Many people want to lose weight, but far too many of us find that dieting doesn't work. According to surveys, a whopping 97% of people put back all the weight they lost on a diet and often gained more weight on top. To lose weight and keep it off is very difficult, but most dieters want to lose weight permanently.
As someone looking for the best ways to lose weight, what you need to do is to make sure that you consume fewer calories than you need â€“ and make sure you keep it that way.
So how can you lose weight and keep it off? The answer is not with branded diet foods or miracle berries.
A recent BBC television programme took a presenter who knew he needed to lose weight due to family health problems. They added a batch of scientists to test out a range of possible weight-loss and health-giving tactics. This is what the researchers discovered.
You need to find things to eat that keep you fuller longer. Although some food has few calories â€“ diet cereal for instance â€“ it doesn't help you feel satiated until the next meal. So what does?
- Soup stays in your stomach for longer than non-liquid food meaning you stay fuller longer. In addition, a portion of soup â€“ which can have as few as 100 calories - at the beginning of a meal will mean you eat less of the rest of the meal.
- Dairy produce is a hidden weapon in weight loss. It seems that low-fat dairy, such as cheese, actually helps the gut excrete more fat than it would if you hadn't eaten the dairy. And it keeps you full too.
- Protein fills you up more than carbohydrates or fat, and the filling effect of eating protein lasts longer. Many people who used the Atkins diet, and now the Dukan diet, have discovered this. The BBC researchers tested three different breakfasts with the same calories, and the one with the most protein (adding lean ham to scrambled eggs) kept hunger pangs at bay the longest.
- Count calories, and know how many calories are in different items. A muffin, for instance, often has the same number of calories as a meal of meat, vegetables and potatoes. And just because something is good for you â€“ such as fresh fruit â€“ that doesn't mean that it isn't packed with calories.
- Don't get really hungry. If you do, the chances are that you will find it harder to resist those calorie-laden pastries that you really love. That's why eating little and often works best.
So what role does exercise play in losing weight?
- The programme found that, while doing one session of exercise used up a disappointing number of calories, the calorie-burning lasts longer than the session. Indeed, calories are burned faster for up to 24 hours after exercise ended.
- Simply moving around more than usual helps burn calories too. Just building more physical activity into your life â€“ climbing stairs, doing vigorous housework, walking, standing instead of sitting â€“ can burn calories with the minimum of effort on your part.
So there you are: seven tactics to try. Good luck with reaching, and maintaining, the weight you deserve.