Struggling to lose weight? | Sunday Observer

Struggling to lose weight?

16 July, 2023

It can be incredibly frustrating not seeing the number on the scales go down if you’re eating healthily and exercising. But simple changes, from making sure you are eating enough protein to avoiding sugary drinks, can help you shed weight.

Here, dietitian Dr Duane Mellor reveals some of the barriers that may be stopping you from losing those pounds.

It can be frustrating if your weight loss plateaus, but simple switches can help you lose weight and making sure you are eating enough at meal times is one of them, according to dieticians

You’re not eating enough protein 

That’s because eating enough foods high in the macronutrient — such as chicken, fish and chickpeas — can help control portion sizes.

Foods that are high in protein, especially when eaten alongside fibre, can make you feel fuller for longer.

Dr Mellor added: ‘Although there is less of a strong link between eating more filling meals and weight maintenance, as part of a healthy dietary plan it may help you to be more in control of your food choices and better able to maintain your weight.’

High protein foods are more filling and satisfying than foods that are lower in the macronutrient. Meaning eating enough chicken, fish and chickpeas will help you control your portions But it’s not just the amount of meat and lentils you’re eating that you need to keep an eye on — the quality of it matters, too.

Dr. Mellor explains that ultra-processed foods, such as takeaways, microwave meals and fruit-flavoured yoghurts can be ‘easier to digest and obtain the calories from’.

He adds that these foods are ‘highly desirable and less able to keep you feeling full’.

So eating these items may make it harder to resist snacks between meals and successfully lose weight.

Your diet is too strict

It may seem logical to assume that a rigid meal plan is key to losing weight. 

But experts say reducing your calorie intake too much can make it a bigger struggle to lose the pounds.

One reason for this is not eating enough could leave you feeling too tired to exercise.

Dr Mellor said: ‘It is thought that reducing the amount you eat and your calorie intake too much may reduce the amount of involuntary activity, which can mean weight loss might slow down a little.’

Consuming too few calories can also see dieters lose more muscle than fat. 

To lose weight safely and sustainably, the NHS recommends cutting 500 calories per day — to around 1,500 for women and 2,000 for men — to lose 1lb (0.45kg) a week. 

Experts say that if you reduce your calories intake too much, you could find yourself struggling to lose the pounds. One reason for this is not eating enough could leave you feeling too tired to exercise Some crash diets advocate eating as little as 800 calories per day, which experts warn usually sees people gain weight in the long run.

However, there are some exceptions.

Dr Mellor said: ‘For some people with type 2 diabetes who wish to try and bring their diabetes into remission, a low energy diet with medical supervision can be an effective treatment option.’

Earlier this year, the NHS revealed plans to roll out a soup and shake diet, which sees type 2 diabetes patients consume 800 calories a day for up to five months. Results from trials showed it put sufferers into remission for at least five years. 

But just moderate calorie cutting is a more sustainable way to lose weight, according to Dr Mellor.

He said: ‘The key is to not be too harsh with how you change your diet, as this can be hard to follow and try to be as active as you can to help maintain the vital lean tissue and muscle in your body.’

You’re drinking your calories 

While dieters may be rigorously exercising and eating healthily, progress can be blunted if they are drinking too many sugary drinks.

They may also be triggering big sugar crashes — which can trigger feelings of hunger, even after recently eating.

Dr Mellor said: ‘It is not necessarily the proportion of carbohydrate, protein and fat that can influence weight loss, ultimately it is the dietary pattern which enables someone to eat healthily and reduce their energy intake in a sustainable and affordable way.

‘However, if you have sugary drinks, as we are not as good at recognising energy coming from drinks as food, these can lead to us consuming more energy.’

He recommends switching to water or unsweetened drinks to regulate energy intake. 

Dr Mellor stresses that making long-term changes that are manageable is the best way to manage your weight. 

He said: ‘If someone is trying to manage their weight, it is important to try and look at a healthy diet you can enjoy over the long term. 

‘It is good idea not to focus on weight and consider how we try to improve our health, where any changes in weight are more of a side effect for people living with a higher weight rather than the main and only goal.

-Daily Mail.UK