Losing weight is not just for those who want to change their physical appearance, but also for those who want to cure or improve the symptoms of their chronic conditions. Excess weight increases the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, heart attack and even cancer. Although being overweight is not a condition in itself because we are all different natural shapes and sizes, for some excess weight can lead to chronic conditions that can be combated with weight loss. There are many ways to achieve this weight loss, such as exercise, low carb/high protein diets, calorie restriction, and fasting. Each weight loss method has its own benefits, but it is important to mention that each person should tackle nutrition before attempting exercise. Exercise is important for overall health and weight loss, but it is important to implement it after the diet is under control. Diet plays a larger role in weight loss than exercise. There’s a fun and not so researched rule that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise, but there is some truth to this. Calories from food dictate whether exercise will work, and that is a well-known fact. Overeating can lead to weight gain even while following an exercise regimen! Also, burnout is quite common in those who rush into an exercise regimen without the proper nutrition to fuel their mind and body.
Therefore, improving nutrition first allows you to see progress, stay motivated, and reduce your risk of injury. A healthy and sustainable approach to weight loss includes both a balanced diet and eventually regular exercise. So today, let’s talk about the different nutritional approaches to weight loss.
3. AVOID THE CARBS (Low carb/high protein)
Low carb/high protein diets have been popular for years. The idea behind this diet is to limit carbohydrate intake and increase protein intake to promote weight loss. This diet can be effective because it reduces insulin levels, sugar levels, and calories, which can lead to weight loss. High protein intake also helps to maintain muscle mass, which can be important for overall health. But what many do not realize about this diet, is it is simply a calorie reduction that can be attained with any other diet. Therefore, like the ketogenic diet, it is difficult to maintain long term and maintain as a lifestyle.
The recommended balanced diet is supposed to consist of 55% of calories from carbohydrates, therefore this diet tends to lead to unwanted side effects secondary to low sugar that may lead to overeating or binge eating.1 One of the risks of a low carb/high protein diet, if not done correctly is that it can lead to a high intake of saturated fats, and cholesterol which can increase the risk of heart disease.2 Additionally, a low carb/high protein diet may not provide enough fiber, which can lead to constipation and other digestive issues.3 Therefore, if done correctly you will see results and avoid any risks, but you should be aware this lifestyle is hard to maintain putting it at the bottom of our list of weight loss methods.
2. Maybe I’ll Eat Twice a Day (Fasting)
There are different types of fasting, such as intermittent fasting, which involves restricting food intake for a certain number of hours each day, and alternate day fasting, which involves alternating between fasting and regular eating days. Fasting has also become increasingly popular for weight loss. It has been linked to improving glucose and insulin levels in diabetics, and improving some psychological behaviors.4 But it has also been associated with irritability and fatigue. Some of my patients eat once per day, which is not healthy for the body and have to be educated on safe fasting habits after experiencing some of these symptoms. If done correctly, fasting can be effective because it can lead to a calorie deficit, but it can also be challenging to maintain long-term without guidance.
Some risks are dehydration, especially if not enough fluids are consumed during the fasting period. It can also lead to nutrient deficiencies if the individual is not consuming enough essential nutrients during the eating period. Additionally, fasting can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, including binge eating or overeating during the non-fasting period.4 Fasting can also be challenging for individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes. There is a mix of research available for fasting but not enough that supports it’s benefit just yet, therefore it is not a diet that is recommended by most health care professionals at this time.4 Because this lifestyle can be organized in a healthy manner and maintained overtime, it comes in 2nd on our methods of weight loss list.
1. Let’s Find a Happy Medium (Calorie restriction)
Coming in at number one is calorie restriction. This is a tried-and-true method for weight loss. It involves reducing the number of calories consumed each day to create a calorie deficit. This diet is effective because it forces the body to use all calories available and prevents excess calories from building up and being stored as fat.
While each method has its own benefits, research suggests that calorie restriction is the most effective for long-term weight loss. One study found that participants who followed a calorie-restricted diet lost more weight and maintained weight loss better than those who followed a fasting diet.5 As we age, our metabolism slows down, which means we burn fewer calories at rest. This means that we need to consume fewer calories to maintain our weight. Calorie restriction can help to achieve this deficit and prevent weight gain as we age.
However, it can be difficult to maintain a calorie-restricted diet long-term, as it can be challenging to constantly monitor and restrict calorie intake. Calorie restriction can also lead to nutrient deficiencies, as it may be difficult to consume enough essential nutrients while also maintaining a calorie deficit without guidance and experience. Calorie restriction can also lead to a slowed metabolism if the calories are severely restricted, which can make it more difficult to lose weight in the long term. It can also lead to potentially forming an unhealthy relationship with food, including disordered eating patterns and a negative body image. To avoid these risks, it is important to find a nutritionist or other health care professional knowledgeable in this area to ensure you follow the correct regimen for you.
There are many different methods for weight loss, but calorie restriction has been found to be the most effective for long-term weight loss. While low carb/high protein diets and fasting can be effective for weight loss, they can be challenging to maintain long-term. As we age, our metabolism slows down, and calorie restriction can help to maintain a healthy weight. It’s important to remember that any weight loss method should be combined with regular exercise and a balanced diet for optimal health benefits. And all of these methods may be successful if you enlist a healthcare professional or nutritionist to help you reach your goals in the healthiest way possible. Follow up on social media below and then reach out for some free tips to help you on weight loss journey!