The truth about weight control
By *Kelly Marshall MSc (Hons), BSc (Hons),Dip PT, NASM, SFS, IFS, CES
As a fitness professional I am constantly asked: ‘what are the secrets to weight loss?’ and this mystery surrounding weight loss and weight gain never ceases to amaze me. Popular media, books on the latest super-skinny celebrity diet and fitness magazines are reinforcing the portrayal of weight control as being some complex, almost magical web of confusion….well it really isn’t! To control your weight for a lifetime, I recommend you read and IMPLEMENT all of the points below. Changing habits and behaviour is the real challenge not simply having the knowledge.
- Do NOT eat more calories than you burn on a daily basis. A deficit has to be in place (and consistently) for the body to use and therefore reduce existing fat stores! If you want it then move more and if you can’t move more then DON’T eat it!
- Think about WHAT you eat. Is the food going to make you look or feel the way you want to outside of that precise moment? Or afterwards make you feel miserable and take you further away from your goal?
- The saying ‘you are what you eat’ is true. Before eating a food ask yourself ‘do I want to BE that?’.
- Avoid being in denial over the negative effects of alcohol on fat loss. As alcohol is consumed generally in the evening when the body needs less calories, the effects are horrendous. The calories from alcohol can’t be stored by your body so while they are burnt off (1 unit = 1 hour) your body’s normal fat burning process shuts off. This is why ‘beer belly’ exists. On a big (binge) night out a person could shut down their fat burning processes for 12 to16 hours!
- Eat smaller portion sizes. Make this happen through physical changes, such as using a smaller plate, making less or serving yourself less.
- If certain foods haunt you and you cannot eat them sensibly, consider giving them up. I have known few people that can eat their ‘downfall’ food in a controlled manner on a regular basis. It may be easier to make a clean break and bid it farewell.
- Eat S L O W L Y. This will give your body the opportunity to sense food coming in and register fullness. When we are full, bad foods lose much of their appeal.
- Dessert is a habit, not a physiological need for survival. Habits can be broken but require you to practice resistance consistently to get out of the behaviour pattern.
- Know the difference between appetite and hunger. ‘Hunger’ is the true physiological need for fuel for the body’s processes; ‘appetite’ is a desire to eat and has nothing to do with need. After a large meal saying ‘I need something sweet’ is a conditioned response based on desire rather than need.
- Do not buy junk food, if it is there it is too easy to eat and fat can only be stored as fat! If you have a craving for junk food and it’s not there then no harm done!
The above list is in no way all-inclusive but hopefully demonstrates the straightforward principles that determine weight loss and
long-term weight control. In today’s society it takes diligence and restraint. High calorie, tasty food is everywhere. The big problem
is that few people move a lot during their day and this lowers calorific requirements for weight maintenance. If fat loss is your goal than
you MUST create a calorie deficit and this leaves little room for error, extravagance or a half-hearted approach.
Ultimately it comes down to the dreaded ‘L’ word = LIFESTYLE. If you want to eat whatever you want you have two choices:
1) Move a lot
2) Gain weight and stop complaining and looking for places to lay the blame
That’s the harsh truth to weight control!
*Kelly Marshall is a UK fitness consultant who has conducted workshops at Westmead Fertility Centre. For more
articles by Kelly, see her website The Body Project.
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