Is your New Year’s resolution to lose weight? Overindulged in the festive season and wanting to feel more energetic and healthy? Or are you just sick of faddy diets that aren’t working? Whatever it may be, our series with Maryon Stewart holds the answers. Starting with this introductory article, each week we will feature her series on weight loss, based on her book, The Real Life Diet.
Want to lose weight and tried every diet under the sun? And despite your best efforts the pounds won’t budge or just pile back as soon you return to your normal eating patterns. It’s hardly surprising. Are you utterly confused about whether to avoid carbs or eat carbs with a low GI? There is so much conflicting data in the media you are entitled to feel bewildered.
The simple fact is that weight loss diets just don’t work. Low carb, high protein, no fat … fad diets abound. And although you may lose weight in the short term it won’t stay off. This is endorsed by statistics confirming that in the UK over half of all women and as many as two thirds of all men are either overweight or obese!
Obesity isn’t just unsightly; it is often life threatening. Obese people have increased risk of serious conditions like a variety of cancers as well as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
It is estimated that, in the Western world, about one-third of women and a quarter of men are on a weight loss diet at some stage. Three quarters of us are said to be eating fewer carbohydrates despite the fact that it has been shown to be harmful to our health in the long term.
When you stand back from it all it seems amazing that despite having so much good food to chose from and yet we seem to be making the wrong choices. So millions of us continue to yo you diet and the more we diet the fatter we seem to get!
And it’s not just the additional flab that bothers us. Have you noticed that you often feel more tired than is appropriate for your lifestyle? Do cravings for food get the better of you? Are you always meaning to exercise regularly but never quite get into the routine and are you fed up trying to lose weight and failing?
The secret to losing weight for good is actually very simple. Less input and more output! The only way to seriously maintain weight loss and retain your health is to change your eating habits for life, reduce the serving sizes and get the balance right in your diet, as well as all aspects of your life.
It sounds easy – so why doesn’t it seem to be so in practice?
Being slim and in good shape isn’t just about what you eat and drink, but very much to do with how much stress you have in your life, how physically fit you are and whether you feel loved by others as well as yourself. If life is out of balance then the chances are you won’t be sleeping well and your sex drive will have long since diminished. Once you are happy and all aspects of your life are back in balance your weight will stabilise, your skin and hair will glow, and you will be in great shape both mentally and physically.
Many years of running the Natural Health Advisory Service (NHAS) have led me to realise that when it comes to weight problems the chief culprits are underlying nutritional deficiencies, as a result of either poor eating habits or too many demands on the body, which prevent our brain chemistry from being able to function normally. Too much to do, eating on the run, skipped meals, back-to-back meetings or dashing around after the kids seems to be the order of the day for many. And before you know it your diet is nutritionally deficient in many areas.
The next thing is you start to put on weight, while fatigue, mood swings, skin problems, headaches, aches and pains, food cravings and, in the case of women, hormonal ups and downs and period problems are other common signs that all is not as it should be.
Lurching from one diet to the next, losing weight and then gaining it again does very little for the self-esteem. But it doesn’t have to be this way. All you have to do is put your bad habits behind you, and that includes fad diets, and learn how to meet the nutritional needs of your body. The secret is to find the right diet for you and to keep your metabolic rate – the rate at which your body burns up energy – ticking over at an optimum rate with regular exercise.
Rest assured you won’t end up feeling starved and exhausted. Instead you will learn how to meet your body’s nutritional needs, which will make you feel better in every aspect of your life. You will feel more alive, more alert, more aware, your sex life will improve, you will feel happier and you will look better too. Your hair and skin will start to glow with a new-found radiance.
Best of all your weight will stabilise naturally and there will be no going back to unwanted bloats and bulges. And there are more benefits too. As soon as you start to become aware of your body’s individual nutritional needs everyday niggles such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), headaches, cravings, aches and pains, mood swings, anxiety and, for women, premenstrual syndrome, will become things of the past. You also lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, kidney problems, memory loss and osteoporosis.
In this series I’m going to be teaching you how overcome your cravings, bin the bad habits and how to meet the needs of your body so that you get back into the driving seat and not only look great but feel better than you can remember. It’s going to be a great journey so stick with me.
Watch the weight loss series on Maryon’s Really Useful Health Show below: