Weight management is the single biggest issue that people come to my team of Personal Trainers and I to help them, with. And help them we do but not in the way that most people might think. Over the years, I must have heard of every diet going - past and present and my heart sinks when someone recounts which diet they’re currently on. You know, time and again I’ve heard people talking about how they’re not eating this and they’re not eating that. Similarly, people tell me about the restaurant they visited and the ‘lovely’ meal they had. I put the word ‘lovely’ in inverted commas because I don’t think that they’ve enjoyed a ‘lovely’ meal. First they’ll tell me how they didn’t have a starter. Then they’ll tell me that they ordered a main course but they left this and they left that and they only ate half of something else. And they didn’t eat a dessert but they had half a spoonful of their husband’s. Finally, they had a glass of wine but left some of it ‘because wine is so fattening’. Wow, that was a night to remember wasn’t it!
My Team’s focus is rather different. Yes, we focus upon nutrition but we don’t focus upon diets. We focus upon healthy eating and eating clean. Secondly we focus on burning calories. You don’t burn many calories watching TV, driving, sitting at a desk or working on a computer but you create a calorie bonfire when you exercise correctly. Should your life be centred around calorie counting and constant denial? Does a weight management system based on faddy food choices work? Is that an enjoyable way to lead your life. I DON’T THINK SO!! However, if you focus upon healthy eating, coupled with calorie burning then you’re onto a winner. Healthy eating puts the right fuel into your body for internal health and exercise burns calories for simple weight management AND keeps you fit as well – something that a diet can never do. So our focus with our Personal Training Clients is burning calories, enjoying the exercise journey and having fun because exercise can be great fun as well as rewarding and delivering results. Now no-one’s ever going to claim that a diet is fun are they? No, a diet is a journey to purgatory down misery lane!
To give you a real-life example, I’ve got a confession to make. I like chocolate. So I eat chocolate. I also like a pint of beer. So I’ll drink a pint of beer. Shock horror! Local Personal Trainer and Standard columnist found drinking and eating forbidden foods! You see, I enjoy both chocolate and a pint of beer in moderation but I balance that out through exercise and at about five feet seven inches and a shade over ten stones in weight, I think I’m OK. So my point is that there’s no magic weight loss bullet or miracle diet, just simply good eating and exercise.
The reason that I’m highlighting these issues is because my attention has been brought to a weight-loss product called Alli. Now Alli is the first weight-loss drug that you can buy over the counter without prescription. Before any readers dash out to the nearest chemist, let me expand. Alli costs around £1.60 per day and the manufacturers claim that it increases weight loss when on a low fat diet by 50%. Alli works by reducing the body’s ability to process fat by about 25% and it can deliver some unpleasant side effects. Because the body cannot absorb any extra fat, undigested fat passes straight through the body, resulting in an ‘urgent need to visit the bathroom’.
In The British Medical Journal, Professor Gareth Williams, the author of ‘Obesity: Science to Practice’, advised that the diarrhoea was so severe that users would probably not finish their first pack of Alli, let alone buy a second. He also advised that in his estimation, users would actually achieve only a very small additional calorie deficit of around 100 calories, not the 50% claims made by the manufacturers. He concluded by saying that obesity cannot be fixed by simply popping a pill and these drugs could further undermine efforts to promote healthy living, which is the only long-term escape from obesity. So, this week I’m listing my Top Ten Tips for effective weight management, no pills or potions, no diets or denial!
1. Say NO! to processed foods. They’re calorie rich but nutrition poor.
2. Don’t leave long gaps between meals. If you do, your next food will be a high energy, low quality ‘quick hit.’
3. ‘A little of what you fancy’ is OK. Think of my chocolate and beer example.
4. Participate in some form of exercise EVERY day. Walking, home chores – anything that gets you active.
5. No ‘end-of-day loading’ with your food. Don’t fall into that: ‘miss breakfast, snack lunch, plenty of coffee and a mega meal at night routine’.
6. Breakfast is your friend, not your enemy. Start your day right and your healthy eating gets a boost.
7. Participate in structured exercise at least 3 times per week. That means, cardiovascular and resistance training tailored for you and your needs.
8. Have fun with your workouts. If it’s not fun – don’t do it.
9. Drink more water. People often overeat mistaking thirst for hunger.
10. Exchange a diet for exercise. Ditch those diets and embrace exercise – you’ll wonder why it took you so long to make the switch!
. . . and finally, So, I’m afraid there’s no Harry Potter waiting in the wings, wielding his wand and poised to deliver a miracle weight-loss spell. But deep, deep, down, I’ll bet you knew that didn’t you? However, think of my example of chocolate and beer – balanced out with regular exercise. It’s all about keeping your life in balance at the end of the day and a denial diet certainly doesn’t give you balance, it destroys your life. Conversely, exercise enhances your life – it enhances your energy levels, your mental state, your fitness, your weight control, your all-round health and YOU!
So there is no magic bullet or a magic weight-loss diet but stick to my Top Ten Tips above and then you won’t be coming to me and telling me about how you just can’t seem to shift that weight. Enjoy your combination exercise and healthy eating from all the body4life health & fitness Team – that’s me, Duncan, Dave, Alison and Tony (yes, you’ve guessed it, we all subscribe to combination exercise and healthy eating!).
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