When dieting and exercising alone are not enough

Words by Cynthia Bou Khalil, Nutritional Consultant, Allurion

The prevalence of obesity is not a new phenomenon but still continues to remain a concern across the world, and the population living in the UAE is no exception to this problem. In 2019, the World Health Survey revealed that 37.2% of Emiratis were obese, with the highest percentage of overweight respondents living in Dubai (52.6%) and the highest percentage of obesity observed in Sharjah (47.1%). In another 2019 survey conducted, it was also seen that 48% of UAE residents are on a mission to lose weight. The survey further indicated that 26% plan to only use exercise to lose weight, while 20% will try to hit their target by changing their diet. However, what happens when diet and exercise are not enough to get you to your desired goals?

Losing weight can be challenging, and being such a widely discussed topic, there are several opinions on what people think might be the best way to go about it. As a nutritionist who has been in the field for a long time, I can guarantee you that one size does not fit all when it comes to weight loss. Even the most basic factors, such as age, sex, body type, underlying medical issues, physical activity, genetics, past experiences with dieting or exercise, and even food preferences, can influence a person’s ability to lose weight and maintain it long-term. With this in mind, here are some simple steps to achieving weight loss successfully and safely.

  1. Take a close look at your lifestyle – Before you embark on a weight loss program, take a step back, evaluate your current lifestyle and identify behaviours that might have contributed to weight gain in the first place. One way to do this is to keep a diary to log the food you consume and how much physical activity you undertake in a day. This way, you can better understand what habits need to be changed and can think of more concrete ways to make those changes work toward losing weight.
  2. Setting realistic goals – Determine how much weight you need to lose to remain healthy and set short-term goals along the way. It’s also important that your goals are realistic and achievable. With lifestyle changes, you should expect gradual, steady weight loss, but not immediate results.
  3. Mindful eating – This is where you pay attention to what, how and when you consume food. This in turn ensures that you enjoy the food you eat and feel satisfied with fewer portions, which will help with maintaining a healthy weight.
  4. Combine good healthcare and science – While most weight-loss diets are designed to help one lose weight, their efficiency can be affected by a variety of factors, such as not regularly following the set meal plans. Other times, diets prove to be too restrictive and the body is not provided with ample nutrients for proper functionality. Even those who eat healthy, balanced meals with an active lifestyle still suffer from weight issues. This is why I recommend a multilayered approach when advising my patients. Successful weight loss programs should always combine researched solutions with proper guidance from healthcare professionals, such as the Allurion Program. The Allurion Program doesn’t focus solely on weight loss but gives patients the building blocks to rehaul their lifestyles, achieve their desired results, and set them up for long-term success

It is so important to understand that weight loss does not mean one needs to shed more kilos as quickly as possible, but instead choose options that help you lose weight safely whilst building habits that will bring about a positive change in your overall lifestyle. 

Allurion’s Program is the world’s first and only weight loss device that requires no surgery, endoscopy, or anaesthesia. It is a swallowable pill that expands in the stomach to around the size of a grapefruit and allows patients to lose an average of 10 to 15% after approximately 16 weeks. Allurion’s Program combines its high-tech balloon solution with a full package of support to help its patients develop good lifestyle habits that can remain with them long after their balloon has gone. Patients benefit from six months of dietary support from a nutritionist to ensure lasting lifestyle changes alongside an Allurion body composition scale, health tracker watch and mobile app.

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