5. What can I do to lose weight and prevent weight gain?

Stop fad dieting

Anyone can lose weight, but can you sustain it? Avoid unnecessary restrictions, labelling food as good or bad and following a diet based on celebrity endorsement or food fads. It is far more effective to bite off small changes you can do for life than attempt “binge change” (an extreme diet makeover) that you follow for a few weeks. Also remember, we all want what we can’t have. The more you try to deprive yourself of enjoyable foods, the more you will likely obsess about them and overeat. Yo-yo dieting damages not only the relationship you have with food and your body but is counter-intuitive since it typically leads to further weight gain.

Nutrition trumps exercise (but a combination is slightly better)

Research consistently shows that although you can lose small amounts of weight by initiating an exercise program, much bigger weight-loss results come from nutrition changes. Exercise is, of course, good for overall health, improving muscle mass to increase metabolism and maintaining weight loss over time but note that you can’t burn off a bad diet in the gym.

If you don’t know where to start, examine your nutrition and keep a food journal. Be honest, non-judgmental and set specific achievable goals.

When we are counselling our clients on weight loss we are looking to see what, when, how much and why you are eating. All of these factors can either increase or decrease your overall calorie balance. Meals need a good mix of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats to keep your belly full and your brain satisfied. Meals and snacks also need to be spread out throughout the day so that you can manage appetite control and night eating issues. You need to understand what a good mix of healthy foods ideal for weight loss looks like and how to prepare them in a yummy way that encourages eating these for life. You also need strategies on how to include and manage your favourite soulful foods such as sweets and savory foods chosen for fun and enjoyment. Without this, real life (such as dinner at a neighbour’s house, family birthday parties and vacations) are hard to manage. Of primary importance is also learning strategies on how to tackle emotional eating and environmental triggers that may be causing you to overeat.


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