Today’s world is one of instant gratifications. If you want to watch a movie, you download it from Netflix; if you feel like sushi for dinner, you have it delivered to your doorstep in minutes. While the convenience of all the recent advances are great, it has left us unaccustomed to waiting.
The driving need to get things how we want it, when we want it, persists even when it comes to things which should not happen quickly, like weight loss. People that want to lose weight usually want to lose it FAST, regardless of the impact it has on their physical and emotional wellbeing. This explains the appeal of various fad diets, ‘detoxes’, and miracle weight loss drugs. When it comes to weight loss, however, slow and steady wins the race, ultimately resulting in long-term success.
I have been very lucky as a number of my jobs have been working remotely from home. This set-up has its pros and cons but a definite pro is that it’s much easier to be healthy. It’s not a coincidence that when I moved to an ‘at office’ job a few years ago, I gained weight.
The workplace is never an easy place to be the healthiest ‘you’. You don’t have access to your own fridge and stock of foods, social influence generally works in a negative direction, you often feel pressured to take as little time as possible to eat (meaning grab-and-go (not so healthy) lunches). Also, the biggest thing that would catch me out when I worked in an office was the commute home. By the end of the day I was tired, hungry, and ready and willing to snack on anything I could get a hold of (usually a bit of chocolate from the office vending machine).
Here’s a few hints for keeping up your healthy eating habits in and out of the office.
Gluten and or/wheat free diets are another very popular fad these days. Gluten is a protein commonly found in wheat, barley, and rye therefore if you eliminate wheat from the diet, you also eliminate gluten (or vice versa). The gluten-free market in the US is predicted to be worth $24 billion by 2020 with 1/3 Americans expressing a desire to reduce gluten in their diet.
This question most commonly comes from very physically active individuals but more and more, it is starting to come into focus with people looking to lose weight; with good reason!
A miracle diet for weight loss; wouldn’t that be amazing!? How wonderful it would be if we could click on the pop-up advertisements clogging our Facebook (twitter, emails, etc, etc) and find an easy answer to getting the lean, toned, healthy, body we all aspire for!
If it was REALLY that easy would we be facing a Global obesity epidemic? The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in 2014 more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight (39%) with 600 million (13%) obese. Obesity is preventable- but there is no denying it, losing weight is hard.
So, the question remains, what is the best strategy for losing weight? There are so many ‘diets’ out there, where do we start?
Losing weight involves eating fewer calories than you are burning in any given day. To lose 1lb of body weight, you need a deficit of 3500 calories. There are so many promoted diets out there all of which claim to do something the others do not. In 2014, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study comparing the most commonly used diets (Atkins, Ornish, South Beach, Zone, Biggest Loser, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Weightwatchers, Rosemary Conley). This was large meta-analysis (compilation of 48 published studies) which included 7286 individuals. The results demonstrated that all diets resulted in weight loss with no one diet providing a huge benefit over any others.
While there is some evidence an emphasis on certain food types may help you eat less (ex. protein and low glyceamic index diets increasing satiety), the overall message is that all diets which restrict calories result in weight loss.
So, where does this leave us? What is the best ‘diet’ or best approach to losing weight?
Firstly, I hate the word ‘diet’ used in this context (going on a ‘diet’). It implies that losing weight has a finite time scale; you lose the weight, stop the ‘diet’, and go back to living your life the way you did pre-‘diet’ but weighing 10 lbs lighter. Anyone who has tried a diet knows that this is not the case. Returning to pre weight loss dietary habits results in you returning to pre diet body weight. You need to think of your diet as a lifelong commitment to eating in a certain way. Your diet is not just about losing weight but also about achieving the maximum health benefit from your food.
If you are considering making some changes to lose weight, I assume you are concerned about your health. If that is the case (and I certainly hope so!), there is more to consider than just reducing calories. You also need to be thinking about making the calories you eat ‘count’. Food is about so much more than energy. The vitamin, minerals, and unknown substances in food have the potential to affect many other aspects of health. You want to make sure the foods you are eating are nutrient dense (high in vitamins and minerals). This is where vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy oils become important.