts of lean protein (in particular oily fish), nuts, olive oil and full-fat dairy. Not the Mediterranean of your last Italian adventure which was likely starchy carbohydrate-led, that is pasta, focaccia and pizza-led.

 

5:2 Diet, A Gentler Version

 

The original 5:2 diet calls for two non-consecutive fasting days with consumption of 500 – 600 calories, maintained for as long as needed to achieve weight loss goal. This equates to a couple of eggs, a bowl of vegetable soup and not much else; it’s hard-core fasting and hugely impacts your ability to have a pleasurable day. It’s hard to sustain unless you have the self-discipline and focus of an athlete or the focus of someone who has come face-to-face with their own mortality as a result of a weight-related health crisis. A gentler and more sustainable approach is 800 calories per day which is primarily achieved by cutting out starchy carbohydrates and reducing your number of meals and / or the size of those meals. The pattern of how these calories are consumed needs to be developed within the individual’s lifestyle parameters, one size does not fit all.

As mentioned earlier, the five days you are not fasting you maintain the normal healthy dietary pattern that has been developed for you. Non-fasting days do not mean you eat mindlessly and focus on nutrient-deficient but highly palatable food. For clarity, I mean junk food and soft drink.

 

The Benefits Of This Approach 

 

  • It sets in place a baseline healthy dietary platform initially as this is the most important component for long term weight management success and health maintenance.
  • More easily sustained within a busy professional lifestyle without falling victim to extreme brain fog, irritability, light-headedness, and low concentration levels.
  • More easily maintained because you know that the following day you return to a normal healthy dietary pattern with normal levels of energy consumption.
  • Helps you get in touch with what your actual hunger signals are and this understanding carries forward into the other 5 days of the week, influencing how you eat and how much you eat.
  • Faster weight loss than only adopting a healthy dietary pattern can provide in the short term. Consequently it has the potential to remain more motivating therefore making it easier to stick with long-term.
  • Maintains metabolism and muscle mass due to intermittent rather than chronic energy deprivation.
  • Easy to switch to maintenance mode of either stand-alone, pre-determined healthy dietary pattern or via moving to a 6:1 approach where in six days are a healthy dietary pattern and 1 day remains aligned to the fasting dietary pattern.

 

Prevention Is Better (And Less Mental Workload) Than The Cure.

 

Obviously preventing weight gain in the first place through the establishment of a healthy dietary pattern, consistent levels of movement / exercise week-to-week and the management of stress is a better approach than having to undertake a weight loss journey on top of everything else that is going on in your life.

If you are confused on what is required to manage your food intake long-term, get some coaching and education from a university-educated nutritionist or dietician. Their over-arching message will be decidedly unsexy, but the devil will be in the detail and how their understanding of maximising nutrient intake informs their ability to help you build practical, fuss-free, health-related habits that work within the parameters of your lifestyle.

To exercise properly you hire a personal trainer or head to a class, the same approach is best taken for you to achieve optimal nutrition and bring this into your life in a practical, cost effective way. Within the sedentary, obesogenic environments that we live and work one of the hardest things for an individual to do is maintain a healthy weight and body. This is evident in the fact that almost one-third of children and two-thirds of adults are overweight and obese. To this end get the support you need to avoid becoming part of a growing global health crisis.

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