I have recently searched for the word diet on Google. There were 1,05,00,00,000 results. Most of the material is contradictory. This is the top 10 tips you need to know if you are serious about losing weight long-term.
- There are thousands of diets. However when you get down to it there are only three types of weight loss diet. These are the low carbohydrate diet; the low fat diet; and the calorie counting (ie low calorie) diet. At the heart of each is the reduction of calories. Don’t get fooled by a “new” diet that comes on the market. Check behind the detail and it will fall into one of the three diet types.
- Despite all the information on diets, there is little evidence to support that “diet A” is better than “diet B” for long-term, sustained weight loss. Any diet, if carried through, should lead to short- term weight loss. The key word is sustainability – if you can’t stick to the diet long- term, you won’t sustain long-term weight loss.
- The word diet doesn’t help. Diet means the food and drink consumed by a living thing. Every person on earth is on a diet. However, we talk of diet and dieting with regard to weight loss. In particular we think of “going on a diet” as a short-term program to achieve weight loss. It’s the wrong approach. Instead of “going on a diet” what most people need is a permanent change to diet and lifestyle.
- What changes are necessary? First, cut out refined sugar. No sweets, candy, cakes. You already know this. For most of our history sugar has been an extravagance. Think of sugar in like that and consume it frugally.
- Next, cut down the starchy carbohydrates. We consume bread, pastry, potatoes, pasta, rice – the mainstay of many meals – far too readily. Carbs are a main energy food. Pre industrial revolution many folk carried out manual labour, so a high carb diet was sensible. Today most of us have a less active lifestyle, yet we still pile our plates with carbs. In particular, cut down the heavy carbs with your last meal of the day. You don’t need fuel to stay on the couch and get ready for sleep.
- Cut down the fat. When is a food fatty? The key number is 4% – cut down foods with a fat content above 4%. Foods are labelled per 100g in the UK, so it’s simple to avoid foods with more than 4g of fat per 100g. However, some foods are naturally fatty. Oily fish and nuts have a high fat content, but should form part of a well-balanced diet.
- Red meat tends to be fatty. Go for leaner cuts, or lower fat meats such as turkey or chicken. Low fat meats are high in protein and are great for people who want to eat healthily. They fill you up and stop cravings.
- What else is good for us? Where possible, switch to whole grain foods. They are more filling and are higher in fiber. Have more vegetables. They are low fat, are high fiber and loaded with vitamins and minerals. Eat more fruit. They provide natural sugars to satisfy a sweet tooth.
- Eat smaller meals, 4-5 times a day and not 3 large meals. Combine non-starchy carbs and protein in every meal. Snack on fruit.
- You have to exercise. If this looks like a cheat in an article about diet, tough luck. If you really want to lose weight you have to burn the calories you have in addition to reducing the calories you take in. There are no excuses.
And that is the entire sum of weight loss diet information you will ever need. No gimmicks, no pseudo-science. Just the ten basic truths.