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What you need to know about losing weight.

Updated: Dec 10, 2023

It is no secret that obesity in the modern world is a growing issue - you could call it a pandemic (sorry...we're all sick of the 'P' word I know).

There are too many false and scientifically unsupported beliefs about obesity in both science and the media. Repeated exposure to these mean that they are widely believed.

This is important to understand in daily life for those around us but also generally in order to avoid ineffective policy and health recommendations in a bid to assist the individuals that struggle.

Many of the following myths or presumptions I'm going to briefly cover, fail to consider all of the possible aspects to energy balance including the physiological compensation that occurs as a result of changes in both intake and expenditure of energy.

It is NOT true that:

- Small changes and small goals are always of greater importance for long-term change – sometimes it is true that ambitious goals are associated with more favourable outcomes due to increased motivation caused by confidence created by success.

- Breast feeding children is ‘protective’ against obesity – rubbish, there is no compelling evidence to suggest this.

The following have been neither proven or disproven – they are merely presumptions:

- Regularly eating breakfast is protective against obesity.

- Eating more fruit and vegetables results in weight loss or less weight gain despite other behavioural or environmental changes (disclaimer - THIS IS NOT ME TELLING YOU FRUIT AND VEG ISN’T IMPORTANT – those that work with me are sick of hearing the importance of it, it’s just to say that there are likely many other important behavioural and lifestyle changes needed to influence obesity long-term).

- Yoyo dieting is associated with a higher likelihood of death.

- Snacking always contributes to weight gain and obesity – not always, surely!?

Some proven facts then:

- Heritability isn’t destiny but genetics do play a role in obesity – environmental factors also play a role.

- Diets DO work for many – overall energy intake reduction works.

- Increasing exercise benefits health (to a point!) – it can mitigate the health damaging effects of obesity even without weight loss. To the same end, sufficient physical activity can aid in weight maintenance long-term.

- Obesity is generally fairly chronic, requiring ongoing management therefore a continuation of weight loss promoting behaviour can aid the maintenance of a lower, healthier weight.

- Programmes involving entire families, rather than just interventions in schools for overweight children are generally more successful in weight loss or maintenance.

So, a brief overview to take forward and consider whether you are overweight or spend time around those that are. There are far too many myths flying around the health and fitness industry and one thing I LOVE to do is to help you debunk them and filter through the rubbish.

I hope you're having a splendid start to 2021.

Peace and love, A x

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