How to lose weight safely after the holiday season
How do you lose weight? It’s one of those can-of-worm questions that, when it comes to google, too often leads us to drastic fat-burning measures and unrealistic diets.
But what if I told you there was a way to lose weight safely that didn’t involve eating broccoli for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Turns out, there are better ways to shed those kilos (and they’re also much more effective)...
The importance of losing weight safely
As nutritionist Fiona Tuck explains, safety should be your priority. The expert advises against “dramatic calorie reductions or avoiding particular food groups, as this can put the body at risk of nutrient depletion.” In the long-term, this can also lead to health complications. “Extreme diets can affect blood glucose, muscle mass and put strain on certain organs such as the heart and brain,” says Fiona.
So, in the unlikely event that you manage to stick to an extreme diet and lose weight quickly, you’re at risk of hurting your body in the long run. As Fiona explains, “Choosing a long-term, sustainable healthy eating program over a short-term diet fix is the most effective way to lose weight in the long term.”
Weight loss mistakes to avoid
According to Fiona, these are the common mistakes people make when trying to lose weight. Pens and paper at the ready…
– Going on a ‘diet’
You might think a diet is the way to go, but as Fiona explains, “Cutting out food groups such as potatoes or pasta or severely limiting food intake” is not sustainable. It’s better to “make small changes that are sustainable over a long period of time.”
– Relying too much on exercise
Although exercise is “important for cardiac health, mood, muscle tone [and] bone health”, it isn’t a cure-all for weight loss. “If you really want to lose weight, the most important thing is to change your diet,” says Fiona. Noted.
– Being too impatient
Forget reaching your goal weight overnight. Genuine weight loss takes time. According to Fiona, “[It’s] usually at least two–three weeks before you start to see a noticeable difference.” As the expert explains, rapid weight loss in the first week is “usually just excess fluid loss, not actual fat loss.” For real results, she advises on slowly and steadily “reducing your calorie intake and replacing high sugar, highly processed foods with fresh wholefoods.”
– Not exercising portion control
Living in fear of carbs? The good news is, they’re fine in moderation – the secret is portion control. As Fiona explains, we only need “small portion sizes of starchy foods such as pasta, rice and potatoes.” To supplement your carbohydrates and up your nutrient intake, the expert recommends filling the majority of your plate with fruits and veggies.
– Not having enough fibre
If you find yourself getting hungry soon after a meal, you might want to up your fibre intake. As Fiona explains, increasing the amount of fibre in your diet will mean you have “less room to fill up on the processed, high sugar junk foods” (aka that 3.00pm doughnut!).
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Fiona’s top 10 tips to lose weight, safely
- Consult a health professional, such as a nutritionist, for a health check and “customised eating recommendations.”
- Stop dieting and consider healthy eating a way of life. “That way, nothing is off limits or denied.”
- Avoid strict calorie counting or “black and white rules” which can be hard to stick to.
- Eat food “for its nutrient value and what it can do for your health,” rather than “how many calories it contains and what it will do for your waistline.”
- Fill up on seven–10 servings of fruit and vegetables every day.
- Eat vegetables at every meal, and “try to fill your plate with mainly vegetables” of different varieties and colours, “to ensure you’re getting a wide variety of nutrients.”
- Include small amounts of protein with each meal.
- Don’t be scared of good fats such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados and oily fish. They will “help you feel full for longer” and “prevent mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacking.”
- Watch your portion sizes, to “ensure you’re not overeating foods that are more likely to promote weight gain.” For portion control fact sheets, see fact sheets on fionatuck.com.
- Choose a variety of different exercises incorporating aerobic exercise, weight-bearing exercise and stretching. “Exercise cannot outrun an unhealthy diet,” but it will help you feel better about yourself, which will in turn help you to stay motivated to eat a healthy diet.
And finally… don’t use summer as an excuse
The hot weather, socialising with friends, eating out and drinking more are all common excuses for not losing weight in summer. But don’t let these hindrances stop you. As Fiona points out, whatever the season, chances are you’ll always be able to “find a good excuse if you don’t really want to lose weight.” The expert recommends “asking yourself what losing weight really means to you, and how important it is.” Hopefully, this will help motivate you to get on with it!
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What’s your best tip on how to lose weight safely? Did you find this article helpful?