Weight loss needs discipline and will

2016-01-27 06:00
It is often small mistakes that people make on a daily basis, such as choosing cappuccinos over filter coffee, which add up and result in a person over consuming nutrition. PHOTO: supplied

It is often small mistakes that people make on a daily basis, such as choosing cappuccinos over filter coffee, which add up and result in a person over consuming nutrition. PHOTO: supplied

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HOW can I shed some weight? That is the million dollar question. A simple Google search on the subject renders over 250 million websites promising miracle cures and theories.

“Statistically there are over 1,6 billion people in the world today who are overweight,” according to Kerryn Gibson, a qualified paediatric and sports dietician.

Why are more and more people becoming overweight? What are we doing wrong?

“If the answer and solution were that simple there would not be an obesity epidemic,” said the Durban-based dietician.

There is no quick fix

The point is that successful weight loss is not easy to achieve, she said, adding that there is no such thing as a quick fix.

“If something sounds ‘too good to be true’ then it probably is,” said Gibson.

“Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight comes from your personal commitment to do so, and personal motivating factors that outweigh any other desire. Slim people are not just naturally that way, neither are they lucky. They have made a conscious decision to lead a healthy lifestyle and probably work hard at maintaining this on a daily basis through diet and/or exercise. You have to be ready to lose weight and have to be committed to act on that desire to lose weight.”

She went on to explain that the concept of energy balance is a simple one.

Gibson said people who understand their nutritional requirements and who can demonstrate discipline when it comes to their nutritional intake will lose weight.

The question then comes down to what possible psychological and emotional variables influence our eating habits.

Another element at play is the idea that a commitment to a healthy lifestyle for weight maintenance is forever and this is a daunting thought, said Gibson.

“Most other areas of our lives requiring discipline tend to have an end point in sight. The trick is knowing how to achieve a balance between being disciplined for around 80% of the time so that for the other 20% we can let our hair down a bit and indulge ourselves on the spoils that the food and beverage industry has provided us with.”

Gibson said that the decisions on nutritional intake that people make every single day are ultimately what determine their weight.

“It is often small mistakes that people make on a daily basis, such as cappuccinos over filter coffee, which add up and result in a person over consuming nutrition. This might be an excess of 500 kcal per day and if this happens consistently over time, it will result in weight gain.”

The trouble is that our nutritional requirements are constantly changing based on factors such as age, body composition, activity level and health state to name a few, said Gibson.

“Therefore, our nutritional intake should be dynamic to meet our requirements.”

What about fad dieting?

Fad diets do not work for the long term, she said. “They do not work because they only address one variable — nutritional intake. Although a ‘one size fits all’ approach may work initially, it is seldom maintained.”

She said a person committed to losing weight cannot ignore all of the variables contributing towards their nutritional intake. “These are unique to each person battling with a weight problem. I challenge you to consider the variables at play that have contributed towards your own weight gain, loss and maintenance.” - Health24.

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