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To Eat or Not to Eat By Debbie Singh-Bhatti

Should we diet and if so, what is the best way? The United Kingdom has the third highest level of obese and over- weight people in West- ern Europe, with nearly a third of adults and more than a quarter of children fitting into this category. The statistics are worrying, especially as obesity increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and other diseases. So, what is making us fat and what can we do about it? Put simply, we put weight on when we consume more calories than we use. This could be due to portion size or the type of food we eat. Foods rich in sugar or fat contain the most calories and are most likely to make us gain weight. It’s New Year, and many of us will make the decision to lose weight, but what is the best way to tackle it? There are numerous diets, aids, supplements and slimming clubs out there, some promising amazing results. You’ve seen the adverts about people who have lost six stones in as many months and are feeling great! It’s tempting to want to shift the excess pounds as quickly as possible, to get the business of dieting over with, and get back to normal life again. The sad fact is that the vast majority of people who lose weight put it back on again, and this is because once the weight is lost, they do return to ‘normal’ by reverting back to the habits that caused them to gain weight in the first place. This is particularly true for people who lose weight quickly. No doubt just about any diet can help you lose

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weight, but the real test is: which one can help you keep it off? Over the years there have been various diets - the high fibre, high protein, high carb, grapefruit, cabbage soup and meal replacement diets to name a few. But increasingly, evidence suggests that the most effective way to lose and maintain weight

loss is not to follow a ‘diet’ at all, but to simp- ly make changes to eating habits that can be sustained for life. Diets don’t generally work because they de- mand more of us than we can realistically give for a prolonged period. Eating regimes that deny us all the things we enjoy, that leave us feeling hungry and a social outcast on nights out, will inevitably cause us to revolt at some point and turn back to old ways. Becoming better educated, learning new hab- its, taking responsibility for our choices, con- tinuing to live a normal life and losing weight gradually at around 1-2 lbs per week will, in the long run, produce the best chances of per- manent success at the scales. Good luck as you take the first step to becom- ing a slimmer and healthier you!

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