At this time of year I am asked by most clients for advice on losing weight. There is no quick fix and the people who lose weight and keep it off are the ones who change their eating habits for good.
It’s no good following a particular diet for a few months then going back to your old ways again, you will only end up back on that diet next January! Instead you need to take the time to learn, plan and think about healthy eating. Those clients that read labels, research healthy eating alternatives and plan their weekly meals are the ones who have the most success with weight loss.
I try to get my clients to change their eating habits so once the weight loss is achieved they can maintain it and reap other benefits such as better skin, hair, nails, more energy and live longer!
To help you get started here are some tips:
· Do not SKIP MEALS - Eat regularly e.g. 3 meals a day with a couple of healthy snacks in between
· Opt for wholemeal/wholegrain where possible e.g. rice, pasta, bread
· Eat plenty of different fruit and vegetables – 5 portions per day
· Include dairy in your diet but opt for low fat versions
· Eat fish 2-3 times per week
· Have sensible meal sizes
· Opt for low fat/light versions of salad cream , butter, margarine, mayonnaise or dressing and use sparingly
· Stock up on healthy foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat, fish, wholegrain bread along with low fat dairy.
· Avoid processed foods e.g. pre packed sandwiches, ready meals. Where possible make your own following low fat recipes.Try and learn a new low fat recipe each week
· Use spices and dried herbs in your cooking, this will make your meals tastier
· Aim to eat plenty of fibre rich foods
· Eat low GI foods throughout the day e.g. brown rice, bread and potato. These foods fill you up and stop you snacking.
· High fat/sugar foods such as fried food, biscuits, cakes and chocolate should be seen as a treat and eaten in moderation.
· Replace snacks such as chocolate and biscuits with yogurt, chopped vegetables, rice cakes, fruit or handful of nuts.
· Start the day with a high carbohydrate breakfast such as wholegrain or oat based cereal with skimmed milk and slice of wholegrain bread.
· When cooking grill, steam or stir fry food, this will help retain nutritive value and avoids adding fat. Do not fry.
· Opt for lean meat and trim fat where present. Look for lower fat alternatives when choosing meat e.g. swap bacon to turkey rashers.
· Look at labels and start to keep totals of your calories/carbohydrate/fat/protein. Research online how much you should have.
· If eating out: Avoid fried food and creamy sauces, choose lean meat or fish options, have a large side salad with meal, opt for boiled/baked potato over chips and where possible plan in advance what you are going to have to avoid making the decision when you are hungry.
· Have diet versions of fizzy drinks or diluted fruit juice, these have less sugar and calories e.g. reduced sugar squash.
· Drink plenty of water
· If you drink alcohol this should be limited and an occasional treat when trying to lose weight
· Exercise – even if this is just a brisk walk 3 times a week