What can I do to lose weight?

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR HEALTH - Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz. Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered.

The ques­tion I re­ally want to ask is why can’t I lose weight? I know you prob­a­bly need way more in­for­ma­tion from me to an­swer that thor­oughly but thanks for any in­sights. Jade

Hi Jade. Firstly, all long-term sus­tained weight loss that I have ever wit­nessed has come from kind­ness (to one­self), not de­pri­va­tion.

So many peo­ple find them­selves los­ing and then re­gain­ing the same 10kg ev­ery year. Or some­times the num­ber just keeps in­creas­ing. In the rush of the Western world we are see­ing our waist­lines con­tinue to ex­pand. But for many the old adage en­ergy in ver­sus en­ergy out isn’t work­ing. Some other key fac­tors be­hind long-term suc­cess­ful weight loss in­clude:


Un­for­tu­nately with the pop­u­lar­ity of the low-fat era many poor food habits were set up – in­clud­ing an in­creased re­liance on pro­cessed foods. We are all in­di­vid­ual and what works for you might not work for some­one else – how­ever, one thing we can all ben­e­fit from is eat­ing more whole, real food.

Plenty of fresh veg­eta­bles, pro­tein, whole food fats and some a small amount of fresh fruit ben­e­fit most peo­ple. Re­ally ex­plore how you can in­cor­po­rate more veg­eta­bles into how you eat each day. Try juices, smooth­ies, soups, stir-fries, stews and casseroles.


I think the judg­ment we pass on our­selves when we de­vi­ate from a set diet/nu­tri­tion or wellness plan is of­ten more harm­ful than the ac­tion it­self. Of­ten this can trig­ger a down­wards spi­ral and a feel­ing of ‘‘well I’ve blown it now, I may as well fin­ish the whole packet’’ which trig­gers feel­ings of guilt, self-loathing etc.

In­stead of get­ting up the next morn­ing and treat­ing it as a new day you are more likely to skip the gym/your morn­ing walk, less likely to choose foods that nour­ish your body and more likely to ex­pe­ri­ence feel­ings of help­less­ness.

Not ex­actly the headspace with which you are go­ing to make choices to sup­port your health and wellness goals.

In­stead of judg­ing your­self if you eat in a way that doesn’t serve your health, bring cu­rios­ity. Ask your­self ‘‘what led me to make that choice?’’ and get to the heart of what the un­re­source­ful eat­ing is re­ally all about.

I’ve been read­ing a lot about spelt flour, what ex­actly is it and is it good for you? Thanks, Chris.

Hi Chris. Spelt is an an­cient whole grain grown in many parts of the world.

It de­clined in pop­u­lar­ity dur­ing the 19th cen­tury, but is now be­com­ing a pop­u­lar op­tion due to its lower gluten con­tent.

Mod­ern wheat has a sig­nif­i­cantly higher gluten con­tent than an­cient wheat so spelt is be­ing used as an al­ter­na­tive to lower the gluten con­tent (par­tic­u­larly for those who are gluten in­tol­er­ant) – it’s not suit­able for those with coeliac dis­ease.

Spelt flour can be used in place of nor­mal wheat flour in recipes in the same quan­ti­ties.

Waist­lines are con­tin­u­ing to ex­pand in the Western world so look at other fac­tors like eat­ing too much pro­cessed foods in­stead of veg­eta­bles.

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