Nichola Ludlam-Raine, Specialist Dietitian at Ramsay Health Care | 1/12/2021

Top 10 Tips for Weight Loss

When starting on your weight loss journey, it can feel overwhelming knowing where to start, which approach to choose, and determining ‘how’ you’re going to reach your goal. 

If you search ‘how to lose weight’ on Google, you’ll be bombarded with adverts or articles claiming the best plans, products and foods to include in your diet to support weight loss. Remember though, there is no magic bullet when it comes to losing weight and despite some of the methods you may have tried in the past - it shouldn’t make you feel miserable either! 

Losing weight doesn’t have to feel restrictive, so instead of listing everything you feel you need to remove from your diet, think about what you can ADD into your diet and lifestyle instead!

Below are some top tips for a healthy and sustainable weight loss journey:

1. DON'T CALL IT A 'DIET'

If you want to make sustainable changes to improve your health, it’s important to think about the long-term. Although the word ‘diet’ simply means the food that we eat - it carries negative connotations that we’re restricting ourselves of the food we love (which it should not!). If someone notices you may be eating slightly differently and queries this - explain you’re just going through a bit of a lifestyle change, not a ‘diet’.⁣ 

2.BE REALISTIC

If you find setting targets is motivating for you - start small. Reducing your body weight by just 5% can make a significant impact on your health by helping to manage your blood glucose levels, cholesterol and blood pressure too. Set yourself small milestones to help keep you motivated.

3. DON'T CUT OUT ALL OF THE FOODS YOU LOVE!

We’re only human - the more we restrict something, the more we crave it! Having said that, it can be beneficial to keep mindful of the frequency and portions of foods we consume that are high in sugar, fats and calories such as chocolate, biscuits, crisps and other sweet treats. 

4. EAT MINDFULLY

Don’t under-estimate the importance of how/where you eat. Try to eat away from your desk if working and sit down at a table, eating slowly without distractions - ideally not on the go. This helps you keep mindful of your hunger/fullness cues.

5. BALANCE YOUR PLATE 

We don’t have to calorie count to lose weight, however to support a reduction in energy intake, keeping mindful of portions on your plate can be useful. Aim for 2 handfuls of vegetables/salad (to fill ½ the plate), 1 palm sized portion of protein to fill ¼ of the plate (e.g. 1 fish fillet, chicken breast or 3-4 tbsp of beans/lentils) and 1 clenched fist sized portion of carbohydrates such as a small-medium potato or 2-4 tbsp of rice to fill ¼ of the plate. Aim for 1 thumb-sized portion of healthy fats if you like such as a tsp of nut butter or olive oil to drizzle.

6. KEEP HYDRATED

Aim for at least 2L of fluids throughout the day to keep well hydrated and to support cognitive function and regular bowel movements. Drinking regularly between meals can also help to keep you feeling full. Keep caffeinated drinks <4-5 cups a day and swap sugar for sweetener if you can.

7. BOOST YOUR PROTIEN

Protein is the most satiating macronutrient as it’s digested more slowly, helping to keep you fuller for longer. Aim to include a source of protein in each meal such as yogurt, eggs, meat, fish, quorn, nuts, beans, lentils and as part of a healthy snack.

8. INCLUDE HIGHER FIBRE CARBOHYDRATES

Aim for higher fibre carbohydrates such as fruit and vegetables, wholegrain rice, wholemeal/seeded bread, sweet potatoes and wholewheat pasta the majority of the time. Similar to protein, fibre is digested more slowly and helps to keep us satiated after eating, it’s also key for a healthy digestive system.

9. MOVE FOR ENJOYMENT

Include exercise and movement that you enjoy and doesn’t feel like a chore - this can be walking, cycling, dancing and everything in between! We should be aiming for 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week (e.g. 5 x 30 minutes) in addition to 2 resistance exercise sessions such as yoga/pilates or weight training. If you’re not doing this currently, start by scheduling activities into your week and build up to this gradually.

10. BE KIND TO YOURSELF

Don’t feel disheartened if you have an ‘off’ day - you haven’t ruined your progress. If you struggle with eating for your emotions, try to ensure you find non-food related ways to address feelings of stress, sadness and anxiety if this triggers you - such as taking a short walk, calling a friend, taking a bubble bath or anything else that relaxes you.

Weight loss isn’t easy, but consistency is key. It can take time to build new habits but these will bring about huge change in the long-run!

By Nichola Ludlam-Raine, Specialist Dietitian at Ramsay Health Care

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