While everyone is busy posting the obligatory photos of their children starting back at school on Social Media currently, many forums are also filling up with a very particular theme now that the school Summer holidays are at an end….. How much weight everyone has put on during the past 6 weeks!

Days out, holidays, ice creams in the sun and the odd drink or two do tend to aid putting weight on!

It is an ever debated health issue and becoming a political hot potato too. Both the Sun newspaper here and the Daily Mail here have written and reported about the fact that family doctors are being encouraged to prescribe exercise to their patients.

It is great to recommend, educate about and even prescribe exercise; however you can’t can’t outrun a bad diet (I’ve written about this in depth elsewhere). That is, you can’t eat poorly and think that exercise and activity will combat it, research proves this to be a myth. You are fooling yourself.

Always bear in mind the old adage “you lose ounces in the gym, but you lose pounds in the kitchen.”

This does NOT, however, mean that you need to ‘go on a diet.’ Having a healthy diet is very different to taking up a fad diet or a diet comprising of supplements, or a very low calorie diet whereby you feel starved, or a diet whereby you have to count calories (calorie counting is also proven to be ineffective with regards to weight reduction) There are some major conclusions that research suggests about dieting, and they are as follows:

1. Dieting does not work.
2. Dieting may make you more overweight, especially in the long run.
3. Dieting may be bad for your health.

That is my second point today then – that dieting does not work. It often leads to yo-yo dieting whereby a person reduces their weight, puts it all back on again, then tries to lose it again. Apparently, according to the research made on forskolin, it becomes an endless task because people who go on a very low calorie diet for the second time lose weight more slowly even if they take in the same number of calories as the first time. The body develops defences to deal with this and the more often it happens, the more difficult it is to reduce the weight.

Other things happen too when we diet; people become obsessed with food and eating, thinking about it constantly and sometimes obsessing about it. The body of someone who has yo-yo dieted responds by hoarding energy and our usual activities use up less calories (including sleeping burning less calories, the research suggests!), we give off less energy in body heat and we often become lethargic, and all the naughty foods start to taste even better than before.

We often relapse, we yo-yo and we feel doomed to a lifetime of being overweight. This is a myth, just because we have always been overweight, or were only ever not overweight as a child, it does not mean that has to be true for us for the rest of our lives. People seem to get into an overweight mindset and they seem to believe things about being overweight that simply are not the case.

The media have latched on as you would expect and are adding to the constant discussion and debate that is the ever popular topic of weight loss. The reality being that there are no real quick fixes that do not result in people putting weight back on fairly soon after losing it all. The evidence tends to suggest that weight reduction and maintenance be a long-term, dedicated process that fits in with a particular lifestyle and approach.

My point though, that is inherent within the previous 4 paragraphs here – weight reduction, maintenance and control is very much in the mind. Or rather, successfully reducing and maintaining your ideal size, shape and weight will be so much easier with the right mindset.

A recent article to feature in the Daily Mail again is entitled Is your brain making you FAT? Blame your mind not your body for weight gain, says scientist. Their main points are as follows:

– Keeping fit and not demonising food is key to maintaining healthy weight.
– Eat intuitively (when you are actually hungry rather than at typical times believing you ‘should’ eat.
– Dieting causes most people to overeat when the opportunity arises.
– Stop if you’re full.
– Swap bad habits.
– Understand the weight your brain attempts to defend.

All of these things are potentially within our control with the right tools and understanding. I think what is omitted from the majority of media articles and reports on scientific findings, are the actual psychological tools that people can use to help themselves along the path to the size and weight that pleases them. I mean, if a long term solution is the best one, and exercise is important, and sticking to a particular eating plan is important, then ways of staying disciplined, motivated and on track psychologically are going to be instrumental, aren’t they?

Believing you are able is important, knowing how to communicate with yourself effectively is important, knowing how to deal with any cravings in those early days is important – all psychological tools or having a particular mindset that makes it easier to do.

Learn how to get your mind in the right place and with good education about the rest, you’ll reduce weight and maintain it.