It's important to realise that your health matters when you're working on losing weight (see our old pages).
The body prefers slow and gradual changes to its routine, so going on a crash diet isn't necessarily the answer, and nor is a sudden burst of exercise. So think that your overall health matters as well as weight loss your goal.
If you haven't exercised for several years, going for a ten mile run on your first day could be very bad for your health. You'll not only be exhausted by the experience, you'll also be disheartened by how badly your body has coped, which could put you off exercising again. Not only that, you're also more likely to injure yourself, which will set you back even more.
Suddenly starving yourself one day is not the right way to lose weight either. You may have heard it said that 'dieting makes you fat', and there is a biological element of truth in the claim, because when your body is suddenly deprived of food it goes into starvation mode, which means that whatever you eat afterwards, your body will try and store the maximum amount possible. Going without all food is also extremely harmful to your body, because there are many nutrients, such as vitamins and proteins, that your body cannot store, and needs to take in every day.
To lose weight healthily, you need to burn more energy every day than you take in as food, so that your body draws upon its stored energy - or fat. So the best strategy for healthy weight loss is:
- Reduce the amount of calories you eat
- Increase your level of activity
Make small, gradual changes to your lifestyle. If you eat one biscuit less a week, you'll lose 5lb a year.