The truth – without the taboos about diets

The point of view of the nutritionist doctor

Detecting excess weight

Being obese and overweight stem from having excess fat in the body and can cause health problems: it has to be considered as an illness that is likely to harm our physical, psychological and social wellbeing.

Diagnosis is based on a weight/height ratio, better known as BMI.
The waist measurement is also important (android or gynoid obesity) and has an effect on the prognosis.

Abdominal obesity (waist measurement > 80 cm for women and > 94 cm for men) is a significant risk factor in the occurrence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

We then need to evaluate the consequences:

  • to look for associated risk factors and pathologies (hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidaemia, rheumatic and orthopaedic disorders, sleep apnoea, etc.)
  • to look for a possible cause (endocrinal, taking medication).
  • to identify any possible associated micro-nutritional deficiencies.

Betting on the long term

One of the major tasks of the nutritionist doctor is to guide people who want to slim, or who have to lose weight for medical reasons.
Patients seeking to lose weight often have two objectives that are not always compatible: to lose weight quickly and to keep the extra kilos off permanently.
Consequently, accepting a patient into a weight-loss programme has to be personalised. It will revolve around dietary advice and encouraging the patient to take up a suitable form of exercise.

Far too many people try and lose weight on their own, without any form of control – and often by trying the latest trendy diet from a magazine.
“Lose weight effortlessly” and “the easy diet that really works!” may be eye-catching commercial slogans, but all too often they are end up in disappointment.
Of course, all of these diets make you lose weight while you are on them. But they never address lifestyle and your usual eating habits, which are responsible for the excess weight in the first place.
Muscle wasting, hunger, fatigue, discouragement, cardiovascular risks, putting weight back on in spectacular fashion, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and depression are always part of these miracle diets. Sooner or later, patients will renounce any form of acceptance for their excess weight.

But changing your eating habits is difficult at best, and often impossible.

This means that a diet has to take account of a person’s eating habits and call on a special range of foods that meet the patient’s needs and budget. Performing a laparoscopy to place a gastric band may sometimes be required to ensure compliance with nutritional programme.
A diet also varies depending on where the excess weight is located and the hormonal balance in women, especially after the menopause.

The word “diet” needs to be banned. At the outset, a strict eating regime is required to start the ball rolling and lose the first excess kilos.
Snacking and the need for something sweet or savoury need not be forbidden as such, but better controlled by eating a range of suitable foods.
This enables certain occasional binges to be controlled without having an effect on the amount of weight lost.

In brief

Managing excess weight and obesity requires a three-pronged approach:

  • being aware of the danger of being overweight
  • abiding by a personalised nutritional programme
  • relying on a range of suitable foods

Dr. Moens Danielle
Responsible for “Nutrition”
and “Cosmetic Medicine”

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