Almost a quarter of the UK population are seriously overweight. Obesity levels in the UK have more than trebled in the last 30 years and, on current estimates, more than half the population could be obese by 2050. This situation raises the question, why?
The cause of this rapid rise in obesity, together with this gloomy prediction, has been blamed on our modern lifestyles, including the prevalence of cars, TVs, computers, desk-bound jobs, and high-calorie food. One of the great risks for those who are overweight and obese is the danger of developing Type-2 diabetes.
As individuals, we are responsible for our own health and weight, and there are two essential actions we can take in order to manage our weight: eating a balanced and healthy diet and taking plenty of daily exercise.
If you are seriously overweight, you should consult your doctor, who will be able to advise on weight-loss options. If, however, you want to slim down so that you look better and feel fitter, then you can do something about it yourself by choosing a diet that suits your lifestyle. Firstly, you need to do a little research into the available diets, because there are dozens of popular diets to choose from. The NHS ‘Live Well’ website information lists the following, and gives the pros and cons of each one:
- 5:2 diet
- Alkaline diet
- Atkins diet
- Cambridge diet
- Dukan diet
- Jenny Craig diet
- LighterLife diet
- Paleo diet
- Rosemary Conley diet
- Slim-Fast diet
- Slimming World diet
- South Beach diet
- WeightWatchers diet
Secondly, you will need to start your diet with a ‘can-do’ positive mindset. For many of us a diet regime can be tough at times, so getting moral support from your nearest and dearest will help you along the way.
See also: Today’s Health Concerns
Let’s look at an example
If we look at one of the above diets as an example, the Dukan diet, which has had a very popular following in recent years, gives an overall picture of a weight-loss plan. This is a French high-protein, low-carb diet devised by Dr Pierre Dukan. The diet became widely adopted when his book The Dukan Diet was published in the UK in 2010, selling over seven million copies worldwide. There’s no limit to how much you can eat during the plan’s four phases, providing you stick to the rules of the plan.
During phase one, you’re on a strict lean protein diet, which is based on a list of 72 reasonably low-fat protein-rich foods such as chicken, turkey, eggs, fish and fat-free dairy. This is for an average of five days to achieve quick weight loss. Carbs are off limits except for a small amount of oat bran. Unlike the Atkins diet, Dukan’s phase one bans vegetables and seriously restricts fat. The next three phases of the plan see the gradual introduction of some fruit, veg and carbs and eventually all foods. The aim is gradual weight loss of up to 2lb a week and to promote long-term weight management. There’s no time limit to the final phase, which involves having a protein-only day once a week and taking regular exercise.
The assessment of the Dukan diet is as follows:
Pros: You can lose weight very quickly, which can be motivating. It’s a very strict and prescriptive diet and some people like that. It’s easy to follow. You don’t need to weigh food or count calories. Apart from keeping to low-fat, low-salt and high-protein foods, there’s no restriction on how much you can eat during your first two weeks.
Cons: At the start of the diet you may experience side effects such as bad breath, a dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, insomnia and nausea from cutting out carbs. The lack of wholegrains, fruit and veg in the early stages of the diet could cause problems such as constipation.
Whatever diet programme you choose, beware of the dangers of obsessive dieting. Once you have achieved your ideal weight, the best way forward is to follow the advice given in Live to 100 with Dr Hilary Jones, which is to eat regular, balanced and healthy meals, drink plenty of fluids and take as much daily exercise as possible. Managing your weight by combining these commonsense choices is a sure way to help you live a longer, happier, healthier life. (Source: NHS ‘Choices’)
SEE ALSO: Dee Thresher’s diet tips