All the things you need to know

There is a lot out there. Lots of fads, supposedly tried and test or proven methods. I've always been a bit cynical towards all of it. My view is that most of the weight loss programs out there don't really want you to lose weight. If you lost weight then you wouldn't be buying their products any more. So ideally they want their program to make you lose a few pounds, then put them back on again. That way it seems like their program is working, and you keep buying more of their books/bars/shakes.

I put them into two main groups:-

"Short Suffering" - Crash diets. Pro's are that you lose the weight quickly. Cons are that if you go back into your old eating habit afterwards, you'll put it straight back on.

"Long Suffering" - Normal diet program. Pro's are that the diet is generally easier to cope with. Cons are you lose weight very slowly and it only takes a cake or two to ruin a whole weeks dieting.

The "Long Suffering" group accounts for most of the stuff out there. They are the ones making all the money giving you the illusion you are losing weight. You carry around 1/2 stone of weight in your bowels. Losing 2 or 3 pounds on one of these diets usually equates directly to there being less food in your stomach and intestines, you haven't actually lost any fat. They also attack the crash diets a lot, saying they are very unhealthy, bad for you, or even life threatening!

The fact is that being overweight is very bad for you, period. Most of these attacks are nothing more than propaganda. It's true that if you eat things that are plain bad for you, or you have allergies to then you can make yourself sick. But in my opinion, it's very unlikely that a sensible crash diet is going to do you any real harm. Think of all the people who fast. As humans we have evolved to cope with times of scarce food, that's why we store fat in the first place!

The "Short Suffering" group can also be deceptive. If you starve yourself for a couple of days you'll weigh a lot less, but the vast majority of that will be because you have less food in your bowels. You will be burning fat, but if you aren't eating enough protein, vitamins, and nutrients, you'll also be eating away at muscle and other body tissues. When you come off the diet you'll be so hungry you might end up on a food binge, any fat loss you achieved can be quickly lost.

For any diet, the longer you do it, the less effective it can be. Your body is very good at adapting. If you eat less, you'll naturally become more lazy. Your metabolism will slow down to adapt. The key thing to remember is that your body does not like burning fat unless it has to. You yourself will not like the feeling of burning fat, at least not at first, but I'll come to that later.

So what is the solution to having a healthy body? You already know the answer, it's diet and exercise. Sounds simple, but what does that really mean? Well for starters weight loss is much more about diet than it is exercise. Don't get me wrong, I encourage everyone to engage in a healthy regular exercise routine, but you can lose the weight you need to without taking up a new exercise regime.

Putting on or losing weight can be summed up by this simple bit of logic:-

If you are consuming more calories than you are burning, then you are putting on fat.
If you are consuming less calories than you are burning, then you are losing fat.

That's it. Put simply, that is all you need to know. But obviously, the devil is in the detail. What foods you are eating, and the nutritional value they contain, make all the difference between putting weight on or losing it, having cravings, mood swings, and feeling empty or full.

Read more about the top dieting tips.