Thursday Tips: Here's why your diets aren't working

We all know someone who seems to always be on some sort of diet to lose weight. It’s rare to hear about success stories of people losing weight and keeping it off over time.

How do we define success? A truly successful weight loss programme is one that can ensure a weight loss beyond one year after completion of the programme. In fact, studies show that the percentage of people who fail to keep the weight off after 5 years is around 80%.

Oh no! But why?

Everyone can lose weight, but very few can maintain it. While there are many reasons why that is the case, the biggest issue with most diets is the lack of education.

Most diets do not teach about healthy eating and positive behaviour changes; instead, they promote dietary changes that are difficult and unhealthy to maintain.

That isn’t the only problem. Here are some other reasons:

  • Our society encourages calorie consumption and minimal usage of them. Food is increasingly ultra-processed, portions are growing and most of us eat fewer home-cooked meals.
  • There aren’t a lot of opportunities that incentivise physical activity.
  • Our body is fighting against it. As we lose weight, we get increasingly hungrier and less satisfied. This makes it difficult to keep the weight off, which can be quite demoralising for someone trying to lose weight.
  • People who are overweight faces stigma and discrimination. Often times, society doesn’t treat obesity as an illness, but instead label the patient as obese (which in fact is the term for the illness. Just like you wouldn’t say a person is a migraine, but rather suffering from migraine). This bias results in a lack of support by medical teams, which in turn stops people from seeking support.

The problem of the excessive body weight

There’s more to weight loss that just aesthetics. Excessive body weight can cause serious health problems:

  • Increases risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (e.g. heart disease and stroke)
  • Increases risk of several cancers including breast, colon, rectum, endometrium, oesophagus kidney, pancreas and gallbladder.
  • Causes non-alcoholic liver disease
  • Affects fertility
  • Causes musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis
  • Associated with depression, worsen memory in women and can even weaken the flu vaccine, according to recent findings.

The benefits of losing weight

A weight loss of 5-10% in people with a BMI between 25 to 35 can reduce their risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Data from the US Diabetes Prevention Program show that the risk of developing diabetes can be reduced to half with an initial weight loss of only 7% and if the person is able to maintain the weight loss of at least 5% for 2 or more years.

Other benefits include improvements in:

  • blood sugar levels of diabetic patients
  • cholesterol profile
  • blood pressure
  • fertility
  • sleep apnea

A successful weight loss requires effort, long term plan and an expert team to support you through your journey.

This is why programmes such as LivingLite in Australia is successful. It prioritises education and provides guided support on diets, activities and goal setting that are targeted to your personal healthcare needs.

A team of doctors and dietitians at MyDoc has taken the essence from the Australia LivingLite programme and adapted it to suit the lifestyle and physiological needs of Singaporeans. Delivered through our platform, the LivingLite programme powered by MyDoc allows you to consult with your dietitian and doctor from anywhere at a time convenient to you.

Although our team is non-judgemental and always work to support you in your challenges and needs, we understand the stigma faced by an obese patient. Virtual consults on MyDoc are ideal to help keep the focus on helping you develop good habits, not on how you look.

Instead of restricting you within a regimented program, we look at your current lifestyle, your needs, your medical and diet history. Together with you, we plan goals that are attainable, realistic and that match your lifestyle.

Your dietitian is your personal support partner that works with you, giving you all the support needed to make those lifestyle changes. This makes you responsible and accountable for your own behaviour changes.

Sounds great but it also sounds expensive

Typically, it is recommended that weight loss programmes are at least 14 sessions with a dietitian for at least 6 months. However, this is very difficult to achieve due to costs.

To keep costs affordable, we added touchpoints with the pharmacist. Information on food, exercise and motivation are also provided on a daily basis to complement the doctor and dietitian consultations. This means our programme on average costs 30% less than conventional clinical programmes currently available in the market.

Our goal is to help you do permanent lifestyle changes so that your weight loss can go beyond the 12 weeks.

To find out more about LivingLite programme check https://www.my-doc.com/livinglite/ and sign up now.

References

Hall KD, K. S., 2018. Maintenance of Lost Weight and Long-Term Management of Obesity. 102(1), pp. 183-197. 
JW, A., EC, K., RC, F. & CL, W., 2001. Long-term weight-loss maintenance: a meta-analysis of US studies. 75(5), p. 579–584. 
 Khim, K. B., 2017. Obesity: A growing worldwide epidemic. [Online] Available at: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/health/obesity-a-growing-worldwide-epidemic-9296734 [Accessed 07 Jan 2020]. 
NPR, n.d. Excess Weight Can Weaken The Flu Shot. [Online] Available at: www.npe.org [Accessed 7 Jan 2020]. 
Raynor, H. A. et al., 2016. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Interventions for the Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. 116(1), pp. 129 – 147. 
World Health Organization, 2013. What are the health consequences of being overweight?. [Online] Available at: who.int [Accessed 7 Jan 2020]. 
Y, Y. et al., 2019. Obesity is associated with poor working memory in women, not men: findings from a nationally representative dataset of U.S. adults.. Volume 35:101338.

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