Quick Fixes! Why do we love them? Should we ditch them?
Lose 5kg in 2 weeks! Sound familiar? Why is it that headlines like this draw attention and people pay big money for the magic quick fix answer?
When it comes to weight loss, it is never a straight forward process. As much as I would love to say that I have the magic miracle that works for all, there is no such thing! Weight loss requires motivation, an understanding of why your goal is important, and commitment to any necessary diet and physical activity changes. But this sounds so much harder than simply going online and ordering an expensive batch of supplements to allow for rapid weight loss before a summer holiday! We all know that quick fixes aren't sustainable, but why do we look for them and how can we lose weight sustainably?
Picture this: your overseas holiday is approaching and you have gradually gained an extra 7kg over the past 2 years. Suddenly you have a surge of motivation- you need to drop this weight and get back to your comfortable body as fast as possible! You ask around before buying some appetite suppressing supplements, meal replacement shakes and plenty of slimming tea. You know that you should exercise but you don't really have time and the weight seems to be coming off without any! You lose a few kilos before your holiday and are ecstatic. However once on holiday, you notice that after a few days of drinking wine and snacking, your shorts are slightly tighter.. then are horrified to discover that on your arrival home you have regained all of your lost weight, and some extra kilos! You are so disappointed that all of your hard work has been destroyed. So you repeat the same diet again- you know that it worked before so it must work again! The weight loss is much slower this time and you lose only a couple of kilos before your weight loss stalls completely. Disheartened, you cut your intake further and push on with your once successful diet. Your body is tired, you struggle to sleep and eventually you call it quits. You watch your weight climb back to an all time high before seeking a different weight loss approach that promises a rapid drop in body fat without exercise! This sounds perfect for you and once again you are off on your weight loss journey.
Yo-yo dieting is very common, and also very unsuccessful! Hence the term yo-yo dieting as our weight goes up and down repeatedly. When we undertake energy and/or nutrient deprived diets, we are making our body perceive that there is no food left in the world and it must hold on to fat to survive! Sure, you may lose a few kilos on a "rapid weight loss" fad diet- some of which might be fat, but you will also lose lean muscle mass. Losing lean muscle mass will slow our metabolism. Then when we allow ourselves to eat "normally" again, our body will grab on to, and store, everything it can in case another famine happens.
Anything that promises a quick fix like this is too good to be true. Rather than falling for trendy adverts and quick weight loss promises, teach yourself some sustainable weight loss strategies that you can use for life.
- Exercise! Include some resistance training in your exercise regimen to promote maintenance of lean muscle mass. Metabolism is increased as we increase our muscle mass- which will help us to lose weight! Not to mention the benefits we get from being stronger and fitter such as reduced injuries and better posture.
- Learn to eat mindfully. Mindful eating is not a fad diet and is actually something that we can all use every day! Mindful eating gives us the tools to eat well in any situation including social evenings, movie nights, travel, or just in our every day habits. Check out our midful eating article for more info.
- Eat 3 meals every day. We all know to eat 3 meals every day but why do people still skip them? This advice is pretty basic but also very effective. Eat decent meals that include colour, protein, and sustaining carbohydrates so that you are less likely to snack or cave in to massive drops in energy. Snacks aren't always necessary but can be included in the diet depending on your age, activity levels, and size.
- Talk to a Dietitian. If you have tried every diet in the book (or should I say google search), and are at a loss, have a chat with one of our Dietitians. There is so much false nutrition information available that it is no wonder that people struggle so much with knowing how and what to eat! Registered Dietitians are trained professionals that have studied food, medical conditions, and metabolic processes. They are a reliable source of information for those of you struggling to know where to turn to for advice!
Although a "sustainable diet" is not as exciting as an "8 week shred" or "10 day weight loss detox", it is much more effective for long term weight loss. If it took you 2 years to gain 7kg, then understand that it will be a slow process to lose this 7kg. Be patient and educate yourself using reliable information from Registered Dietitians. We want you to be healthy and happy not only for your 3 week holiday, but for life!