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Back to basics.... We're talking 'diet' in the broadest sense

As it's the first chiropractic blog of the year I wish you health, wealth and happiness for 2013.
It's my moment for a little bit of chiropractic chatter about weight loss resolutions and changing your diet.

Building blocks to optimal health - food

My chiropractic philosophy often takes me back to basics with my patients. The building blocks of nutrition, sleep and exercise are often discussed because they have such a fundamental effect on health and well being. Chiropractic is not just about sorting out the aches and pains, it involves detective work about things that might be causing the problem in first place. The fact that the new year seems to have kicked off with some gloomy news from the Department of Health regarding obesity is of great relevance to me and my patients. We know that obesity is likely to increase type 2 diabetes, some cancers, heart and liver disease. Direct cost to the NHS - estimated at £5.1b per year, but how about the way is effects your musculoskeletal system?

Weight gain and joint pain

The most obvious link between obesity/weight gain and chiropractic is that a younger group of patients are requiring joint replacement surgery because of the additional wear and tear they place on their bodies, the remedy for their aches and pains has gone beyond the likes of chiropractic. Osteoarthritis is caused when the cartilage in the joints wears thin, or erodes entirely. This results in the extremely painful scenario of bone rubbing on bone - ouch. One American website estimates that for every 15 extra pounds you carry, your knees feel 45 pounds of weight. To be considered obese, your BMI is 30 or higher. Consider this – if you are 50 pounds overweight, your knees feel about 150 pounds of extra weight.

Don't be taken in by media representation....

I'm not suggesting that we succumb to media pressure to become Hollywood skinny-minnies and I have a lot of support for Jo Swinson,the Equalities Minister and Business Minister, who says that women should be more supportive of each other regarding body image and avoid the 'miracle diets' that we are awash with at this time of year. However, it would appear that the population is popping out of its trousers faster than escaping blueberry from a muffin!

Weight loss solutions?

I have seen many chiropractic patients try all manner of diets in the last decade or so - Atkins, Paleo, Blood type, Updaydownday, The Master Cleanse, Dukan, the Jockeys' diet, 5:2 ....the list goes on. Ultimately, in my humble opinion, nutrition is simple (nutritionists may disagree and there are those with special requirements) you need to assess your relationship with food; you knew it would all be in the head didn't you? This is why diets which encourage you to lose no more than 2lbs/week are much more sustainable because they prompt you to change your habits and your association with food as a LONG TERM solution. Anecdotally, Slimming World has been the most successful that I have seen and patients who adopt this method of eating seem to maintain their weight loss much better than any of the quick fix diets. Let's be honest you can't 'go on a diet' and then return to how you consumed before without gaining weight again - it just doesn't make sense. If you do wish to shed some pounds try to pick a diet that most closely resembles how you like to eat. It's no good picking a diet that excludes fruit if you love it, or a carb free diet if you crave rice, pasta, spuds etc....and as an aside Slimming World allows you to eat all these food groups in unlimited quantities...

The last word?

It may not be the right time for you to try a new dieting regime, e.g. if you are stressed, unwell, trying to quit smoking etc, you will not be giving yourself the best chance at success if you start when too much else is going on in your life. Changing your diet culture will require time and inclination, so embark upon a new regime when you are ready.
If all else fails then I feel that I should leave the last words to Miss Piggy 'never eat more than you can lift' ......