Celebrities have an entourage of chefs and trainers to help them stay thin.  Don’t be duped if you want to slim down, there is only one way to go about it…..

It often angers me to see how magazines and TV programmes push the ideal of a size zero. It puts enormous pressure on women to compete with their celebrity idols in the figure stakes. But while the celebrity can call upon a full-time chef, trainer and nutritionist to dig her out of a hole if she gains weight, the ordinary woman is left to her own devices.

These young women seek advice from fitness videos; only to later find out the body transformation was not achieved through honest endeavour but with the help of cosmetic surgery.  So then they turn towards the latest fad-diet. If you are unsure as to whether you should 80 on a lose-weight-quick -diet, just read the first three letters of the word – now, do you really want to do it?

Once an adult passes the physical prime of his or her teens and early 20’s, it is common to lose over five pounds of lean tissue – mainly muscle – every decade, through disuse. On top of this, most people also gain about a pound of weight a year.

A typical response to this net weight gain is to follow a calorie-restricted diet.  Unfortunately, dieting- without exercise does not have a very high success record. Firstly, only half of those dieting ever complete the programme.  Secondly, of those who do lose weight, more than 90pc regain it within one year plus interest.  Thirdly, about 25pc of the weight loss during low-calorie dieting is actually muscle tissue, which is already in short supply among older adults.  This progressive muscle loss is responsible for the reduction in your metabolic rate, the rate that your body burns calories.

Debra Waterhouse, in her book, Outsmarting the Female Fat Cell, explains that each time a woman goes on a diet she gains more fat storing cells (lypogenic) and Ioses her fat-burning cell (lypolytic).  She will never get rid of these fat-storing cells – she can only attempt to shrink the site of them.

So every consecutive diet you venture on, you are gaining more and more fat cells and shrinking the site of your fat-burning engine.  Crash dieting leaves women in the ‘skinny fat’ category where they have a layer of loose flab on the body and no tone. A prime example is Victoria Beckham, seen by many as a dieting icon.

This happens to everyone who is either inactive, diets, or both. It also happens to those who train for long periods, such as marathon runners, who burn muscle at the expense of fat when they run long distances.

The body prefers to use muscle as energy and store the fat. I have tested many distance runners whose body fat is quite high in spite of their great efforts in achieving the feat of running 26 miles.

The solution to managing and measuring your progress is not the weighting scales, nor a BMI chart, which measures height versus weight. Avoid weighing scales with body-fat readings also. With these, you could eat a pizza before measurement and the results might still make it seem like you had got leaner, which would hardly be the case!

The real solution is to have a skilled trainer measure your body fat using calibrated calipers in conjunction with your scales.  Specific points on the body, measured bi-monthly will ensure that the weight loss is fat and not muscle.

To lose weight healthily and effectively, start an exercise programme that challenges you and begin making food choices that yield long-term changes. Start with small targets and remember the journey of a million miles begins with a single step.

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