Do you jump on the scales after your morning shower, and think happy hopeful thoughts? Sometimes it’s good news – and we head off to work (or play) with a spring in our step. Other times, our hopes are dashed, and the muffin at morning tea is dismissed. For many of us, it’s a case of carefully watching what we eat until we claw our way back to “our magic number”.
So whenever there’s new science or insight into weight loss – not silly fads, I’m talking real medical science here – we sit up and take notice, right? Who doesn’t want to learn more, particularly when it’s based on science?
New science-backed diet advice
So that’s why in this blog we’re thrilled to update you on Dr. Nick Fuller’s book called Interval Weight Loss for Women, which has been described as the only weight loss program scientifically proven to prevent weight regain.
Dr. Fuller is a leading obesity expert from the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney. Interval Weight Loss for Women is his third book in the series. His first two books, Interval Weight Loss and Interval Weight Loss for Life, gave important new insights into the reasons why yo-yo diets don’t work.
Diets don’t work
Despite our best intentions, 59.7% Australian women are overweight. Not surprisingly, most of the evidence suggests that diets don’t work, at least not in the long term, with about 95% of people regaining the weight they’ve lost within 2-5 years.
Dr. Nick Fuller’s latest book addresses this and delivers fresh new insights on how women can regain control and stop yo-yo dieting for good.
Are you on the diet merry-go-round?
There are lots of opinions as to why diets don’t work. Some people tell you it’s a lack of willpower. Some people tell you it’s the restriction-overeating-binging cycle that happens once you start depriving yourself. Then there’s the idea that diets slow down your metabolism.
Dr. Fuller, however, tells us that it’s our body’s natural ‘set point’, which is influenced by our hormones, nutrition levels, and food intake, that plays a big part in our weight loss attempts. Basically, it means even if we lose weight in the short term, our body will eventually find its way back to its original weight. For some of us, it may even return to an even higher weight!
According to Dr. Fuller, our set point is our body’s way of protecting itself. This mechanism dates back to our hunter-gatherer days when food was scarce our set point acted as a way to ensure our weight would remain stable over time. Now, when we go on a diet our body interprets this as ‘food is scarce’ and we need to protect ourselves — how clever of our bodies, but how frustrating for our waistlines!
Women have special weight loss challenges
According to Dr. Fuller, women have been dealt a particularly tough hand when it comes to weight loss. He points to puberty, having kids, and juggling family commitments with work – not to mention menopause. Women’s bodies go through a lot and it can be hard to maintain a healthy weight.
Baby making years are tough on women’s waistlines
He says the “baby-making” years are particularly hard. In particular, the years where women are trying to:
- fall pregnant (including those on IVF)
- return to their pre-pregnancy weight after giving birth or
- manage their weight after baby number 2 or 3
can be hard on women’s waistlines. These are the times when women are dealing with lots of physical, emotional, and hormonal changes.
Menopause is a challenging weight management time
Usually starting with perimenopause, sometime in your 40s, ovaries begin to make less estrogen and this might make some areas, such as your stomach, hips, and thighs more prone to weight gain.
Is my thyroid gland the culprit?
People also point the finger at the thyroid gland for difficulties in losing weight.
The thyroid gland is the gatekeeper to your metabolism. A healthy thyroid means your metabolism is firing, and a sluggish or poorly functioning thyroid means you have a slower metabolism and therefore are expending less energy – which makes it harder to lose weight.
Under normal circumstances, your thyroid gland will produce hormones, but when you restrict calories or the amount of food you eat, fewer of these hormones are secreted, which ends in a reduction in the amount of energy you burn at rest.
What is the Interval Weight Loss plan?
So how can the Interval Weight Loss Plan help, and why is it different?
Essentially the plan allows you to lose a set amount of weight every second month with imposed breaks – periods of weight maintenance every other month – enabling you to redefine your body’s “set point” at intervals along the way. This allows you to achieve a weight loss that your body doesn’t fight against, so you can keep it off.
Key principles of the plan include:
- Adopting a “month-on”, “month-off” approach to calorie restriction and dieting, allowing your body to recalibrate to its new set point (avoiding the tendency for your body to snap back to its original weight after a period of weight loss).
- Making simple lifestyle changes to achieve a weight loss goal of two kilograms in the weight-loss months, interspersed with alternate weight maintenance months.
- Replacing pleasure-seeking foods – like fast food, confectionery, and soft drinks – with healthier, more natural alternatives. Strawberries, berries, watermelon, mangoes, pink lady apples, nuts, seeds, and honey or avocado on wholegrain toast are good alternatives.
- Eating five meals a day and following the “tunnel plan” of big to small portions throughout the day (breakfast as your biggest meal and dinner as your smallest).
- Applying a “10-minute rule” before going back for seconds so you learn how to tune into your appetite-signaling system and know how much to eat.
- Improving the quality of your sleep and getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Dr. Fuller suggests having a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule, avoiding coffee after 4 pm (limiting coffee to two a day), and avoiding blue light from electronic devices after twilight.
- Doing exercise that you enjoy that fits within the constraints of or your lifestyle. He recommends doing 30 minutes of structured exercise each day, of varying intensity and different types of activity.
Where do you start?
Before you start your weight loss journey, you might want to set a baseline of your key health indicators first. This could include checking your heart health with our MonitorYou Healthy Heart service.
If you have any underlying or contributing issues which might frustrate your weight loss journey, then sort these out first.
For more information on the Interval Weight Loss Program or to purchase a copy of Interval Weight Loss for Women head to www.intervalweightloss.com