About weight loss...
Thanks for coming to check out the detail! It's hard to cover everything without giving you an information overload so I have summarised some of the key aspects of the service here. If you have any questions about anything that isn't covered here please get in touch via the contact page.
There are thousands of approaches to weight loss and many of us have tried the numerous fad diets and exercise regimes that come and go. Some are more effective than others, some do not work at all and some are just plain bad for you! Usually, they are short term fixes involving food restriction which becomes a less than pleasant experience and as a result they often lead to yo-yo dieting or in some cases longer term weight gain. This can obviously be demoralising and you may feel you have already tried everything - but don’t despair as everybody can lose weight with the right approach and motivation – we just need to find what works best for you.
A better approach
The ideal approach is to make realistic changes to your diet and physical activity that can become a part of your regular routine. It is well established that the best way to lose weight permanently is to make long-term changes that result in a steady rate of weight loss with an aim to lose weight at around 0.5kg to 1kg a week (1lb to 2lb), until you achieve a healthy weight for you. That doesn't sound a lot does it?...but in just 6 months that's around 2 to 3 stone! But before we get carried away, this is easier said than done - weight loss is an incredibly scientific process and it is not easy to identify the changes needed to achieve these goals and this is where some expert advice can help.
Is this right for me?
There are many different reasons for wanting to lose weight ranging from serious health concerns to toning up for the beach - everyone has unique circumstances and different motivations. Whatever the reason, this approach is the right way to do it. The programme is tailored specifically towards you, your lifestyle and your personal goals. You will receive nutritional advice blended with an exercise programme designed specifically to work for you. We already know that you will need to make some changes, that’s why you are here, but there is little point making you do things that are either unachievable or uncomfortable for you, as this is not likely to be successful in the long run.
Is it healthy and safe?
Yes - the approach is aligned with NHS and Health England recommendations and is designed to be an entirely natural and safe way to lose weight and achieve a healthier lifestyle. There are no restrictive diet plans, supplements, fasting periods or extreme exercise regimes.
As mentioned above, effective long-term weight loss centres around both nutrition and physical activity and each is as important as the other. Together we will assess your current nutrition and eating habits to determine the changes required to promote immediate weight loss and move you towards a healthier long term approach to food. Much of what we do is about educating you to make the right food choices and avoiding common mistakes and misconceptions about nutrition. This will cover a range of aspects such as strategies to avoid overeating, promoting a healthy balanced diet with the right food groups, understanding nutrient breakdown, interpreting food labelling, managing challenging situations such as eating out and holidays, planning food consumption throughout your day...and much more. The ultimate plan is to empower you to have all the knowledge you need to remain healthy forever.
Fitness and activity
A key component of successful weight loss is an increase in daily activity plus regular exercise and there are many benefits that extend beyond simply losing weight. It's pretty obvious that everyone has different abilities and requirements when it comes to fitness, but one thing we all have in common is that regardless of our current level there is always scope for improvement! In order to optimise weight loss and improve overall health we will develop a bespoke programme for you which will account for your current fitness level and align with any activity related goals you have alongside weight loss - for example, many people are keen to return to a sport they may have participated in previously or take up a new pursuit. Don't worry if you feel you are not ready or fit enough for exercise - we will ensure that the approach is designed to work for you at a pace that suits your age and ability and it doesn't mean you have to join a gym! We will design a progressive approach that focusses on increasing daily activity, improving heart health as well as building balance, stability, flexibility and strength.
Preserving lean mass
When we talk about weight loss, what most people are actually looking to achieve is a reduction in body fat, and a properly designed exercise programme can help to ensure this is optimised. It is of course possible to lose weight through nutritional changes alone but with such an approach approximately 70% of the weight loss will be fat whilst the remaining 30% will be lean tissue mass (or muscle) which is generally not desirable. This can be improved by around 10% by coupling nutritional changes with some cardio activity but if we also introduce a tailored resistance exercise programme (e.g. weights etc) we can achieve 95% of weight loss originating from fat, helping significantly to preserve lean mass. This promotes a desirable body shape and can also help to maintain or increase resting metabolic rates. It is also important to be aware that as we age we naturally lose up to 20-25% of lean mass so helping to preserve muscle when losing weight has obvious long term benefits.
One function of muscle (in addition to movement, strength and stability) is to provide structure, tone and definition which all contribute to what is generally considered optimal aesthetic appearance. Changing body composition by reducing body fat and increasing lean tissue may be the primary focus for some people and this this may not even involve any significant net weight loss. This can also be achieved through the same approach we use for weight loss by applying tailored nutritional advice and a progressive exercise programme optimised for your desired body composition targets. You may also want to progress from goals that are initially focussed on weight loss and fitness to a specific body composition related approach once you get nearer to your target weight.
How long does it take?
This will vary from person to person and can be dependent on many factors such as - specific goals, motivation, adherence, obstacles, commitments (work, family etc), support from family and friends, medical conditions and many others. Typically, we aim for you to lose approximately 1-2 pounds per week which could equate to 2-3 stone in six months and 4-6 stone in a year and so on. Obviously this rate varies considerably based on specific targets and individual circumstances as does the time required for each person to achieve their goals. When we start, we will agree some short and long-term time-based goals, but we work on a progressive basis so you may decide to redefine your goals as you progress towards your original targets.
The first thing we do is sit down and talk through what's involved so you can feel comfortable that you are happy to work with me and that you are ready to get started. We then arrange to carry out an assessment to baseline your starting position and calculate metabolic requirements. This includes measurements (height, weight, body measurements, blood pressure), body composition analysis, movement assessment, posture analysis and general fitness assessment. The results will enable us to understand your specific energy balance requirements and form the basis of your tailored programme as well as providing a baseline against which to measure progress. We will also assess your current nutritional situation and consider some initial behavioural changes to help springboard weight loss.
As you move forward we will have regular sessions covering a combination of nutrition and exercise. The frequency and number of sessions is up to you although every two weeks is the recommended minimum. The more sessions you can build in, the more we can do to ensure progress which is particularly important when you start out. We will build in regular checkpoints at agreed intervals to re-assess your progress against previous assessments and make sure that you are moving towards your targets at the appropriate rate. If things are not progressing as expected we will work through the possible reasons together and find a way to get you back on track. This process of continuous assessment and adaptation helps us to ensure that you successfully achieve your goals.
I can't deal with this now
For many people weight management can be a deeply personal and emotional situation and there may be many barriers that stop you from dealing with it. This could be any number of things but the most common are generally a combination of lack of time, work pressures, family commitments, self-confidence, anxiety and motivation. The fact you are reading this means that you already want to take some action but that is easier said than done. My role is to help you overcome these physical and mental barriers so you can get to where you want to be. Initial consultations are free, informal and not pressured so that may be a good starting place to get you moving forward.