There are a multitude of diets intended for weight loss. Among the best known, we find the high protein diet, the mono diet or hypoglucidic diets. However, despite achieving short-term weight loss goals, these diets do not offer lasting results. Indeed, the best diet to lose weight remains the combination of a diet with high nutritional value, regular physical activity and being in good health.
Features of a balanced weight loss program:
- Weight loss between 500g and 1kg per week
- All food categories must be represented
- Physical activity integrated into the program
- Work on positive body image and self-acceptance
- Must enable healthy eating habits to be adopted over the long term
Any weight gain or loss is the result of a change in our calorie intake. To achieve what is called the energy balance, you have to spend as much energy as you consume. Calories represent the energy value of food. The more calorie-dense the food, the more energy we have to expend to compensate.
How does the weight loss diet work?
To lose weight, you must therefore create a negative balance, that is to say, burn more energy than calories ingested. Losing 0.5 kg per week, a reasonable goal, is equivalent to expending 3,500 calories more than what you have consumed. This therefore implies a negative energy balance of 500 calories per day, which will be achieved by the combination of reasonable dietary restriction and regular physical activity.
Several factors can interfere with the variable of calories consumed. For example, it has been shown that the nutritional value of a food listed on the nutrition label can be 20 to 30% higher or lower. Can we really trust the nutrition label to calculate our calories? Also, the amount of energy a food contains in the form of calories is not necessarily the amount of energy that we absorb, store and / or use. This is because we absorb less energy from minimally processed carbohydrates and fats because they are more difficult to digest. It is therefore in our interest to eat as little processed as possible.
Also, we absorb more energy from food that is cooked because these processes break down plant and animal cells, thus increasing their bioavailability. Finally, depending on the type of bacteria present in our gut, some people have an easier time extracting energy / calories from the walls of plant cells than others. These species of bacteria are the bacteroidetes. In short, it’s not all a question of calories ingested. Introduction (the families of foods / nutrients to focus on and those to forget)
Why Is A Fast Weight Loss Diet Not A Good Idea?
In the vicious circle of diets, we negatively affect the basal metabolism by reducing it. Basic metabolism is the energy expended by the body to ensure essential functions such as breathing, blood circulation, etc. These functions constitute about 60% of the daily calorie expenditure. The higher our basal metabolism, the higher our daily energy expenditure. However, drastic diets decrease our basal metabolism. By going on a diet, our body panics and goes into energy saving mode. We therefore spend less energy at rest and the risk of gaining weight is therefore much higher. Also, age is not on our side. From the age of 20, our basic metabolism would decrease by 2 to 3% per year. That’s why the older we get,
On the other hand, muscle mass and the level of physical activity increase the basal metabolism, and therefore the expenditure of energy. Usually, men have a higher basal metabolic rate than women because they have more muscle mass. This therefore underlines the importance of including strength training exercises in our physical activity routine.
What is the best diet for weight loss?
If you decide to lose weight, it is advisable to do it smart. The drastic methods are too restrictive: very low in calories, complete exclusion of certain foods or certain food groups and numerous dietary restrictions. This can lead to eating compulsions and a feeling of loss of control. There follows a feeling of failure and then we start another diet. The vicious circle begins. The more we do, the more the risks to physical and mental health accumulate. There is no such thing as a miracle diet. If it existed, we would have known it for a long time!
Diets to be wary of
- perfect body pictures
- use of so-called “natural” and “fat-burning” products
- no need to exercise
- very rapid weight loss (5 kilos in 2 weeks for example)
- guaranteed weight loss
- approved by a pseudo-specialist
- bogus clinical studies without references
The criteria for choosing a good diet according to the Balance Organism:
- Do we do a detailed and complete assessment of our condition: health, lifestyle, eating habits, stress and physical activity levels, among others?
- Is it supervised by recognized health professionals: dieticians, kinesiologists, psychologists , doctors and others?
- Does this method provide a realistic weight loss goal (5-10% of initial weight)?
- Is she aiming for a moderate weight loss rate (not more than 0.5 to 1 kg per week)?
- Does it provide personalized advice that takes into account our lifestyle and our psychological and nutritional needs?
- Does the diet provide a daily minimum of 1,200 calories for a woman and 1,800 calories for a man?
- Does the diet focus on variety and not eliminate any food or food group?
- Does the diet teach you to trust your internal feelings of hunger and fullness?
- Does this method encourage regular physical activity?
- Finally, does the diet encourage a gradual and non-drastic change in our lifestyle?
Did you answer yes to each of the previous questions? This method therefore has several advantages that promote realistic, safe and sustainable weight loss. However, if you answered no to some or most of the previous questions, you may benefit from exploring other options as it does not promote realistic, healthy, and lasting weight loss.
How to set a good weight loss goal?
Your goals should be S pecific / M easurable / A tteignable / R ealistic / T emporellement defined. These are called SMART goals.
Write a contract with yourself. By rereading it regularly, you will avoid losing direction. These goals need to be not just about losing weight, but something more powerful. Establish a non-food reward system. When you reach your goals, treat yourself, buy yourself a massage, a show ticket, etc.
If your weight and / or waist size is normal and you still want to lose weight, what should you do? First of all ask yourself the question to know the reasons behind your choices. If it’s just a matter of appearance, look instead at improving your body image. If your weight is normal but your lifestyle is not healthy, this may be a good reason to change your diet. Of course, you would lose weight.
For those whose weight is already in the “healthy” weight category, you should rather try to tend towards your equilibrium weight. The balance weight is the one in which we feel good physically and psychologically. It is unique to everyone and unique. The “set point” theory, developed in 1982 by Bennett and Gurin, proposes that there is a control system built into each person, a sort of internal thermostat for body fat. For some people, this balance weight would be higher than for others. This could explain that some people have difficulty losing weight beyond a certain point. In short, our weight would be physiologically predisposed around a weight range that the body will try to maintain, even if it is not the “healthy” weight.
Several factors determine this equilibrium weight:
- heredity (very important factor)
- age (equilibrium weight increases with age)
- basal metabolism
- physical activity
- eating habits
In short, if your weight remains stable, despite your efforts, ask yourself the question, perhaps your body is not made to go further.
What is the right rate of weight loss?
If you are overweight or obese, losing just 5-10% of your weight over a 6-month period significantly reduces your risk of heart disease. and other health conditions. The recommended rate of weight loss for good health is 0.5 to 1 kg per week. Losing weight at this rate will help you maintain your weight down the road and give you time to integrate your new lifestyle habits. Maintaining moderate weight loss over a long period of time is better than losing a lot of weight and then gaining it back, as it has been shown that when they regain the lost weight, people mainly regain adipose tissue (mass). fat) and do not return to their original muscle mass. If you want to lose more than 10% of your body weight, wait to maintain that weight loss for at least 6 months before continuing.
A loss of around 5-10% of your initial weight is associated with significant improvements in blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, with less medication needed to treat these risk factors. cardiovascular. Other benefits include improved sleep apnea, joint pain (especially knees), mobility, depression, and quality of life.
Prohibited foods and foods allowed in a weight loss diet
In a well-managed weight loss diet, there are no food prohibitions. All foods have their place, only the frequency of consumption is important. Some foods with high nutritional value should be consumed daily while others should be consumed in moderation just for fun. Here is a list of some foods to be encouraged and others to be eaten in moderation.
|Foods to be preferred||Foods to eat in moderation|
Raw vegetables Whole
Olive, rapeseed and linseed oils
Herbs, spices and aromatics
Tea and herbal teas
Butter, cream and oils rich in Omega-6
Dishes in sauces
Industrial sauces (ketchup, mayonnaise, etc.)
Sugar and sweet products
Pastries, pastries, cookies
Sodas, industrial fruit juices
Typical day of weight loss food program
The ideal ratio for weight management would be 30% for protein, 40% for carbohydrates and 30% for fat.
Here is a weight loss program that respects these ratios *
|Morning||2 slices of wholemeal bread
1 cup (250 mL) soy beverage
|Morning Snack||Raw vegetables
¼ cup (35 g) almonds
|Midday||120 g grilled chicken breast
Vegetable salad with olive oil dressing and ¼ avocado
100 g cooked quinoa
|Afternoon snack||1 Greek or standard yogurt
50 g fresh fruit
¼ cup (25 g) oatmeal
1 tsp. (15 ml / 7 g) ground flax seeds
|Evening||120 g grilled salmon
Vegetables sautéed in olive oil
100 g brown rice
250 ml 1-2% vegetable or non-vegetable milk
|Evening snack||100 g of
ground Cinnamon cottage cheese
* This menu provides around 1800 kcal per day.
Advantages and disadvantages
The positives of a balanced weight loss diet
- Respect for the needs of the organization
- No frustration or food compulsions
- Rare weight gain and easier weight maintenance
- Compatible with a fulfilling social life
- Positive body image
- Allows you to develop good eating habits for life
- Reduces the risk of diseases related to overweight
- Pleasure in eating well and taking care of yourself
- High nutritional quality food that avoids deficiencies
- Healthy and fulfilling relationship with oneself and with food
The health risks of a draconian diet:
- Muscle wasting
- Risk of dehydration, drops in blood pressure, digestive disorders, hormone disruption, hair loss and muscle cramps
- Risk of deficiencies in proteins, essential fats, certain vitamins and minerals (iron and calcium for example)
- Risk of disease: anemia or osteoporosis
- Risk of electrolyte imbalance, cardiac arrhythmia
- Risk of weight gain when stopping the diet
- Development of an unhealthy relationship with food and with the body
- Loss of contact with hunger and fullness signals
- Severe fatigue, headache, difficulty concentrating and decreased productivity
- Decreased self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, feelings of failure and guilt
- Excessive concern about weight, or the development of eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, etc.).
Recommendations and precautions to be taken
Are there any risks associated with being overweight?
Most people are aware of the risks of being overweight. It is even one of the reasons mentioned for losing weight: to have better health. Excess weight can, in fact, increase the risk of type 2 diabetes , high blood pressure , heart disease, certain types of cancer, sleep apnea , osteoarthritis , fatty liver disease, disease. kidney problems as well as problems during pregnancy in women, such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and increased risk of cesarean section.
To assess your weight and the associated risks, you can calculate your BMI as well as your waist measurement. If your BMI is over 25 and your waistline is over 88 cm for a woman or 102 cm for a man, your risk is higher for developing the health problems mentioned above. Consult a healthcare professional, who can do a comprehensive assessment of your condition.
The place where there is an accumulation of fat is therefore more important than the total body weight. In addition, a person with a normal BMI but a high waist circumference indicates the presence of abdominal fat (apple shape) and their risk of suffering from health problems may be as great as an individual with a higher BMI but a waist circumference. normal size. Of note, in a person aged 65 and over, a BMI between 23 and 27 has been shown to be more optimal for survival rates than the standard BMI range of 18.5 to 25. The BMI range of 18.5 to 25 has been shown to be more optimal for survival rates. death rate would not increase until a BMI of 33 in these individuals.
Are women and men equal when it comes to weight loss?
Men and women are not equal when it comes to weight loss. As mentioned earlier, men have more muscle mass and therefore a higher basal metabolism, which is favorable for weight loss. However, men, mainly because of hormones, tend to accumulate more visceral fat, which is dangerous for their health. In addition, men, unlike women, underestimate their degree of obesity. Another difference is that women eat more frequently with their emotions (stress, depression, low self-esteem, general mood), which can affect the maintenance of weight loss because we eat with the head and not our stomach. . So this indicates that there are differences in the way men and women view weight loss.
How to lose weight after pregnancy?
The majority of pregnant women would like to see their extra pounds melt away after childbirth.It is important to understand that weight loss after pregnancy varies from woman to woman. Know that it is important to maintain the healthy habits you had during pregnancy. Indeed, eating well after pregnancy helps restore the mother’s nutritional reserves, maintain a good level of energy and of course help you regain a healthy weight. We must therefore forget about diets and weight loss and prioritize a varied and balanced diet. Remember that the pregnancy weight was gained in 9 months, so it is unrealistic to lose it in 2 months. One year after childbirth,
Also, women who were already overweight before pregnancy (BMI 27 and over) or who gained more weight during pregnancy than recommended are more likely to be overweight one year after childbirth. Be aware, however, that limiting weight gain during pregnancy will not help you lose extra pounds after childbirth. If you are breastfeeding, it is even more important not to start a drastic diet because the quality of your breast milk could be affected and thus affect the development of your baby. In addition, studies show that breastfeeding contributes to faster weight loss after childbirth.
Should we systematically include sport in a weight loss diet?
This is the best way to ensure your motivation. Staying physically active will help you lose weight and keep it off over time.
The benefits of physical activity
- Decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, breast, uterine and colon cancer
- Strengthening your lungs
- Strengthening your muscles and keeping your joints in good condition
- Slow loss of bone mass
- Relaxation and better stress management
- Building self-confidence
- Better sleep
For overall health and to reduce the risk of disease, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. To help manage body weight and prevent gradual weight gain, aim for 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week. To maintain weight loss, aim for at least 60-90 minutes of moderate daily physical activity. You can divide the amount of time you do physical activity, such as 15 minutes at a time. If you haven’t been physically active for a while, then don’t let that stop you. Start slowly and gradually increase your activity. For example, start walking for 10-15 minutes three times a week, then gradually until to the recommended amount with a brisk walk. Do a mix of resistance (weight training), cardiovascular and recovery activities. Above all, choose an activity that makes you happy.
How not to gain weight?
According to the “National Weight Control Registry” in the United States, here are the behaviors that are associated with poor weight gain:
- eat a nutritious protein-rich breakfast : add eggs, Greek yogurt, cheese, tofu, nuts and seeds or their butter. Protein helps you maintain lean body mass and increases feelings of fullness. In addition, the cost of protein digestion is the highest among macronutrients (20-30% for protein, 5-6% for carbohydrates and 3% for fat). It is important to have protein at all meals and to distribute it well.
- eating a diet that includes unsaturated fat helps maintain sex hormones, stimulates the immune system, and adds flavor to foods.
- eat as little processed as possible : this decreases the calories actually absorbed in addition to requiring more energy from our body for their digestion. Eat staple foods, in their most natural state.
- consume few fast food foods : these are high in calories, fat, saturated and trans fats , sugars, sodium, etc.
- drink few sugary drinks and favor water to hydrate : these are empty calories, with no effect on satiety. In addition, the brain makes little difference between the symptoms of hunger and thirst, and people can often confuse them easily.
- eat a diet rich in fiber : whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes contribute to the feeling of satiety. Foods rich in soluble fiber are particularly interesting because they form a gel and take up more space in the stomach: psyllium, artichoke , green beans, green peas, kohlrabi, avocado, pear, bran cereals, oatmeal, all of them. Legumes as well as almonds are good sources. In addition, the carbohydrates provided by these foods will prevent feelings of deprivation.
- reduce portions at meals : even if you eat quality food, you can eat too large portions. Listening to satiety signals and controlling portions is therefore very important. Learn to eat slowly, enjoy your food in a way that saturates your taste buds with different flavors. You will need smaller amounts to be full.
- have good sleep habits : researchers recommend sleeping between 7 and 8 hours per night, this affects the hormones of hunger and satiety positively.
- limit screen time to a maximum of 10 hours per week : we move less and eat more when in front of a screen.
- develop a positive body image : see your body as it is, accept it as it is in the present moment, accept the skills and peculiarities of your body, have confidence in your body and its abilities, treat your body with kindness , enjoying your body as it is, trusting your food choices, eating according to your appetite, accepting that your weight varies from time to time are all signs of a positive body image.
- have better management of emotions / stress / and have relaxing activities not associated with food : reading, listening to music, meditating, moving are many activities demonstrated to promote appeasement. Rid your home of temptations: the goal is not to eliminate them completely, but the more you have, the better your chances of eating them in times of stress.
- have the support of our loved ones and / or health professionals : a dietitian-nutritionist can help you assess your nutritional habits, give you a personalized plan and tools to achieve it, depending on your lifestyle.
- weigh yourself regularly without making it an obsession : this would allow you to act quickly if the weight has increased and thus maintain it in the long term.
- keep a food diary : the effectiveness of this tool is scientifically proven. According to a study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women who keep this type of journal have less difficulty maintaining their balanced weight.
Some figures to go further
According to a recent study, more than 60% of French people admit to paying attention to their weight. This statement concerns almost as much men (57%) as women (67%).
More than 44% of the French adult population has already followed a diet intended for weight loss. People who want to lose weight follow an average of 4 to 5 different diets in their lifetime.
Be careful though, the numbers are clear: the majority of weight loss diets fail. Indeed, 60% of individuals who have followed a diet are not satisfied with the result. Either because they did not lose the desired weight or because they regained it very quickly. Despite these pessimistic figures, the French continue to put themselves on a diet. A third of the population also claims to consider going back to the diet in the coming months.