Health

Wednesday 1 October 2014

It's time for a change

Karl Henry

OVER the coming weeks, my column will be changing shape, from now on I will be answering questions from our readers and from my clients, questions that I think are common to as many people as possible.

You know, the ones you always wanted to know the answer to but didn't know who to ask – they are exactly the ones that I want you to ask me.

To submit your questions, simply email me at karlhenry@independent.ie and I will try my best to answer them in my column.

Here are two questions that I get asked all the time, ones that I think are relevant to people all across the country:

WILL I LOSE WEIGHT BY DIETING ALONE?

In the quest for weight loss, so many try to lose weight by simply cutting calories out of their diet, restricting the calories to 1,200 or below, even five to six hundred isn't uncommon. Or switching to low-calorie versions of normal foods, will you lose weight? Yes, for a while you will.

Our bodies have individual energy requirements just to keep them going, called your basal metabolic rate, so by reducing your calories you are creating a deficit, which will give you short-term weight loss.

Why short term?

* You will eventually tire of the low energy and hunger.

* By restricting any food type, you are creating a craving for that food.

* You are actually replacing real nutrients with artificial ingredients that are lower in calories but generally higher in sugar.

As well as creating short-term weight loss, you will also:

* Slow down your metabolism as the body reacts to the low calorie intake.

* Reduce your lean muscle tissue, so you may lose weight, but you will be soft and have very little muscle tone.

* Be pretty miserable as you're fighting a losing battle.

So by just trying to lose weight by dieting or supplementing with meal replacements, in my opinion you are doing more harm than good, and generally spending a fortune too, for short-term weight loss.

* Move more: Cardiovascular work is essential for your aerobic fitness and helps to burn calories, generally fat, if you are getting slightly out of breath in your walks or runs. Always ensure you can talk.

* Resistance sessions: Weights or body weight exercises such as squats and press-ups are also essential to help you lose weight, increase your metabolism, increase your muscle tone and feel good.

Irish Independent

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