Get started and staying on the right track
- Set realistic, achievable goals: success will boost your confidence and spur you on.
- Choose two or three small changes to your day-to-day eating to begin with. Small changes add up to bring big effects!
- Keeping a food diary helps you stay in control of your eating by making you aware of your habits. It will also help you deal with problems like comfort eating and things that trigger over-eating.
- And remember: you’re much more likely to stick to an eating and activity plan that fits your lifestyle.
Develop good routines
- Consider this: you have 21 meals a week to eat well. That’s seven breakfasts, seven lunches, and seven dinners.
- Eat well on 18-19 of these meals, then you’re free to eat whatever you like and indulge on the other two to three occasions. So you can enjoy special occasions or eat out without worrying about what you eat!
- Eat regular, balanced meals. Try to have meals and snacks at planned stimes during the day.
- Aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day – have some at every meal.
- Try to reduce your portion sizes, even when eating out.
- Eat slowly – chew your food around 20 times. Concentrate on what you are eating and really taste it.
- It takes time for your brain to know your stomach is full so wait at least 5 -10 minutes before deciding if you need more.
Some facts about losing weight
- Losing just 5-10% of your weight over a three to six month period has massive health benefits.
- A weight loss of between 0.5-1kg a week is a safe and achievable target.
- It is also not just about losing weight but changing your shape and eating for optimum health. Overly restricted diets may take off the weight initially but they will bite back as they can impact on your bone density, muscle levels, general health, energy and immune system function.
- Losing inches from your waist really helps to lower the risk of conditions like post menopausal breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, strokes, and high blood pressure.
- Understanding the kilojoule value of foods and drinks is just as important than knowing the amounts of sugar and fat. This is because food manufacturers use ticks such as low fat, low sugar, paleo to present food as being healthy or wholesome. However often these foods are as or more calorie dense as they will substitute other ingredients that may or may not be helpful to your efforts to get into shape or lower health risks. I was in a health food shop last week and saw lamington flavoured paleo bars and thought really, isn’t this missing the point.
- Did you know nuts have more kilojoules (calories) per 100g than chocolate? Nuts are still a healthy choice, just don’t eat too many at onces.
- Eating carbohydrates like bread, pasta or potatoes isn’t what makes you gain weight. Eating more food than your body needs will though and so aim for small serves of wholegrain, lower GI type options.
- Did you know that alcohol has 7 kilojoules or 29 kilojoules per gram. In addition to cancer risks associated with alcohol, reducing or avoiding alcoholic drinks can go a long way to helping you reduce your weight.
Staying on track
The occasional lapse is normal. Remind yourself of the progress you’ve made and don’t lose sight of your goals.
Track your progress:
- Weigh yourself once or twice a week
- Measure your waist once a week
- Review your food diary
- Check the goals you’ve achieved at the end of each week
There is no quick fix. People who successfully change their diets, to lose weight or to control ailments, stay realistic and learn how to make their new eating and activity habits an enjoyable way of life.