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Reduce your weight. And your risk of disease.

Do you know what's the most important thing about getting slimmer? Staying that way!

It doesn't matter which diets you’ve tried. Eat half as much, Low Carb, Low Fat, Protein Shakes, Weight Watchers or current trends they all have the same goal: to reduce your energy intake drastically. They reduce your calories per day to below your total energy requirement, including those you need to burn during exercise and sport. If you stick to this plan, you’ll reduce your body weight. Optimally, you’ll also do more exercise to burn even more calories. But without a plan for averting relapse, it won’t work!

This will make you slimmer.

osing weight is easy with a diet-plan and, for a while, it works. And then what?

First, you’ll discreetly grab some chocolate and a bag of potato chips. Then you’ll have them more regularly or eat more substantial portions instead of smaller ones. Suddenly you’re adding carbohydrates to salad in the form of a few slices of baguette. And every now and then a sweet snack can't hurt, right? Soon you’re eating the same way as before your diet, and you’ve reduced your fitness program, because, hey, you’ve lost the weight once, haven't you?

Step by step, you’ll relapse into old nutrition and exercise habits. First slowly, then often very quickly, your choices become visible on the scales.

Our weight increases because we consume more food energy than we need and burn. By reducing our total calorie requirements, we release our hungry metabolism creating a yo-yo effect, and our weight fluctuates.

And that's how you get fatter again.

However you choose to lose weight and get fit, it must be something you’ll do every day for the rest of your life. This is the only way you’ll lose your kilos, keep them off and stay slim, healthy, and fit. Stop being impatient: It makes no sense losing weight for just three weeks or months. Only by implementing plans for the rest of your life will you find a radical cure for the diet yo-yo effect.

Why you should get rid of the kilos?

Being overweight reduces your life expectancy. With every extra kilo, your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke or diabetes mellitus Type 2 increases. Not to mention the excessive sweating, shortness of breath, decreased mobility and coordination and ever-increasing joint complaints caused by your extra body weight.

Bad eating habits are developed over years, not days. Now is the time to replace them with health-promoting and slimming habits.

I know, nobody really wants to hear this, but to sustainably change your eating habits, it’s necessary to: 

  1. Take small steps, have time and patience accompanied by ...

  2. ... a good selection of everyday food alternatives that are more beneficial to your health and sustainable nutritional tips and recipes.

This not only reduces your body weight but also reduces your risk of relapse. Everything else only makes losing weight more difficult and adds back kilos more quickly than you’d like.

To be honest, eating habits are tough to change. We’re actually designed to eat when food is readily available. After all, a few centuries ago, you never knew when something nutritious would be available again. So weight gain is biologically desirable.

Start eating the loser's way.

Today we can buy food or sweet snacks almost everywhere. So the temptation to overeat is enormous. For evolutionary reasons, your body takes advantage of this overabundance and puts on the kilos faster. And, of course, it’s more laborious to reduce your body weight now than millennia ago – there’s no lean season in our immediate future.

All the more reason to understand how to find a healthy way to lose a few kilos. There’s so much uncertainty: Should I do without fat or is that bad for my heart? If I leave out carbohydrates, can I ever eat them again without gaining weight back? How can I protect myself from the yo-yo effect?

To support you, our editorial office has compiled a few useful tips. Rather than overwhelm you with 20 or 30 suggestions, because you can't follow them all at once anyway, we’ve put together some fundamental measures that should get you off to a flying start:

Tip 1

Replace high-energy foods with lower-calorie foods. This raises awareness of your level of energy consumption each day. Start by taking a closer look at your food’s nutritional information. Which are particularly high in calories and which contribute to increased kilos because you habitually consume them more often? 

You can:

  1. Swap 1 glass of fruit juice for one glass of fruit spritzer
  2. Try fat-reduced salad mayonnaise
  3. Eat lean turkey escalope instead of pork chops
  4. Bake chips in the oven rather than using the deep fryer
  5. Eat a handful of nuts rather than a bar of chocolate.

Tip 2

It may be easier to reduce unhealthy foods than to leave them out altogether. After all, our eating habits became routine over the years because they gave us a sense of security. You don't just want to forget about your favourite food. But perhaps a little less would be okay?

We often perceive huge changes as restricting our quality of life and unconsciously take a negative attitude towards new recommendations. Therefore, make sure you take small steps to healthier eating and lifestyle. Keep this in mind: If you don't change anything, you won't lose weight in the end.

For example:

  1. Reduce energy-rich meats like salami, bratwurst and chorizo to once a week.
  2. Only eat sweets or dessert on a particular day of the week. The anticipation makes it even better!
  3. Halve the sugar in your tea, coffee or sweetened drinks but don't leave it out altogether. 

Tip 3

Banning food doesn’t make any sense at all because then you focus precisely on the food that you want to avoid. Prohibition leads to desire, and you might even increase the intake of your favourite foods. So, start slowly: reduce your large pack of chips to a snack-sized version or cut down the cream and portion size of your favourite cake. No prohibitions. Instead, take small steps – but just get going! This week one chip packet less and cake without cream. Next week, the cake might even turn into a fruit salad, or you might nibble on some finely chopped vegetables. It’s also helpful to write down and rethink your food and drinks throughout the day.

Tip 4

You'll need patience! Honestly! I can't say that often enough. It takes a lot of time and stamina to lose weight permanently and do something good for your health. Impatient people try radical options and then gain weight again. Trying to lose 3 kilos a week fast is less likely to be successful than a steady rate of half a kilo per week.

In the beginning, you won’t see a change, except perhaps for slightly reduced body weight. Remember, those first few kilos won’t make you more mobile, fitter or relieve your joints. There is a little more to it than that, so don’t get frustrated. Small steps are crucial to getting your body accustomed to the changes so you don’t feel you’re restricting your life. The shame of relapse only causes a vicious circle of weight loss and weight gain.

Tip 5

Reward yourself for success – but not with food! How about a trendy outfit in your new size instead? Or tickets to a play you've always wanted to see? Every treat is allowed, except food. Your favourite ice cream would distract you for a moment from your stress or frustration and your desire for consolation or reward. But then you’ll fall into the nutritional trap of mental hunger, which in most cases leads to obesity, as it’s not your body that needs the food. And your brain has no stop mechanism when it comes to food.

Think about why you eat. When you find the triggers for overeating, you’ll also realise that it’s better not to eat snacks or take a second helping.

Also, you can develop appropriate counter-strategies:

  1. New hobbies, relaxation and simply switching off, sports or going for a walk, making contact with friends or distraction in every respect
  2. A cheat day a week, where you can eat what you like, is more likely to help you lose weight more effectively. The anticipation is incredibly motivating, and six days of reduced energy intake stimulates your metabolism so you can resist temptations more easily.

Above all, proceed slowly! This isn’t a quick radical cure. It’s about but sustainable, nutritional ideas that help you lose weight. Give yourself and your body the chance to get used to the change, and there'll be no more yo-yo effect.

Let the TV help you stay slim. 

Would you like to lose weight and exercise more, if it meant you would not miss your favourite TV show? The thing is, you don't have to. You can do both at the same time at home in your living room! Take a look at the Fitness category in our shop for some suggestions for a living room workout you can do right now.

Slowly losing weight might not be exactly motivating but please go the distance anyway. It's worth it for your health and your wellbeing!

Editorial office for nutrition: ck