The truth about weight management

As a fitness professional I am constantly asked ‘‘what are the secrets to weight loss?’’ and this mistification of weight loss and weight gain never ceases to amaze me! Popular media, diet books and fitness magazines are re-inforcing the portrayal of weight control as being some complexed, magical web of confusion…well is really isn’t!

The truth

Its time to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in answering the weight loss question. To control weight for a lifetime:

  • Don’t eat more calories than you burn on a daily basis. To lose weight, eat fewer calories than you burn.
  • Think about WHAT you eat. Is it going to make you look or feel the way you want or make you feel miserable and take you further from your goal? Does this sound familiar? ‘‘When I was younger I could eat blah, blah and not gain weight’’. But guess what? We don’t move enough now to get away with it. You want it, then move more, if you can’t move more…then DON’T EAT IT.
  • The saying ‘‘you are what you eat’’ is true. Before eating a food, ask yourself ‘do I want to BE that?!’
  • Eat smaller portion sizes. At home we often still load our plates with the mindset of when we were younger and more active. This is one of the most difficult adjustments for a lot of people.
  • If certain foods haunt you and you cannot eat them sensibly, consider giving them up. I have known very few people that can eat their downfall food in a controlled manner on a regular basis. It may be easier to make a clean break and bid it farewell.
  • Eat  S L O W L Y. This will give your body the opportunity to sense the food coming in and register fullness. When you are full, bad foods lose much of their appeal.
  • Dessert is a habit, not a physiological need for survivial. Habits can be broken. Just get out of the habit.
  • Just because you feel the desire to eat, does not mean you are in need of food. It is important that we understand the difference between hunger and appetite. Hunger is the true physiological need for nutrition. Appetitie is a desire to eat and had nothing to do with need. After a large meal never said ‘‘I need something sweet’’. This is a conditioned response that is based on desire rather than need. You don’t need anything.
  • Do not buy junk food. If it is there it is too easy to eat. (Refer back to think about what you eat). If you have a craving for junk and its not there, than no harm done.

Weight management - The big problem

The above is by no means an all-inclusive list but hopefully demonstrates the straight-forward priniciples that determine weight loss and control. In todays society it takes diligence and restraint. High calorie, palatable food is everywhere. The big problem is that few people move much during their day. This lowers the calorific requirements for maintenance. If fat loss is the goal, then calories must be below maintenance. This leaves little room for error or extravagance.

Ultimatley it comes down to the dreaded ‘‘L’’ word. LIFESTYLE. If you want to eat whatever you want, then you have two choices:

  1. Move a lot
  2. Gain weight and stop complaining and looking for places to lay the blame.

That’s the harsh truth to weight management.

Courtesy of Kelly Marshall at The Body Project

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