As we age, our bodies become less efficient at burning calories, so we gain weight gradually even if we exercise regularly and eat the same. Before we know it, our waistlines have expanded and we are at risk of a range of serious health problems.

Guest dietitian Susie Burrell explains four ways to reverse that trend.

Lose weight early

Evidence suggests that long-term weight loss is more likely if we lose weight early during the weight loss process. Specific weight loss foods such as low-calorie ­vegetable based soups and meal replacement shakes or bars for a short time induce ­relatively quick yet safe weight loss.

Short-term programs using these foods can be safely followed briefly (1-2 weeks) and result in weight loss of between 3-5kg for the average person.

Monitor calories and weight

Regularly monitoring your calorie intake helps to control your weight long-term. You can use a calorie counter and a notebook or an online program such as Monitoring your calorie intake makes you more aware of your eating ­behaviour and helps you make appropriate changes.

Similarly, weekly weighing at home provides direct feedback to adjust your food intake and exercise patterns accordingly.

Do you have insulin resistance?

Many overweight people have insulin resistance which means that a hormone called insulin is not working effectively. This can make it exceptionally hard to lose fat even when eating and exercising ­appropriately.

Insulin resistance is especially associated with abdominal obesity (apple shape) i.e. a waist circumference over 80cm for women or over 94cm for Caucasian men and 90cm for men of Asian origin. If insulin resistance is present, a low-moderate carbohydrate and increased protein diet coupled with regular high intensity training, will result in slower (½ – 1 kg per month) but sustainable weight loss.

Manage plateaus

At times throughout the weight loss process it is common for progress to slow and even halt. Weight loss plateaus occur when the body readjusts to your current calorie intake and exercise program and your weight becomes stable at a new level.

The key to moving on is to adjust your calorie intake by 100-200 calories and /or adjust your exercise type and intensity for a period of 1-2 weeks.  This speeds up the metabolic rate and burns calories more effectively. This change is often enough to get you ­moving again.

Susie Burrell


Please note this information was correct at time of publication.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.

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