Every time I buy the latest magazine I am regaled with quick weight loss diets. This month's prize goes to the Japanese Banana Diet (just eat two bananas with a glass of warm water to start the day and then eat everything in sight!) It probably works because after the glass of warm water you couldn't face food. Then we have every celebrity diet known to man and which we just know will work for us as well as it did for ... Yeah maybe. It probably helps that they live on water and cigarettes and have personal trainers. I wish.
Quick weight loss diets are very dubious. For starters where is the fat going to go? It only has two options - being burned up by the body which is using it for fuel or sucked down the canula your cosmetic surgeon is wielding! Sounds revolting, doesn't it? Body fat accumulates over many years of poor diet, too much food and too little exercise. Your body is storing the fat against a rainy day when you will need it. For example hunter/gathers that ranged across the plains looking for game sometimes went days without food before making a big kill that all the tribe gorged on. They literally lived on their fat as a survival mechanism. Modern hunter/gathers have an easier time with fast food outlets on every street corner.
Storing body fat is a natural mechanism that has ensured the very survival of our species. Now the game has changed and we need to change with it. Since the end of the Second World War our consumption of sugar has increased by a factor of 50. In the same time fast food outlets selling food high in carbohydrates, salt and fats have exploded across the nation. Particularly in the past twenty years the eating patterns of families have shifted from home-cooked meals eaten together to quick pitstop meals gathered on the run and eaten in the car or in front of the television. Our collective patterns of eating have changed dramatically and our diet has shifted from balanced to hugely imbalanced. One final sobering statistic - the current Generation Y will be the first generation in 50 years to have a lower life expectancy than their parents. How scary is that?
We need to shift our thinking to take account of these new eating patterns or the mechanisms that evolution and nature provided to ensure our survival will equally ensure our destruction. First we need to lose the "quick weight loss" mentality. Not only is it unhealthy to try to lose massive amounts of weight quickly, it is almost impossible without surgery such as stomach banding or through extreme fasting. When we lose weight too quickly our metabolisms slow down to conserve the fat reserves we have. We can become lethargic, suffer headaches and bowel problems. Our skin doesn't have time to slowly readjust so we end up with huge "curtains" of skin and unsightly stretch marks. There is a better way.
A good weight loss program as distinct from a quick weight loss program is focused not on losing weight but on returning you to a healthier lifestyle, one in which weight loss naturally follows. That is not to say that you won't see weight loss quickly. You will, in the order of 2 - 3 pounds a week once you get started. The key is to set a new lifestyle in motion and not just a quick fix diet. Lose 2 pounds a week for 6 months and you are 52 pounds or nearly 4 stone lighter. That is a huge amount and better still, it's sustainable. You can lose 100 pounds a year and grow into your new body without the discomfort of a massive weight loss over a really short timeframe.
There are a number of programs out there that can give you this level of success and you need to research them and find the one that suits you. Look for programs with an exercise program, balanced diet and which focused on foods that help you lose weight. Commit to it and stick with it for the long haul and we will see a slimmer, healthier and happier you on the other side.
Remember - It's always too soon to quit!