By Andy Low
As a trained chemical engineer, the motion of dieting is simply a matter of simple mass balance. The mass balance equation states that:
Input = Output + Accumulation
However, if it is so simple why so many people fail at dieting?
We did some serious research on why do diets fail and surprise, surprise. This is what we found out about dieting:
- According to research conducted by ULCA and published in April issue of American Psychologist in 2007, most who diet lost between 5 to 10 per cent of their weight. Well, that is the good news, right? No, and here it is why.
- The same report found that the majority of them regained all the weight. Sustained weight loss was only found in a very small minority of the participants.
- In a report published in April of 2003 by JAMA(Journal of the American Medical Association) titled “Weight loss with self-help compared a structured commercial program”. The conclusion was a structured program provided modest weight loss over a period of 2 years. However, over a period of 2 years, both groups eventually gained back some weight.
Recently, in an attempt to kill time I watched Netflix program “Explained on Why Diets Fail” broadcasted on 13th June. Well, by now, the not so surprising message is, most of the time diet does not work in a sustained way and people usually get the weight back.
The reason is “people fail to maintain the lifestyle to sustain the weight loss”
So what do we do if we are over-weight and wants to lose weight?
First the disclaimer, we are by no means experts in weight loss or medical professional. We are simply using common sense and research to help us come to a conclusion on how to maintain a desirable weight.
Here, I will highlight my personal experience in my quest to reduce weight. I was 81 kg back in December of 2017 after my holiday in Hong Kong.
I knew I was overweight and I needed help and it came in the form of my neighbour, he introduced me to the book Obesity code and intermittent fasting (I.F.) and I could see it helped him to lose weight due to a medical condition.
I started what is known as I.F. The key component of I.F. is that I fast for a minimum of 12 hours to deprive my body of food so that it can start to use the stored food in my body.
I have been running on a regular basis and so I continue my running.
Fast forward to November 2018, I lost 9 kg at the time of writing this article. My BMI dropped from 27.1 to a decidedly desirable 24.1. I lost a few inches off my waistline.
I am determined to sustain my effort and I increasing moved my goals in weight and resting heart rate. I found something that worked for me and I am sharing here with you.
So here are my 3 simple tips after hours of consolidating my research and 11 months of effort in I.F:
1. Increase your output or physical activities so that you use more calories than you consume. Think of the mass balance equation, it is really as simple as that.
2. Consider a simple form of intermittent fasting. Limit the hours of the day that you eat, and for the best effect, make it early in the day. I fast from 8 pm to the next day at 2 pm for a total of 18 hours. You can start slow but remember at least 12 hours of fasting.
If you eat your lunch at 12, consider fasting at 11 pm the night before, so, you can skip breakfast and have at least 12 hours in fasting.
3. Now sustain it by changing your lifestyle.
In order to sustain I.F. and physical activities, you needed to sustain change in your behaviour. That is, fast for at least 12 hours and increase your physical activities. To do that, you can use the concept gamification to help you.
- Set a weight loss target over a period of time.
- Break it down into daily, weekly and monthly targets. Fasting and physical activities are the things you have to keep track.
- Reward yourself with points to motivate yourself.
- Share your achievements
- Sustain a long-term behavioural change in increase physical activities and fasting.
With that, I wish you all the best in achieving your goals in reducing your weight.