There are more approaches to weight loss than there are fleas on a dog.
Despite the plethora of books, programs, clinics, pills, TV info commercials, scientific research, internet advice, and support groups, we have never been fatter as a society. Diabetes, hypertension and other diseases connected to obesity are more significant problems than ever before.
Research comparing all popular diets and measuring their effectiveness at weight loss in controlled studies showed that all approaches lead to weight loss, and there is little difference between the different approaches.
How can different approaches produce similar results? If I could say for sure, I could have my book on the shelves to compete for the 100 or so that are in bookstores.
My unproven theory is based on psychology: when people start on a “diet” regardless of what fad they choose to follow, they tend to do the following: eat more vegetables, eat fewer calories, and increase their activity level. Thus, it’s not the percentage of fat, carbohydrates, protein, and balances therein that is critical to success.
The concept of fasting is equally fascinating and muddled.
A 2020 study published in Cell Research looked at the impact of fasting on the belly fat in mice. Mice are similar in biology to humans and make excellent research subjects for comparison. The study looked at changes on a cellular level in mice that followed an every other day fasting program. The specific areas studied were fat that lies just under the skin (not a health issue) and fat around internal organs (a massive human problem).
The study found massive cellular changes as a result of fasting. The bad news is that fat tissue typically provides energy to the body when facing caloric deprivation. Still, this study triggered a defensive reaction: the body became more efficient at storing fat around the organs as it anticipated the next round of starvation and slowed the release of fat molecules for energy provision.
Many other studies on fasting follow different formats, with widely varying results. Do your research before going down this path.
There is no diet GPS to navigate the fog of research. I have yet to read a single study that alters my belief in a reasonable albeit not universal approach to weight maintenance and weight loss in my clients. Simply put: eat a little bit fewer calories (roughly 10 per cent) and increase calories burned through movement (again approximately 10 per cent increase), and most importantly – sit less.
We have become a society that, on average, spends 70 per cent of waking hours in a sitting position and humans evolved over hundreds of thousands of years as hunters and gathers, not sitters and watchers. Turn off the TV, the computer, get outside, walk more, take fit breaks and do 15 minutes of robust activity at a time.
You don’t need to train for marathons to get healthier. And finally, try and make soup broth from bones and enjoy homemade soup every day if you can – a little bit of work will result in a healthier gut track and gradual but permanent weight loss.
Ron Cain is the owner of Sooke Mobile Personal Training. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Facebook at Sooke Personal Training.