Maintaining and managing our weight is hard work.
Over 28% (BMI above 30) of adults in the UK are Obese and a further 36.2% are overweight (BMI between 25-30). Men are more likely than women to be overweight or obese.
Within children 14.4% between 4-5 year olds are obese with a further 13.3% overweight. Children between 10-11 years old 25.5% are obese and 15.4% are overweight.
We are all aware that being classed as overweight or obese may have associated health risks, such as:
High blood pressure
In trying to reduce these risks we aim to lose weight often trying many different diets, but when we don't receive the results we are initially sold, we give in and our weight we lost creeps back on and often more besides.
We often find that our weight lingers around a certain number on the scales, going up one week, down another and vice a versa. This figure is referred to as the bodies set point.
Ryan Maciel RD (Register Dietitian) explains "It suggests your body will fight to maintain a specific weight and body fat range tightly regulated by our genetics and that you have little control over it."
Our bodies set point is affected by a combination of factors:
Our weight also depends upon the balance between energy burned compared to calories eaten. When it comes to understanding how our bodies have set points and what influences them I highly recommend reading "Why we Eat (Too Much)" by Dr Andrew Jenkinson.
The bodies set point is a result of evolution; holding onto excess food to protect us from famine in our ancestors day. Today we create our own famine with different starvation diets, restricting certain categories of foods. After time our bodies fight against reduced calorie intake by sending signals (hunger pains) and slowing down our metabolism to attempt to return to our normal body set point.
Working along with the set point theory means that the body and brain are struggling to regain a set point weight. Taking this into account restrictive diets are not for the long term weight loss and maintenance, and that it would be more helpful to our bodies and minds to implement smaller adjustments.
Aim to lose half a pound a week - this allows the set point to reduce gradually ad doesn't put it in to shock/starvation and signals hunger pains.
Take time to lose weight 5-10% at a time - taking breaks in-between, allowing our bodies to adjust and settle at the new set point.
Lose weight in phases - manage/maintain weight for 3-6 months then start again.
Tracking food - allows you to monitor calories and look at the macronutrient breakdown
Reduce process foods and artificial sweeteners - Research shows they harm good gut bacterial
Increase your NEAT (Non-Exercise activity Thermogenesis - We burn more calories/energy doing daily routine tasks than doing daily exercise activity.
Adding strength training - Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is the number of calories you burn at rest - Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, aim to preserve muscle mass if not increase it, by doing activities such as squats, deadlifts and pull ups.
Getting Sleep - Quality sleep helps optimise the balance of hormones that supports our weight loss attempts, 7-9 hours of sleep a night is key in aiding our weight loss journeys.
Making small steps is key, cooking freshly prepared homemade meals using fresh seasonal, nutritious ingredients, whether its organised through deliveries to the door via Hello Fresh, Gusto etc... or buying ingredients for recipes we have found on the net or in recipe books or passed down through the generations.
Don't just tidy your fridge and pantry, tidy your home and your mind. Have a positive mindset with realistic goals, remembering slow and steady wins the race.
Book - Why We Eat (Too Much) By Dr Andrew Jenkinson