Anyone who has been following me for even the shortest amount of time knows that I never stop ranting about the idiocy of the ‘eat less and exercise more’ approach to weight loss so I was understandably encouraged to see that clinicians from four top US University Medical Centres agreed that giving this advice to someone who is well-overweight or obese may be “no more effective than a recommendation to avoid sharp objects for someone bleeding profusely… reducing calorie intake triggers several biological systems that drive us to eat high-calorie foods and gain weight… and these biological adaptations may be permanent, so that even when somebody is able to reduce their weight, their body will always be trying to pile the pounds back on – something that has never been easier in the modern urban environment…”
Granted, this research focused on seriously overweight and obese individuals but those whose weight roller coasters up and down by anything from 8 pounds to 14 pounds are likely in the same boat but to a lesser degree. You are no doubt aware that I don’t advocate serious calorie restriction, I don’t encourage anyone but the most obsessive amongst you to download calorie counting apps and I believe that weighing scales should be a kitchen essential but should be banned from the bathroom as they do little other than start your day under a depressing cloud and encourage energy-restricting eating habits throughout the day.
Losing weight is not easy – keeping it off is even harder so those who tell you that it is simply a matter of eating less and exercising more should be viewed with the utmost suspicion! A degree of willpower and discipline are certainly required but it can be a rocky road when temptation is around every corner. My advice? Eat great food, eat fresh food, eat when your stomach starts to really grumble rather than at the prescibed breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack times just because you think you should or others around you are eating, respect sugar (ie know that you don’t actually need it but just occasionally it ticks all the right boxes), use butter instead of all those chemically-skewed vegetable oils in clear plastic bottles and I can’t believe it’s not butter spreads – it’s not, eat eggs at any time of the day – they don’t raise cholesterol levels and they are a great source of protein, always have a small pack of fresh nuts and seeds and a piece of fruit in your handbag, briefcase or glove compartment – this combo knocks sugar cravings on the head in record time, get those cans of diet and zero calorie fizzy drinks right out of your life – they are real health-wreckers and get some regular exercise into your day, every day – not because exercising more is the panacea for weight loss but because it makes you feel good, it makes you look good and on the back of a good diet, it helps to achieve the lean look you are likely striving for!