A Dietitians' Top Tips for Losing Weight (Part 1 of 3)
Losing weight is not as simple as cutting down the calories and increasing physical activity... it is really challenging for most people, and by no means simple.
If you are overweight; by losing as little as 5% of weight and achieving a healthy BMI of 20-25kg/m2 can reap many many health rewards.
Below are just 10 of many of my top tips that do work!
1. Eat at regular meal times everyday and avoid skipping meals. This will allow your body to feel hungry at the right time so that you are less likely to overeat, less likely to snack on high calorie foods and it will sustain your energy levels.
2. Keep only healthy snacks in the house and in your bag land eave the unhealthy snacks in the
supermarket because if they are not at home, you won’t eat them! Allow special treats once a week for when you take a trip out, for example have an ice cream at the seaside, or a cookie with your cup of tea at the cafe. Healthy low calorie snacks ideas are available on the BDA food fact website:
3. Don’t go shopping for food when you are hungry… for obvious reasons.
4. Keep hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of fluid. Your body senses can easily become confused with thirst and hunger therefore ensure you are well hydrated and consume around 6-8 glasses of fluid per day or 2000ml. You may need additional fluid if the weather is hot in the summer months. Choose water as this is the healthiest option, or low calorie drinks such as diluted cordial or diluted fruit juice. It is always a good idea to keep a bottle of water in your bag with you and have water available for you at work. Tea and coffee also count towards fluid intake however try to limit caffeine intake as this can cause sleeping difficulties and irritability in high amounts.
5. Have a glass of water with every meal this will hydrate you and help fill you up (also for the same reason as number point number 5).
6. Use a smaller plates and bowls for meals. This will allow you to fill up your plate with food without overeating. It also tricks your mind into believing you ate more than you really consumed. Avoid using large sophisticated bowls and plates or large food containers and use the basic, smaller ones instead.
7. Eat a portion of fruit or veg half an hour before a meal (an apple is always a favourite of mine). This will fill your stomach with fibre and with enough enough time to signal this information to your brain. You are less likely to overeat and will consume less calories from the meal. One portion of fruit and vegetables is around one handful such as one apple, 2 satsumas, 10 grapes, 7 cherry tomatoes. This will fill your stomach with fibre and with enough enough time to signal this information to your brain. You are less likely to overeat and will consume less calories from the meal.
Here is a small guide on fruit and vegetable portion sizes: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/5-a-day-portion-sizes/
8. Fill up you meal with fibre. Fill up half of you plate with vegetables/ salad or bulk out your meals by adding extra vegetables, beans, pulses to foods like curry, casseroles, stir fries. Keep the skins on fruits, vegetables and potatoes as this contains good quantity of fibre (for example apples, pears, plums, nectaries, peaches, tomatoes, cucumber, aubergine, courgette/ zucchini)
9. Be mindful of calories in alcoholic drinks. If you drink alcohol, opt for lower calorie options.
Here is a list of approximate calories per drink:
1 pint cider: 220kcals
1 pint beer: 200kcals
1 x 330ml bottle of beer: 140kcals
250ml large glass wine: 225kcals
175ml medium glass wine: 160kcals
275ml alcopop: 170kcals
25ml spirit alone or mixed with zero calorie mixer e.g. gin and low calorie tonic: 60-80ckals
Practical tips: you could make a shandy by adding low calorie lemonade or make a white wine spritzer by adding low calorie soda water to make the drink last longer, or opt for a single spirit with a low calorie mixer. Try to avoid sugary mixers like, cola, lemonade and energy drinks as these add additional empty calories to your drink.
10. Do physical activity to a moderate level (fat burning level). Moderate level activity is at a level where your breathing rate has increased but you are still able to have a conversation. Choose something that you enjoy: walk or power walking, jog, swim, play sports, join a group exercise class, frisbee, hula hoop, roller blade, bicycle, trampolining, deep cleaning the house to music are just a few ideas. If you current activity level is low try to gradually increase the amount of time spent being active without over-doing it. Aiming for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week is recommended to keep, fit, healthy and to improve your chances for losing weight, but don't aim for this straight away if you are not very active, try to work towards it.
Tips: try to increase the amount of activity you are doing in the day overall. For example, take the stairs instead of the lift, use the bathroom at work which is forest away from your desk, get off the bus one stop earlier and walk. You can also factor in activity into your usual routine without costing any or very little extra time, such as walking or bicycling to work. Teaming up with a buddy can really help if you are lacking some motivation, arrange to meet up on certain days to run or jog together for example or simply go solo with your favourite music playlist or podcast.