I am a firm believer in introducing more and more plant-based foods into diets. This won’t only be beneficial for the planet but also for our health. As a nutritional therapist, my role is not to “convince” clients to go vegan or vegetarian but to balance their diet and suggest changes to achieve health goals….
Top Tips to Reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight
by Lucia Stansbie
The start of a new year often equals new goals to reach, and in 2019 losing weight was one for 44% of the UK population, the second most common new year resolution after increase exercise (47%).
How to successfully reach and maintain a healthy weight for your body type and height? There is no unique answer or unique diet that will work for everyone, as each individual has a different story and way the body metabolises food.
The main advice from a nutritionist is:
*don’t follow a diet because it worked with a friend or a family member, as it doesn’t mean you will obtain the same results. We are all individuals and so are the reasons why we might carry excessive weight.
*don’t trust blindly fad diets that promise quick results. Those kind of diets are likely to provide insufficient Kcalories and micronutrients, putting the body in a dangerous state of deficiency. Very restrictive diets can also deprive of nutrients our gut-microbiota leading to a decrease in variety which can affect multiple body functions. Very restrictive diet can also alter hormonal balance, increasing cortisol levels with might rise ‘reverse T3’ – a thyroid hormone which slows down this gland activity and consequently the metabolism. This mechanism is a preservation mechanism – if starved the body tries to slow down to preserve as much energy as possible, and when fed again tries to increase energy stores (fat deposits) as much as possible.
*Take care of your gut microbiota. The bacteria in our gut are involved in a number of metabolic functions, and has regulatory effects on body weight, body composition, and glucose homeostasis. An example on how gut microbiota can impact weight management is the effect of butyrate (a short chain fatty acid produced by gut bacteria when fermenting fibre) on regulating blood glucose levels and decreasing accumulation of brown fat deposits. Restrictive diets or diets not providing enough fibre to ensure optimal variety and function of the gut microbiota, can lead to a decreased production of short chain fatty acids and negatively impact energy metabolism.
*Don’t worry if you “fell off the wagon” once in a while – this expression should not exist as there is no such thing as a wagon or a “all or nothing” approach. In a balanced diet there is space for favourite foods, and is totally ok to enjoy them in moderation or when socialising. A nutritionist will recommend not to have crisps every day with a lunch meal-deal, but will say is ok to have them once in a while as a treat.
*Think of your new diet as a new way of eating – it doesn’t have to be boring or feeling restrictive. A professional can help create a plan full of enjoyable options which will leave you satisfied whilst enabling you to reach your goals.
* Inform your friends and family about your goals and what you are doing to achieve them, so that they can support you in your journey.
A nutritionist will be able to build a plan specifically designed for you and your goals, following up after the initial appointment to assess how the program is going and modify it if necessary.