Slow and steady wins the New Year weight loss race


Over half of Brits (53%) consume more alcohol over December, and two thirds (70%) admit to eating more cakes and treats, according to Bupa. So it’s no surprise that after Christmas a quarter of women (24%) and over a sixth of men (16%) will make a New Year’s resolutions to go on a diet in 2015. However, research by Bupa also found that a third of dieters (35%) have failed to lose weight whilst on a diet and four in ten (41%) didn’t keep the weight off for at least a year.

Dr Tim Woodman, medical director at Bupa said:

“After an over-indulgent Christmas, many people start the New Year off with ambitions to shed some weight. It’s at this time of year when we also see a flurry of diets offering a quick fix. These may help you lose a few pounds at first, but they won’t help you stay a healthy weight in the longer term.”

Despite the warnings that quick fix diets don’t necessarily keep the weight off in the long run, one in six women and one in four men have tried a quick fix diet in the past[3].

Dr Tim Woodman advises:

“Losing too much weight too quickly means that as well as losing fat, you also tend to lose muscle and water. As a result, your body starts to work more slowly and needs fewer calories to function. Therefore, when you resume your usual eating habits, the extra calories will be stored as fat, and the muscle you lose will be replaced by fat. This means that you could actually go back to a higher weight than your pre-diet level.

“Cutting out entire food groups can be dangerous, as it’s really important to eat a range of foods from the five main food groups to stay healthy.

“The only healthy way to shed excess fat and keep it off is to eat healthy, nutritious meals and increase physical activity.”

If you have made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, Bupa recommends five key lifestyle changes to ensure long-term effect:

1. Slow and steady weight loss wins the race: If you want to keep the weight off for good, your best bet is to lose weight slowly, at a rate of no more than 1 or 2 lbs a week.

2. Keep moving: Building physical activity into your routine is crucial to losing weight. Aim for 30 minutes at least five days a week – even a walk at 2mph for half an hour will burn 75 calories. Why not walk off those January blues with a brisk walk to work a few times a week.

3. Portion control is key: Don’t skip meals or eliminate certain food groups from your diet. Simply using smaller plates and bowls for your meals will help you lose weight. However, you don’t need to cut down on fruits and vegetables – load up on fruit and veg to get all your key nutrients.

4. Try to find alternatives to processed food and to eat entire meals: It is very difficult for your body to digest processed food so when possible, eat freshly cooked meals and try to avoid eating buttery and creamy products. It is also important to eat three balanced meals per day.

5. Stay hydrated: Always make sure to drink plenty of water as feelings of hunger can often be satisfied by drinking water.

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