If being slim was easy – everyone (well, most people) would be.
At last check more than 60% of adults and a quarter of kids were overweight or obese. This reminds us that unfortunately, losing weight is hard work, both in terms of watching what we eat and getting enough exercise.
There are plenty of diet products and programs out there vying for our attention, including:
Almost every diet that's been invented - no matter how crazy - will make you lose weight. The hard bit is keeping the weight off. Diets that focus on particular foods or food groups (e.g. grapes, grapefruit, high protein, high fat etc.) are often hard to maintain and in some cases, dangerous.
Appetite is a powerful survival mechanism and it takes a while for the body's metabolism and our hunger mechanisms to adjust. Some people – especially the very obese – are addicted to food in the same way a heroin addict is addicted to heroin or an alcoholic is addicted to alcohol.
So, weight loss maintenance is something you have to work at as hard as losing the kilos in the first place. The diet which research suggests is quite good for this is the low glycaemic index (GI) diet. The body digests low GI foods slowly, leaving you feeling full for longer and allowing you to eat fewer calories without feeling hungry. Examples are foods like rolled oats or natural muesli; breads made from heavy mixed grains; vegetables like carrots, eggplant and broccoli; and fruits like cherries, plums and grapefruit. Hummus, brown rice, milk and lentils are all low GI as well. The CSIRO Total Wellbeing diet isn't far behind in terms of weight loss maintenance, it's based on a higher intake of protein and like the low GI diet is low in fat.
Then it's the behavior that needs attention. To give you an idea of the long term change that's needed here are the five habits of a successful weight loser:
See the NPS' MedicinesTalk article: Shed those kilos for your health