When you start to think about losing weight, do you want a healthy way to lose it, and keep it off, or do you just want a quick fix to lose some, and then go back to to normal? It’s important to think of your health when you are losing weight, not just the number on the scales.
Any diet can get you to lose weight, but is it really healthy?
People will say that the best diet is the one that you can stick to, but in reality, this is not true. The best diet must support a healthy body, not just be easy to “stick” to. There is so much noise on the internet about what is the healthiest way to lose weight and it is all so confusing.
Which one is right?
What one do you chose and how do you make the right decision?
You will have celebrities endorsing certain diets and pills, making all sorts of claims, and I feel that it is only right to take a fully rounded look at what is out there at the moment.
How to determine whether a “diet” is healthy or not?
This is a very important question to ask yourself when you are making a decision on what you are going to do for your weight loss and long term health. You need to look at the finer details rather than the fancy marketing behind “diets” out there.
Take a closer look at the before and after photos that are being used - ask questions such as are these photos edited, are these photos genuine, how long did it take the person to lose weight, have they been able to keep it off, and finally and probably the most important one - do they look healthy?
Marketing can be very deceptive when it comes to healthy eating plans and a lot of weight loss programmes, in my opinion, are anything but healthy. It is quite a statement to make but let me explain.
I had tried so many different ways to lose weight over a time span of 15 years. Yes I would lose weight, but unfortunately, I always found it again. Not until 2013, was I able to lose weight in a way that supported my body and made it healthy long term.
Why did other diets fail?
Let me go through them and explain what the issues were, and still are, with other ways of losing weight. As I said before, these are my opinions, based on experience and with the education that I have received over the last number of years.
Whilst calorie counting can be a great way to become aware of the amount of food that you are eating, focusing on calories alone is not a great way to lose weight long term. When people are calorie counting they do not take into consideration the quality of the food that they are eating.
The view is, 500 calories of Mc Donalds/Burger King/KFC etc is the same as 500 calories of really healthy and nutritious food, and that as long as you are within your calories allowance you are ok to eat whatever you want! This is a really unhealthy way to look at weight loss and health.
Your body needs nutrition, not just calories. When you adopt the “a calorie is a calorie” approach, yes you may lose weight, initially, but the real question is how healthy is your body at the end of it. Are you losing body fat or are you losing muscle mass and water?
These groups are great for accountability but as for a long term healthy way to lose weight, I am not so sure. I have so many concerns with the way that these groups are run. The “leaders” have no formal training on nutrition and healthy weight loss, they just get trained in their relevant company's programme. This is a major red flag for me.
The idea that calories don’t matter when you are eating the slimming groups way, just as long as you are within your syns/points etc is wrong too.
So called FREE food is a troublesome concept too. I recently did a nutritional analysis on a breakfast for a client that used to eat in accordance to how one of these groups operate. The breakfast would have been all “free” but in reality the calories were 1255, the saturated fats were 70g (the recommended level for the lady was 47g for the day), the sodium level was 2871mg (daily recommendation 1600mg for the day) and the meal was totally lacking in vitamins and minerals. It also had a GL of 57 which meant that she started the day with her blood sugars rocketing and falling and this can lead to energy slumps throughout the day.
This was just the FREE breakfast that the lady had, and in that “system” it was deemed to be 100% healthy, when in reality it was anything but healthy.
My other main concern with slimming groups is the focus on “fat free”, “low calorie” and “sugar free” products - not food, but products. These aren’t real foods and can cause havoc with the digestive system and brain function.
Another point to consider is these companies promoting their own brand ready meals. This for me is wrong again as they are highly processed foods that are often poor on key nutrients and high in hidden sugars/sweeteners.
These companies just want you coming back for more and are depending on the community group aspect of their plan to keep you there.
Bootcamps, PTs, Shreds etc
I have been there done this and got the T-shirt, and yes whilst they are enjoyable they are not suitable for long term health. These kinds of programmes tend to focus on a quick result. Your calories are reduced quite dramatically and your energy expenditure is increased - a lot - and you will naturally lose weight.
This will work for about 6 weeks or so and then your body starts to feel tired, it is a struggle to get out of bed in the morning, you start to pick up injuries, you are craving junk food again and then you give up. Because you give up and go back to your old way of eating, you will regain the weight that you lost and you are back at the start again.
It is a vicious circle.
Exercise is important for long term health, but it should not be used as a major tool for weight loss. You can not outrun, or out train, what you are putting on your plate and shoving in your mouth. Food is much more important.
Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian
Whilst I do believe in choice, I do not believe that veganism is a healthy way to lose weight and live a long term healthy lifestyle. It is really difficult to get the correct nutrients from vegan food. If you are unaware of what a vegan diet is, it is food that has no animal products, or harms an animal, in its production. It is great for introducing a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and plant based foods but can be very restrictive and highly focused on grains, white foods and sweetened a lot with sugars (in many formats).
I have analysed the recipes from some well known vegan chefs and I was astounded at the nutritional content of the recipe. There were very little nutrients in it and the Glycemic Load of the recipe was really high, which means that your blood sugars would peak and drop, which then in turn leads to fat storage and other health concerns.
Many food companies are using the vegan trend in their marketing at the minute and some of the foods that are classified as being vegan are anything but healthy. Food companies are making vegan “meat substitutes” and they too are anything but healthy. I could say a lot about this but will maybe leave it for another day.
The pescatarian diet, which is vegetarian along with fish and seafood, is great for Omega 3 intake and protein intake, however, due to the pollution of our seas, users of this kind of diet need to be aware of their mercury levels especially if they are eating larger fish.
Keto is very much on trend at the moment. It is a low carb, high fat diet. Yes, you can lose weight with this kind of diet and improve your health, especially if you are type 2 diabetic, but for long term health, I do have concerns.
The traditional Keto diet recommends 70% fat intake, it doesn’t really matter where the fat is coming from, as long as you are eating it. I have seen people eating mountains of bacon, sausages, eggs, cheese, adding butter to their coffee and having very little variety in their food, but “it’s ok, because they are eating the Keto way”
Due to the fact that most fruits, quite a few veggies and many plant based foods are not permitted, fibre intake is very low and many people that eat the keto way are missing out on lots of vital vitamins and minerals.
For women specifically, we need a certain amount of carbs due to the way that our hormones change throughout the month. Many of the studies that are quoted on the success of Keto, are done on men. Women tend not to be used in these kinds of studies due to our hormonal cycle and the risk of the woman being or getting pregnant during the study.
Whilst Keto has benefits, especially for people with type 2 diabetes and for people with brain concerns, I do believe that we need to have a greater variety in our food than what Keto allows.
This is an absolute no, never in my opinion! It is one of my pet hates. We are meant to eat our food, not drink our food!
These kind of diets are very, very restrictive. The dieter receives their food in a powdered shake format, that they then make up and drink. They will claim to be nutritionally balanced, however many of them are made with synthetic, low quality ingredients, which in the long term, your body rejects. These kinds of diets dramatically reduce your calorie intake, some as low as 600 calories a day, so will automatically lose weight, but again, what kind of weight is being lost - is it body fat, muscle, or water?
When someone uses this kind of way of losing weight, they tend to regain their weight back again very quickly once they stop. This is because the person really hasn’t learnt anything about food, health, nutrition and habits. It is certainly a quick fix and one I would not recommend.
I have had clients that have tried this in the past and they have become very ill, some losing their hair, periods stopping, aches and pains and they have said it is the worst thing they have ever done in their life.
Please do not consider this as a way to lose weight.
Gastric Band/Sleeve Surgery
Another “on trend” way to lose weight at the moment. I have seen many people opt for this kind of surgery, as a way to lose weight. This is where a part of the stomach is removed or bypassed, to make your stomach smaller. The idea is, that due to the fact your stomach is much smaller, you will eat less as you will feel fuller, quicker.
The risks associated with this kind of surgery are high, along with the expense of it. Yet again, the nutritional quality of the food eaten by a person that has the kind of surgery is not addressed. I have heard of people liquidising a pizza to eat after having this kind of surgery done. There are also risks gastrointestinal problems, reflux, vomiting, malnutrition and hypoglycaemia. Unless the person addresses their diet, lifestyle, habits and activity levels, any lost weight can return again.
It is not a decision to make lightly and in my opinion shouldn’t be one.
So you are probably reading through this going, oh my word, what should I do.
What is the healthiest way to lose weight?
For me, and many of my clients, it is living life The SMASH Way.
Why is the SMASH Way so good?Well, The SMASH Way is focused on eating real food, on educating women how to support their bodies and looking at other pieces of the health jigsaw that other diets do not look at. It is not about a quick fix but a long term solution. It’s about showing women how easy it is to cook healthy meals at home and putting their health jigsaw back together again.
SMASH focuses on high quality protein, healthy fats and a healthy amount of carbohydrates. It supports hormonal health, gut health, brain health, mental health, detoxification pathways, lowering inflammation and living a healthier lifestyle all round. Yes, you have to cook, but you can not be healthy, by relying on store bought, highly processed foods to be healthy.
You lose body fat and gain muscle - which is what you want, and you will also increase your water content percentage too. Your body will become so healthy so that weight loss is a positive side effect.
When living life the SMASH Way, you get long term support in the SMASH Academy, to ask any health related questions that you want. You will understand the hows and they whys behind what you need to do. You will also get access to even more new healthy recipes on a regular basis, so you never get bored.
Take Sharon, 42, from Wales, for example.
She had been going to a slimming group for 11 months prior to starting with SMASH, and in those 11 months she gradually lost one stone (14 lbs) in weight.
During this time she felt frustrated that she wasn’t getting the results that she wanted, her joints were sore, she felt bloated and was bingeing on crisps and fizzy drinks. At the weekends, she was having takeaways and continually felt sluggish. She always felt tired, and an afternoon nap was a regular occurrence.
When she started to live life The SMASH Way, she tried a couple of the recipes and read through the Masterplan and set a date to start the 28 day Reset.
She was amazed at how good she felt, so quickly. She was eating more food, but losing weight - body fat - in an easier way than she had been doing for the 11 months prior to meeting me.
The cravings for junk food were gone, her peri-menopausal symptoms lessened AND she lost 12 lbs when doing the 28 day Reset that is in the Masterplan. Her body fat percentage went down by a massive 5% and her muscle mass increased by a massive 5% (without doing any exercise!)
Sharon uses the SMASH Community Support Grouup on a regular basis to have any questions answered that she needs answered and loves being part of the community that gives her the truth about living a healthy lifestyle.
In her own words “SMASH will change your life. I feel more confident and content, feeling so healthy with so much energy. I have gained more hours to my day because I have so much more energy. So many benefits to SMASH, I hadn't even thought of the pounds I was losing as I was feeling so great”.
Anyone can live The SMASH Way and therefore, live a very healthy lifestyle long term. Get in contact to find out how you can start the healthiest way to lose weight and live a healthy life long term. Check out what The SMASH Way is all about in this blog