The basic principle of weight loss is put yourself into negative energy balance. This can be achieved by reducing your energy intake (food intake), or by increasing your energy output (metabolism and physical activity - exercise), or ideally combining the two. Research shows that diet and physical activity combined is more effective in the long-term.
Weight loss strategies should gradually reduce the body fat reserves but not at the expense of muscle mass. Rapid weight loss can reduce metabolism causing the weight to plateau. ‘Fad’ or ‘crash’ diets that claim rapid weight loss, with little effort, may help initially, but efficacy long-term is questionable. These diets do not help you to make long-term lifestyle changes to improve your health.
Calorie-restriction strategies are one of the most common dietary methods. Daily calorie requirements for weight loss are calculated depending on a number of factors including, age, gender, weight loss goals, and activity levels. Individuals whose obesity places them at an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, or other medical conditions may need to follow a stricter diet that will need to be monitored by a physician, or dietitian. Once an ideal body weight goal is achieved the calorie intake is then increased to a level that allows for weight maintenance. Physical activity can greatly enhance the efficiency of a diet. The ideal weight loss strategy should not be too low in calories, provide a nutritionally balanced diet combined with daily physical activity.
Top Tips for Weight Loss
There are no quick fixes to long-term weight management. Lifestyle changes that include both diet and physical activity are the most effective means of losing and maintaining a healthy weight for life.