There is so much information out there regarding health and fitness… it can be very difficult to keep track of all the trends! Low carb, high fat, low fat, paleo, super-moon kale, sunshine cleanse… the list goes on. So with all the conflicting information and choices out there, what should you do?
Health and well-being is a huge industry, with everyone trying to carve out their own niche and develop a unique selling point. Would all these magazines sell so well if each week they said eat vegetables, drink more water and exercise? Probably not.
There are lots of ‘quick fix’ and ‘5 minute abs programmes’ but do they really work? ‘No’ is the short and simple answer.
What really works is often not what we are looking for, as sadly there is no magic pill or quick fix! Similarly, no one diet is superior to another (with some caveats, some diets are actually bad for you!).
What is the best way to eat a healthy diet and lose weight safely?
The best diet is the one you can stick to. Yes, it really is that simple. All these fads and quick fixes are not sustainable and lead to yo-yo weight change.
People often say they have tried everything and it can feel that way. But often what people have tried is a range of solutions that sound complex enough to be effective, whilst overlooking the basics. When it comes down to it, consistency is the key to a healthy diet; we need to make little changes and maintain them over time.
So how do I lose weight?
The only way to sustainably lose weight and remain healthy is to create a small calorie deficit. This can be achieved through diet or exercise, or a combination of both. It is widely accepted that around 1lb of weight loss a week is healthy and sustainable. This equates to burning 500kcal a day more than what you consume. It really is as simple as calories in vs calories out.
Macronutrients are our main source of calories and they consist of protein, fats and carbohydrates. They are all important and one is not better than another, nor is any one macronutrient inherently bad. Consuming too much of any one group will lead to excess calories being stored as fat.
Micronutrients are the essential vitamins and minerals that keep us healthy and we need them in abundance. The main issue with some diets is that they limit the good things we eat and may lead to nutrient deficiencies. Micronutrients come mainly from fruit and vegetables, so it’s important that your diet includes lots of these.
Water intake is also important and we should aim for around 6-8 glasses a day. Many people end up drinking excess calories in the form of sugary drinks, so reducing or substituting these with sugar-free versions is an easy start to cutting calories.
How much should I be eating in a day?
2000-2500kcal is the average amount you should consume. However, to lose weight effectively you need to work out your individual needs based on your height, weight and activity level. To save you the maths, take a look at the NHS BMI Healthy Weight Calculator
There are some excellent resources to help you reduce your calorie intake and increase your exercise levels. I recommend looking at the NHS Eatwell Plate and Active 10 campaign as well as downloading a calorie counting app, such as MyFitnessPal. Our Facebook page also has lots of specific tips on exercise and nutrition.
If you would like to discuss any of these issues personally then please feel free to contact the Clinic. Sometimes all you need is a little help in taking that first step.
Registered Osteopath, Shefford Osteopathic Clinic
Andrew is a registered osteopath with a passion for health and well-being. He has current recognised qualifications in nutrition for sport, as well as for weight management and exercise prescription. Andrew has also worked as a personal trainer, helping people achieve their body and fitness goals.