Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What is the best way to treat overweight?

The answer to the above question is, first and foremost: Treat the cause as well as the symptoms!

A good starting point for any serious attempt at weight control is analysis of the factors which contribute to your particular situation - a case of identifying the enemy before you draw up a battle plan! It probably goes without saying that successful longterm weight loss is only possible if factors such as those listed below are recognised and dealt with in a determined fashion.

Choosing a weight reduction programme

Whether you intend to 'go it alone' or enlist the aid of an organisation or qualified person to help you lose weight, there are certain criteria which should be met by any weight reduction programme. Any such programme should include all the following:

Diet Start
  • a balanced reducing diet
  • a moderate amount of exercise aimed at enhancing weight loss and ensuring long-term weight maintenance
  • the identification and changing of behaviour patterns which contribute to over-eating and weight gain
  • recognition of (and determined efforts to resolve) any psychological problems which aggravate the problem

These are fundamentals in any serious attempt to lose weight on a longterm basis and you may need professional help to achieve your aims. Let's examine each of the above aspects in more detail:

The 'which diet?' dilemma

The last few decades have seen a boom in the diet industry, mainly because there are thousands who continue to believe that someone, somewhere is eventually going to come up with the magic formula that will solve their particular weight problem. And so every year a rash of formula diets, novelty diets, books and medications find their way into the lives of thousands of 'diet junkies' who can't resist yet another variation on an old theme. Generally speaking, the only long-term loss most of these methods incur is the money spent on them! What's more, many of these diets are basically unsound and could cause important nutritional deficiencies.

So how do you tell a good diet from a bad one?

Quite simply, a reducing diet that is worth its salt must:

  • satisfy all nutrient needs except energy - in other words, it must include minimum daily amounts recommended for each of the five food groups
  • supply at least 4200 kilojoules (1000 calories) per day - or no less than 50% of an individual's average energy requirements
  • include a balanced eating pattern which does not alter significantly from day to day
  • fit in with your individual tastes, habits and lifestyle
  • be practical (in other words, it must include foods that are readily available) and socially acceptable
  • promote balanced eating habits and encourage you to establish a long-term healthy eating pattern
  • improve your overall health.

Diets that promise a weight loss of more than 1/2 to 11/2 kg per week (or more than 1% of total body weight per week), or which have you feeling faint with hunger most of the time, should be avoided.

... andjoyohoxing