With all the mixed messages about food and weight loss around, it’s easy to fall into the dangerous trap of yo-yo dieting. The solution? A grounded weight-loss program. Here’s some advice that can potentially help you keep the pounds off permanently.
Why Canadians are dieting
It’s not surprising to hear that dieting is so popular, especially when you cite recent Statistics Canada figures: nearly 42 per cent of adult men and roughly 28 per cent of adult women are considered overweight. These numbers don’t include the approximately 20 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women that are classified as obese.
Losing weight and keeping it off
Longing for permanent weight loss can lead to a painful cycle of gains and losses, especially with all the extraordinary claims various weight loss programs make. In truth, there is no miracle solution.
- Losing weight and keeping it off permanently is all about doing it slowly and safely versus quickly and unwisely.
For that reason, it’s essential to choose a solid, sensible, long-term weight-loss program rather than one promising a quick fix.
The winning combination
Healthy eating and physical activity go hand in hand when you want to lose weight and get fit.
- Either one alone is unlikely to produce consistent long-term results.
- Eating right and exercising will help to increase your energy levels and kill cravings to overeat. Best of all, together, they’ll help to make you feel better all round.
To prevent the monotony of repetitive exercise, be sure to vary your workouts.
- You could, for example, alternate weightlifting sessions with cycling – and put lots of variety into your diet. That way you’ll be less tempted to cheat and backslide after only a few weeks.
Calorie counting can sometimes be a real downer, especially when it comes to eating your favourite foods.
- An alternative approach to portion control is to follow Canada’s Food Guide about the recommended daily servings from each food category.
Ultimately, a more balanced menu will naturally reduce your calorie intake, which is already a step in the right direction.
- What’s more, cutting out empty calories (such as those from chips and sweets) will inspire you to start eating more nutrient-dense foods that can make you feel better and more satiated. In turn, you’ll be less likely to have an urge to snack unnecessarily.
Stick with it and it’ll pay off
There are so many “healthy” junk food substitutes and low-calorie versions on the market that beginner dieters may feel as though they don’t really need to change their eating habits after all.
- Resist the urge to eat these treats, because there are no quick fixes.
Similarly, stay away from diet drinks and meal substitutes. Although they claim to be lower in calories, sometimes they are higher in salt to boost their “flavour.”
- If you want to avoid yo-yo dieting, you’ll need to change your habits slowly but surely, for the long haul. The last thing you want is to put back on the weight you worked so hard to take off.
The best way to build your daily menu is to structure it around balanced foods from the different food groups, none of which can be suitably replaced by diet powders or drugs. The catchword of every successful long-term weight loss program? Perseverance!
Choosing the right program for you
Before choosing a plan, it’s important to assess your health goals. Do you want to . . .
Be more fit
If your goal is to improve your fitness or sculpt your body, a weight-loss program may not be exactly what you’re looking for. Rather, you should consider a fitness program instead.
Manage your weight
If you’re struggling to manage a weight problem or if you lack the motivation to choose healthy foods, a structured weight-loss program is suitable for you.
One key thing about wanting to lose weight: don’t look at it as a sign of weakness. Instead, see it as a sign of your desire to take your well-being into hand. If you still find managing your weight to be a struggle, seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional, including your family doctor or a registered dietician.