Not a week goes by where there isn’t a new weight loss strategy being paraded across the media headlines. Yet for many, weight loss remains an absolute mystery and a topic that elicits guilt, shame and confusion. This is because while popular media makes losing weight seems like a simple, linear task, research shows that it is in fact a complex and multi-faceted endeavour but fear not, Oxygen Crew, we got you!
The confusion around weight loss starts because there appear to be so many ways one can go about it. However, the good news is, the actual dietary approach you choose may not be the most important factor. Research is beginning to tease out the reality that it doesn’t matter which specific dietary pattern you choose, what matters most is that the that you can stick to it.
This means, that while the nutritional quality of the diet remains of high importance, and that calorie deficit is a must, the exact foods you choose are of less relevance compared to the habits, behaviours and food environment you create while making changes to your diet.
Taking a closer look at the habits and behaviours that can help achieve weight loss, choosing more unprocessed foods, increasing vegetable intake, reducing portion sizes and only eating out once or twice a week are some really good options, but what approaches should you be wary of?
One of the biggest killers of any weight loss attempt is choosing a rigid ‘all or nothing’ approach. The world is filled with amazing foods, all of which can be enjoyed in moderation, and yet simple rigid rules like ‘no carbs’ or ‘only raw foods’ seem to be the first line of attack when people are looking to lose weight.
It’s true, these rules can be easy to follow initially, making them very appealing, however, what they tend to lead to are bouts of overconsumption of the banned food because they become a ‘forbidden fruit’, amplifying their appeal well beyond your initial desires.
Taking the time to learn about energy balance and how to have your favourite foods in the mix means being less rigid, and better able to stick with the approach long term. So, if rigid diets aren’t the answer, where should you start if you want to lose a few kilos?
Keeping a food diary and getting a better idea of what you are consuming each day if a great place to start. This way you can become more aware your usual patterns of eating and identify where the best and most impactful places to begin making changes are.
For example, if after keeping a food diary you realise that you are consuming three full cream coffee's every day, each with 2 sugars, your first step might be to switch to reduced-fat milk and skip the sugar, which would easily save a few hundred calories each day without too much pain!
Small changes, done constantly add up, and when it comes to weight loss and weight maintenance, consistency is one of the most important factors.
So while weight loss can seem like a daunting topic, if you can take a strategic approach, identify your habits and behaviours that are serving you, and start chipping away at the ones that don’t, you can avoid the rigid and unachievable plans, and build up that confidence that you can do it!
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