Weight Loss Dieting

FACTORS AFFECTING WEIGHT GAIN

People gain weight for a number of different reasons. In brief:

• Overeating – that is, eating more calories than the body is able to use. Excess calories are then stored as fat.

• Eating the wrong kind of food – including too many high-fat, high-calorie foods in the diet.

• A slow metabolic rate caused by a number of factors, including lack of activity, ageing and obesity.

• Insufficient physical activity – the body stores unused calories as fat.

• An underactive thyroid gland or, in rare instances, an excess of steroid hormones.

• Gender- a woman’s body is more efficient at storing fat than a man’s.

wrong food choicesPeople who are overweight may not necessarily eat more than slim people, but they may be making the wrong food choices. Fatty and sugary foods-including cakes, biscuits, sweets, processed meat products and pastry-based foods – are loaded with calories.

Regular exercise is a vital component of a weight-loss programme. It increases the body’s metabolic rate so that more calories are used for fuel, rather than being stored as fat. Muscle mass increases and the body becomes more toned. In addition to physical benefits, an active lifestyle also promotes improved self-esteem and a more positive body image.

 

WEIGHT-LOSS DIETING TIPS

By making gradual changes to your diet and setting yourself realistic goals, it is possible to achieve safe and gradual weight loss. The following weight-loss dieting tips may help you to achieve this:

• Keep a food diary for a few weeks and faithfully record everything you eat. This will show where you are going wrong; you can then target any fatty junk foods for elimination.

• Some nutrition experts suggest making breakfast the largest meal of the day, and then tapering the amount of food eaten as the day goes on. Food eaten in the morning is less likely to be turned into fat than food that is eaten late in the day. The lightest meal of the day should therefore be the evening meal.

• When starting a diet, the grazing approach may help you to keep hunger pangs away and to avoid overeating at mealtimes.

• Grazing involves eating several small healthy meals throughout the day rather than three more substantial meals.

• Become a fat detective – learn about fatty foods and start making low-fat choices. You should start to lose weight automatically.

• Do not feel guilty if you lapse occasionally with your diet; there is no reason to give up. just make sure that you eat more sensibly the next day.

 

LOW-CALORIE PRODUCTS

Food manufacturers have latched on to Western society’s obsession with dieting and are producing an ever-increasing range of low-calorie products.

In order to be labelled ‘low calorie’, a product must provide no more than 40kcal per 100g (3-1/2oz). In order to achieve this, fat, starch and sugar are replaced with air, water or sweeteners.

All foods packaged as low calorie must warn the consumer that low-calorie products can only help weight loss if they are part of a calorie-controlled diet.

Dietary fats are a concentrated source of calories. By making a few adaptations to a meal, an individual can reduce the amount of fat it contains and this will help with weight loss. Dieting by making small changes to the way you eat can make a huge difference to weight gain and weight loss.

weight loss dieting - low fat roast meal optionA meal of roast chicken, fried potatoes and vegetables dressed with butter can easily be turned into a low-fat meal (left).

Removing the skin from the chicken greatly reduces the fat content; the potatoes can be steamed or boiled; and the vegetables do not need to be dressed with butter – a sprinkling of herbs and seeds can add extra flavour, if necessary.