There are a multitude of diets for weight loss. Among the best known, we find the high-protein diet, the monodiet or the hypoglucidic diets. However, despite the achievement of short-term weight loss goals, these diets do not offer lasting results. Indeed, the best way to lose weight is to combine a high nutritional value diet with regular physical activity.
The main principles of the regime
Any weight gain or loss is the result of a change in our caloric intake. To achieve what is called the energy balance, we must spend as much energy as we consume. Calories represent the energy value of food. The more calories in food, the more energy we need to spend to compensate.
How does the weight loss diet work?
To lose weight, it is therefore necessary to create a negative balance, that is, to burn more energy than calories consumed. Losing 0.5 kg per week, a reasonable target, is equivalent to spending 3,500 calories more than you consumed. This implies a negative energy balance of 500 calories per day, which will be achieved through a combination of a reasonable dietary restriction and regular physical activity.
Several factors can interfere with the variable of calories consumed. For example, it has been shown that the nutritional value of a food on the nutrition label can be 20 to 30% higher or lower. Can we really rely on the nutrition label to calculate our calories? In addition, the amount of energy a food contains in the form of calories is not necessarily the amount of energy we absorb, store and/or use. Indeed, we absorb less energy from minimally transformed carbohydrates and fats because they are more difficult to digest. It is therefore in our interest to eat as little processed food as possible.
Also, we absorb more energy from food that is cooked because these processes break down plant and animal cells, thus increasing their bioavailability. Finally, depending on the type of bacteria present in our gut, some people have a greater ability to extract energy/calorie from the walls of plant cells than others. These species of bacteria are the bacteroids. In short, not everything is just a matter of calories ingested. Introduction (which food/nutrient families to focus on and which ones to forget)
Why is a fast weight loss diet not a good idea?
In the vicious circle of diets, the basal metabolism is negatively affected by decreasing it. Basal metabolism is the energy used by the body to perform essential functions such as breathing, blood circulation, etc. These functions represent about 60% of the daily caloric expenditure. The higher our basal metabolic rate, the higher our daily energy expenditure. However, drastic diets reduce our basic metabolism. By going on a diet, our body panics and switches to energy-saving mode. As a result, less energy is expended at rest and the risk of gaining weight is much higher. Moreover, age is not on our side. From the age of 20, our basal metabolic rate would decrease by 2 to 3% per year. That’s why the older you get, the harder it is to lose weight.
On the other hand, muscle mass and physical activity levels increase basic metabolism, and therefore energy expenditure. Men usually have a higher basal metabolic rate than women because they have more muscle mass. This underscores the importance of including weight training in our physical activity routine.
What is the best diet to lose weight?
If you decide to lose weight, it is advisable to do it wisely. The drastic methods are too restrictive: very low in calories, complete exclusion of certain foods or food groups and many food bans. This can lead to food compulsions and a sense of loss of control. This leads to a feeling of failure and then another regime is started again. It is the vicious circle that begins. The more we do, the more physical and mental health risks accumulate. There is no such thing as a miracle diet. If it existed, we’d know it a long time ago!
Regimes to be wary of
- images of perfect bodies
- use of so-called “natural” and “fat-burning” products
- no need for physical exercise
- very fast weight loss (5 kilos in 2 weeks for example)
- guaranteed weight loss
- approved by a pseudo-specialist
- bogus and unreferenced clinical studies
The criteria for choosing a good diet according to the Balance Body:
- Do we carry out a detailed and complete assessment of our condition: health status, lifestyle, eating habits, stress levels and physical activity, among others?
- Is it supervised by recognized health professionals: dieticians, kinesiologists, psychologists, doctors and others?
- Does this method propose a realistic weight loss goal (5 to 10% of the initial weight)?
- Does it aim for a moderate rate of weight loss (no more than 0.5 to 1 kg per week)?
- Does it provide personalized advice that takes into account our lifestyle and our psychological and nutritional needs?
- Does the diet provide a minimum daily intake of 1,200 calories for a woman and 1,800 calories for a man?
- Does the diet focus on variety and does not eliminate any foods or food groups?
- Does the diet teach to rely on internal feelings of hunger and satiety?
- Does this method encourage regular physical activity?
- Finally, does the plan encourage a gradual and non-drastic change in our lifestyle?
Did you answer yes to each of the previous questions? This method therefore has several advantages that promote realistic, safe and lasting weight loss. However, if you have answered no to some or most of the previous questions, you may want to explore other options because it does not promote realistic, healthy and sustainable weight loss.
How to set a good weight loss goal?
Your objectives must be Specific/Measurable/Achievable/Realistic/Temporarily defined. These are called SMART objectives.
Write a contract with yourself. By reading it regularly, you avoid losing your way. These objectives must not only be related to weight loss, but also to something more powerful. Establish a non-food reward system. When you reach your goals, treat yourself, buy a massage, a show ticket, etc.
If your weight and/or waist size is normal and you still want to lose weight, what should you do? First of all, ask yourself the question of the reasons for your choices. If it is only a matter of appearance, look for improvement in your body image. If your weight is normal but your lifestyle is not healthy, this may be a good reason to change your diet. Naturally, you would lose weight.
For those whose weight is already in the “healthy” weight category, it is better to try to achieve a balanced weight. The equilibrium weight is the one in which you feel good physically and psychologically. It is specific to each and unique. The “set point” theory, developed in 1982 by Bennett and Gurin, proposes that there would be a control system integrated into each person, a kind of internal thermostat for body fat. For some people, this equilibrium weight would be higher than for others. This may explain why some people have difficulty losing weight beyond a certain point. In short, our weight would be physiologically predisposed around a weight range that the body will try to maintain, even if it is not the “healthy” weight.
Several factors determine this equilibrium weight:
- heredity (a very important factor)
- age (equilibrium weight increases with age)
- basic metabolism
- physical activity
- eating habits
In short, if your weight remains stable, despite all the efforts, ask yourself the question, maybe your body is not made to go any further.