Dieting is dead: A better way to achieve your weight loss goals
Belfast trainer and nutritionist Alan Waterman looks at why people should choose lifestyle over dieting.
Since 2014, the UK diet industry has been estimated to be worth approximately £2 billion.
From workout DVD's to weight-loss supplements and dieting programmes, there is a huge expenditure on these products and services, all in the name of getting slim.
The list of popular dieting methods is substanstial. The Atkins diet, Cambridge diet, Dukan diet, South Beach diet, Weightwatchers, Slimming World ... the list goes on and on.
The problem with the majority of these 'diets' is that, in most cases, they do not produce lasting results, and worse, they actually set us up for long-term failure. Why? It's a question of sustainability.
We will undoubtedly lose weight following the Cambridge diet because of a drastically low calorie intake - calories are king when it comes to weight loss, so when we're following a diet that sets us at between 600-1500 calories, of course we will see a drop in bodyweight.
It's extreme, it's unpleasant, but it will absolutely produce results.
However, that doesn't make it a successful 'diet.' At least, not in the long run.
Subsisting on a sub-1000 calorie diet just isn't realistic.
Despite more recent research suggesting that those who see a higher initial rate of fat loss have a greater likelihood of keeping that weight off, it is largely dependent on how sustainable we choose to make that process.
Pushing for an initially high rate of loss which will eventually taper down into a lower rate of loss is very different to trying to push for losing weight at a consistently high level.
One process is sustainable, the other isn't. One is more associated with 'dieting', the other is not.
Studies have concluded that not only are those who undergo phasic, shorter term dieting are more likely to regain that weight, but are actually more prone to gaining back more weight than those who have never even dieted.
An endless cycle of yo-yo dieting, caused by unsustainable methods, which only serve to damage our metabolisms and leave us worse of than we started.
Dieting is not the where the answer to successful weight loss lies. The answer is in our lifestyle.
In adjusting our lifestyle, the need for phasic dieting to achieve our desired weight loss will no longer exist. It's in our habits, our routines, our positive day-to-day actions which we put in place to achieve the results we want over time, almost automatically.
If changing our lifestyle can allow us to achieve the results we want in six months and keep those results, isn't it a better solution than dieting hard to get there in half the time, but ending up caught in that yo-yo cycle of weight regain once our eating habits are no longer in line with that specific diet?
Practicing moderation rather than ditching whole foods or food groups, hitting the gym three or four days a week rather than six or seven, eating until our hunger is satisfied instead of purposefully starving ourselves - these are all aspects of lifestyle which set us up for long-term success.
Dieting demands perfection to be successful, whereas lifestyle is very much a case of good, not perfect. Success in lifestyle boils down to sustainability.
The idea of 'dieting' now holds less and less merit for helping us maintain long term weight loss, despite whatever short term results it may produce.
By adjusting our lifestyles, and by creating good, sustainable habits, we can absolutely achieve the results we want without the need to diet to get us there.
No more dieting. No more yo-yoing. It's time we let the idea of the diet die for good.
Belfast Telegraph Digital