Question for the Expert: Can I really lose weight quickly, or is it something I have to plan to do over a long period? I usually give up because I can't see any results quickly.

Asked by Winnie

Answer:

It may not be what you want to hear, but healthy, sustainable weight loss can only be done over a longer period of time. Up to 60% of weight that is lost quickly over a few days or weeks when on a diet, and food intake is being restricted, is always down to water loss, not fat. Besides, when you think about it, you didn't suddenly wake up overweight this morning. In most cases, weight problems can take years to develop. Therefore, it is unreasonable to expect any weight issues to disappear overnight.
However, please don't give up. For sustainable weight loss, you need to make sure you are eating a clean and healthy diet at least 80% of the time. By clean, I mean NO processed food, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, rapeseed oil or aspartame; you have to educate yourself and take the time to read labels. You should also consider seriously restricting your coffee/caffeine and/or alcohol intake for a month when you begin eating clean. And drink at least two litres of water a day to help flush toxins out of your body.

The next part of the equation is exercise. If, for whatever reason, you don't fancy joining your local gym or leisure centre, have a look around to see if there any outdoor activities on offer that you may enjoy. Do you have a friend that might want to join you for an outdoor bootcamp? Is there a colleague at work that also wants to lose weight? What about organising a lunchtime walk around the nearest park? Buy a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day. Or what about that evening class in bellydancing you were thinking about?

Of course, there will be days when you won't feel like putting your kit on and getting into action, but if you choose to do physical activities you actually enjoy and find fun, it will be much easier to lose, and then maintain sustainable weight loss, for good.

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