“Losing weight is a personal journey and is done best without comparing yourself to others”
Silvia Fonda, Nutritionist
Before starting your weight loss journey, she recommends ensuring that you’re not in a stressful place (such as moving house or starting a new job) as this can distract you from committing to your goals.
Below are 12 of her weight loss tips. Start by picking 2 or 3 of her tips and focusing on them for the first week. Then slowly, you can incorporate more over time. Aim to include all of the following within a couple of months.
On average we should be drinking about 8 large glasses of water a day (this amount will be higher if you weigh more). Water is important for many functions in our body - it even helps with weight loss.
If you feel hungry, reach for some water rather than food. Mild dehydration can be mistaken for hunger by the brain. Furthermore, choosing water over other drinks (such as juices, fizzy drinks, or sugary teas and coffee) helps to decrease your calorie intake, resulting in further fat loss.
An increase in water may also help the process of fat burning, according to a.
It is important to eat slightly less than your daily calorie requirement for weight loss to occur. Instead of counting calories, you can try controlling your portion sizes (decreasing them so that you hit your calorie goal).
Alcoholic drinks don’t just add calories - they also have a huge impact on your gut health. Your stomach is home to a diverse and balanced array of good and bad bacteria. Drinking alcohol can disrupt this balance, resulting in acid reflux, diarrhoea, bloating, and other problems.
A healthy gut is beneficial for weight loss too, so drinking more may actually slow down your progress. Additionally, any alcohol you consume is used as a primary energy source, meaning that everything else you eat will be stored in your body as fat.
Remove any unhealthy foods from your home before you start your weight loss journey. Start planning your meals and make a shopping list before you go food shopping.
Once you have your ingredients, prepare meals in advance either by batch cooking or meal prepping. This will help to eliminate the temptation to cook something unhealthy when you’re already hungry. It will also prevent you from reaching for caloric snacks or fast food.
Try to encourage the people you live with to support your journey so that they don’t bring unhealthy foods/snacks into your home. If working from home, include some daytime activities to discourage frequent trips to the fridge.
If you live on your own, avoid eating in front of the TV and practice eating mindfully. This means being aware of what you eat and focusing on the experience of food. Mindful eatingto positively contribute to weight loss by improving eating behaviour and habits.
There is evidence that chewing your food for longer can result in a lower calorie intake and weight loss. By focusing on your meal and chewing for longer to enjoy its flavour, you will experience fewer cravings. You will also be more aware of when you have reached a sense of fullness.
Mindful eating can also help you control and overcome emotional eating (when you eat foods to deal with emotions rather than because you’re hungry).
You may be tempted to cut down your calories when losing weight. However, it is important to continue eating enough protein to avoid losing muscle mass. In fact, getting enough protein in your diet has many benefits linked to weight loss.
“On average, you should eat 1g of protein per kilo of body weight. Make sure to include protein at every meal, especially breakfast.”
Eating a savoury breakfast that’s high in protein has been shown to positively affect your blood glucose levels later in the day by avoiding spikes. Keeping a steady blood sugar is key to aiding in weight loss as the body can easily lose excess fat if the right hormones are sending messages to the brain to burn fat.
On the contrary, when we eat sugary foods or starches and experience a glucose spike (when the blood glucose level rises quickly), this has a knock-on effect on other hormones which communicate to the brain to stay in fat storage mode.
Including protein at breakfast (such as eggs, fish, seeds, and occasionally lean bacon) can help you feel fuller for longer and will give you more sustainable energy until lunchtime.
Recent research has shown that when you eat vegetables first, your blood glucose levels remain steadier. Fibre found in veggies helps to slow down the absorption of carbs (which the body breaks down into sugar).
When you avoid glucose spikes, your body uses fat stores as energy, which is good for weight loss. Aim to eat a variety of vegetables, and ensure that they take up ⅓ of your balanced plate.
Low GI (glycaemic index) carbohydrates convert more slowly into sugar compared with high GI carbohydrates. This means that they help you maintain steadier blood sugar when eaten as part of a balanced diet.
Examples of low GI carbs include:
Low GI carbs are usually a good source of fibre too. When building healthier eating habits, try to substitute white carbohydrates with low GI sources. For example, swap your white loaf from the supermarket for brown bread instead.
15 minutes of walking after meals to positively affect blood glucose levels. This is because it slows down the conversion of food you’ve eaten into sugar.
By avoiding steep glucose spikes, you will keep hormones like insulin more balanced. This is beneficial because weight loss cannot occur when insulin levels are very high.
A brisk walk after meals will also count towards the exercise accelerates weight loss by increasing the number of calories you burn.target of 150 minutes of exercise per week. Remember,
If you have managed to follow some of the above tips, you may not feel like having a mid-morning snack. However, an afternoon snack might help to stabilise your blood sugar and help you reach dinner without becoming overly hungry.
When choosing a snack, aim for something nutritious (healthy foods) that will keep your blood sugar steady. Examples include:
Sometimes the hecticness of life causes you to skip meals from time to time. Similarly, some fad diets require you to fast or overly restrict your calories.
Whilst you might think that skipping meals will increase weight loss, it can actually slow it down. Negative effects of skipping meals include:
When considering your weight loss goals, it is almost automatic to consider which foods need to be cut down or avoided. But, successful weight loss goes beyond foods.
Stress management is another key aspect which needs to be addressed when wanting to lose weight.
When we are stressed, cortisol (the stress hormone) is elevated and can result in an increase in blood sugar and appetite.
A slight increase in cortisol level does not tend to be a problem, however, chronically high cortisol has been linked to excess fat.
To avoid cortisol weight gain, there are a number of beneficial activities which can help:
Silvia Fonda a registered nutritionist here at HealthExpress
A note to remember:
“The above tips can help you in your weight loss journey if used consistently over a period of time. Be patient with the process and remember that sustainable weight loss occurs when you succeed at implementing changes which last in the long term.”
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