Not another January dietSunday, January 09, 2022
THE first few weeks of a new year usually feature people rushing to the gym or starting a new diet with hopes of shedding pounds they might have gained during the holiday period.
However, as quickly as they start, they are abandoned and we go back to our old habits, often regaining the lost weight or adding more to what we did not lose in our silver bullet approach.
According to general, laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon Dr Alfred Dawes, a common factor in many patients who see him for weight loss surgery is that they have been on multiple programmes that guarantee weight loss within a particular time frame.
Dr Dawes told Your Health Your Wealth: “Many of these programmes are nothing more than yo-yo diets where you do well, lose weight, but as soon as you come off the diet you end up doing the same things you did before that caused the weight gain and naturally, this will lead to weight regain.”
That aside, Dr Dawes said even more concerning is the fact that many of these restricted calorie diets result in muscle loss and with that muscle loss, our metabolism slows, meaning that it is even easier for us, as many people find, to regain that lost weight very quickly.
To sustain weight loss, Dr Dawes said, comes down to the cliché lifestyle change. But, before we can truly see results, the noted surgeon said we must commit to changing several patterns in our lives that invariably results in weight gain.
“Habits such as going to bed late at nights, so you're too tired to get up in the morning and exercise; getting into the habit of watching TV and eating food; studying and eating food; buying snacks or finishing your children snacks — all account for significant failure rate in managing your weight. We have to break down those habits and recreate patterns that lead to sustainable weight loss and weight patterns.
“Simply not buying snacks, watching your calorie intake for the day, focusing mostly on protein intake and coupled with resistance training can go a far way with recompositioning your body,” he said.
Ideally, Dr Dawes also said the focus should not be on weight loss.
“What you want to focus on is fat loss and many of these programmes look at only weight loss, not distinguishing between losing fat and losing muscle or something like even water weight for that matter. Instead they have people feel like they're succeeding or failing miserably based on a number on the scale. You're not going to lose weight and keep it off in the long term by going on a fad diet, no matter how successful they say they are. Many of these programmes measure their success rate in the six months that clients are with them. But long term, after people come off these diets and programmes they regain the weight because they have done nothing to fix the habits that led them to gain weight in the first place,” he said.
Dr Dawes added: “The best way is to look at what all of your habits are, writing them down, and seeing what is contributing to excess calories, what are stopping you from burning off excess calories and find out how we can reconstitute our habits and in the process reconstitute our body to be leaner, fat burning machines.”