Diet - a campaign or a way of life?
Have you been following a diet to lose weight and/or improve your health? You are certainly not alone – around 45% of the world’s population is trying to lose weight each year, and the total global market for weight loss products has been estimated at USD 132.7 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 334.92 billion by 2030.
Three-quarters of this 45% are trying to lose weight by dieting and despite the vast sums spent on slimming products, diets, etc. – the number of overweight and obese people continues to rise.
Could this be related to HOW and WHAT diets we are following?
Or maybe we are doing something wrong in general?
I would say that – Yes, we are doing something wrong. Specifically, most people approach weight loss as a short-term action – to lose 5, 10 or more kilos by summer (beach season), a friend’s or their wedding, or some other event …
In other words, most people try to lose weight to look better (to fit into their favourite dress, jeans …), much less to improve their health or just to feel better, to have more energy to enjoy their lives to the full.
If you want to lose the weight you’ve gained over the years in a matter of weeks or even days:
- You have to start believing in miracles – all kinds of fad diets, pills, teas, apple cider vinegar …
- The “measure” of progress is generally weight loss, not changes in body circumference, well-being or body recomposition.
And if we start believing in miracles, we should look for miracle remedies for weight loss.
And, given the huge demand, there are plenty.
In most cases, even if weight is lost in the short term, it comes back after a while, and often with a gain.
Because getting rid of the weight accumulated over the years in a matter of weeks can only be done surgically.
Even in this case – unless changes are made to diet and lifestyle – the weight is likely to return.
So how are crash diets different from lifestyle changes?
Most slimming diets are characterised with:
- Weight is usually lost rapidly and in a short period of time.
- Foods are categorised as “good” and “bad”.
- Calorie intake is very significantly restricted.
- Progress is measured only by weight loss.
If you have ever tried a crash diet, how did you feel?
You were probably hungry, tired, frustrated and depressed. This is because short-term diets are not healthy for our bodies.
But if crash diets damage your health and the weight usually comes back – how do you get rid of the excess weight?
The answer is – a lifestyle change.
Lifestyle changes are changes in behaviour and eating habits that you can stick to in the long term:
- Eating a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet to provide your body with everything it needs.
- Eat everything. That is, not to give up your favourite (“bad”) foods but to eat them in moderation.
- Regular and consistent physical activity.
- Listening to yourself – trust your body, it knows what you need.
- Weight loss at a safe and healthy pace – up to a maximum of 2 kg per week.
- Measuring progress not only by the number on the scale but also by girth, well-being and health …
It is important to remember that weight management is a journey of a lifetime. No matter which stage of life you are in, it will not be easy.
- Don’t try to change everything starting tomorrow. An “all or nothing” approach is doomed to failure in most cases. Instead of starting to exercise intensively and eat healthily right away, make changes gradually. For example, try to make each upcoming meal a little healthier than the previous one (put more vegetables on your plate at lunch, choose grilled chicken instead of a burger, etc.).
- Don’t try to “break” yourself – changes you are unsure about or uncomfortable with will not last.
- Define for yourself why you want to change something in your life.
As you focus on long-term lifestyle changes, you will soon notice that:
- Your well-being improves (because you are more gentle with your body).
- You are less likely to feel hungry, crave sweets, feel tired and mentally stressed.
- Weight loss is slower but more sustainable.
What will a healthy lifestyle give you?
Better well-being, more energy and a longer life.
Although nutrition is only one part of a healthy lifestyle, its role has recently become especially important.
Here are the key components of a healthy lifestyle and their contribution to protecting against the risk of premature death.
Reduction in the risk of all-cause death
Protects the arteries.
Exercise 30 minutes or more a day
Slows heart rate and lowers blood pressure.
Provides the body with everything it needs.
Moderate alcohol consumption
The remaining 21% are more likely to be stress-related.
It is tempting to lose a lot of weight in a short time, but it is bad for your body, and you are likely to regain the weight you have lost. Instead, try to change your lifestyle towards overall health and well-being.
If you do want to lose weight fast – don’t waste your money and energy on various “super-effective” crash diets that have been designed by “leading nutritionists” and are based on “the latest scientific research”.
You only need two things to lose 3 to 4 kilos in a few days (which, incidentally, are also in many slimming products):
- A laxative that will empty the intestines of their contents (the stomach holds about 1.5-4 litres (or kilos) of food, and the intestines about 1-2 kilos).
- Diuretics (e.g. furosemide, dichlorothiazide, cyclomethiazide) which will remove more water than usual from your body.
And of course, for both of the above-mentioned slimming “super-medicines” to work effectively enough, it is also advisable to “starve” yourself a bit – by consuming no more than 800/900 calories per day. In other words, significantly more should be removed from the body than is taken in.
Will it be healthy? Well, of course not!
Will the weight loss last? No, of course not, because as soon as you start eating normally, your bowels will fill up again, the water in your body cells will come back, and the weight will return.
For a few days, you will be a few kilos lighter 😊.