Do you relate to the experience of dieting and losing weight, only to find that you regain that lost weight when the diet is over?
The author of Interval Weight Loss, Dr Nick Fuller, explains that our bodies have a self-righting mechanism that works to get us back to where we were before the diet. The author has a sneaky plan to help us subvert this process, by losing weight very slowly. By doing this, our bodies have time to reset to the new weight, and we can get off the yoyo diet merry-go-round.
Dr Fuller makes the interesting observation that most modern diet programs were invented from the 1980’s onwards, and yet obesity rates have trebled since then. The opening chapter explains why losing weight on a diet only sets you up to make it more difficult to stay trim in the long term. He would like it if we stopped using the word ‘diet’ altogether, and gave up using meal plans that imposed heavy restrictions around certain food groups. Instead just take it easy, stop overindulging on foods that we know are calorie heavy, and let our bodies adjust slowly to the change. If you can’t limit yourself to just one or two squares of chocolate, don’t buy a block!
An idea that I really liked was to track your weight loss by using a graph. You can set these up on smart phone apps, use pen and paper, or try using an Excel spreadsheet for the task. In a weight loss month, you could expect to lose one or two kilograms; and during a maintenance month, just to keep an even keel, neither gaining or losing. By having a maintenance month, you won’t get the sense of deprivation that dieting inevitably brings, because you can allow yourself some treat foods while your body adjusts to the new weight. Doing well on this system means that you might lose 12 kg in the course of a year, but you are unlikely to regain it.
Subsequent chapters discuss the benefits and pitfalls of common diets, such as Weight Watchers and the CSIRO diet; and also takes a look at some common food myths. Potatoes will not make you fat, unless you are eating them as deep fried chips all the time. There are no ‘bad’ fruits, they are all full of nutrients. Eggs raise your good cholesterol, but eat them boiled or poached, not fried. Dr Fuller explains that scientific research shows that high carbohydrate diets and low carbohydrate diets both achieve the same weight loss results over 12 months, so carbohydrates are not a diet culprit.
Do artificial sweeteners cause cancer? There is no evidence that they do, and they perform a useful function in replacing sugar for those of us who enjoy a sweetened cup of coffee. Do cholesterol lowering margarines work? Only if you eat enough of them, so you may as well swap to avocado or olive oil spreads instead.
The book rounds off with some more sensible advice about lifestyle and exercise, and concludes with some recipe suggestions. Maybe think about replacing roasted chicken with steamed or poached chicken, which makes it a truly lean meat. There’s a tasty recipe for butternut pumpkin pizza that really cuts down on the fat content, as opposed to a pizza made from processed meat and heavy on the cheese. I really liked this book, it presents a very doable approach to losing weight and staying trim..