There’s a lot of information and options out there regarding techniques for weight loss. Which of them actually work? Which can you trust?
Techniques to avoid
Most crash diets are effective initially due to water loss. Less food means less sodium which means less water in your body as a whole. Sudden changes like this are very stressful on the body and can trigger a starvation response where even more fat is stored going forwards. Additionally, any diet that cannot be maintained long-term is, by default, not going to succeed.
2. Weight-loss medicines, B12 injections, “herbal” treatments bought on-line, “natural” treatments from overseas.
There is no magic out there. For a very few people medical weight loss may be an option but in general the risk of side effects is not worth the short-term weight loss. Ask carefully what the mechanism of action is and find out all the side effects. Herbs have side effects too - don’t be fooled into thinking that because something is “natural” it is also safe. Also ask what will happen if you stop taking the treatment - does the weight come back?
Techniques to trust
Amazingly, almost all of them work, and equally well. So pick one you can live with. Probably the best one for your health is the Mediterranean diet. Remember to keep an eye on your portion size and make reductions gradually. Be kind to your body.
Most of these work too. The main downside is they can get expensive. Weight Watchers is the best known and has good research to back it up. Apps have made calorie counting easier if you prefer a DIY approach. Consider seeing a nutritionist.
There is no doubt that water intake is linked to weight loss. Don’t drink juice or soda. Be sure to drink a large glass of water before meals and as soon as you get home (before you get to the fridge). There is no need to buy bottled water - filtered tap water is fine (and has fluoride).
If you have a BMI (body mass index) over 35 it is going to be almost impossible to achieve long-term significant weight loss with the above techniques alone. Believe it or not, your body likes the way it is and doesn’t want to change. You will be able to achieve the 5% weight loss (approximately 15lbs) that will improve your health - and that is sufficient for many people. If, for health reasons or otherwise, you want to lose more weight, then bariatric surgery is going to be one of your best options. Many people believe that surgery is a “cop-out” but the current research shows that it is one of the most effective tools we have for achieving and maintaining significant weight loss.
There’s plenty more to talk about - look out for the next article on weight loss.
Please remember that reading an article does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship or any form of individual medical advice. Everyone deserves to have a doctor - so find one that you can talk to. Or make an appointment!