Recent studies found out that dieting regimes do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people (Traci Mann, UCLA University of California, Los Angeles).
People interested in losing weight should look at the challenge as a change in lifestyle to be achieved not through fad diets or obsessive calories counting but through small and sustainable changes. As well documented in the Small Change Diet book, by the American Registered Dietitian Keri Gans, the key to weight loss is in making gradual, small changes. Making small changes leads to developing healthy habits that result in weight loss that can be sustained for a lifetime.
For immediate weight loss results and a lifetime of health remember:
1. Don’t skip meals.
Choose an eating schedule made up of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between. Skipping meals will make you hungrier the next time you eat and you will overeat.
Breakfast: the most important meal of the day, it helps to fuel your activities. Eating a good breakfast will help you to eat fewer calories throughout the day.
Breakfast ideas: nonfat or low fat yogurt, milk, cheese. Fruit. Almonds. High fiber cereals, eggs.
Snack time: Eating snacks helps your body to be fueled properly during the day and helps you to avoid disastrous food choices at lunchtime or dinner. Remember: do not have a carbohydrate alone (such as an apple or a serving of crackers) otherwise you will still be hungry. Pair carbohydrates with lean proteins or healthy fat.
Snack ideas: nuts, fruit, nonfat or low fat yogurt, raw veggies, hummus, whole-grain bread or crackers.
Lunch & Dinner: to lose weight re-balance your plate for lunch and dinner. Fill half plate with veggies, one quarter with high-fiber and wholegrain choices and one quarter with lean proteins.
2. Drink Drink Drink…Water!
Our body is basically two-thirds water and you have to ensure that enough liquid is available to your body
Aim for 8 glasses of water a day.
Switch from whole milk to skimmed milk or low fat or nonfat milk.
Switch from fancy sugar sweetened coffee or tea drinks to regular coffee or tea with brown sugar or no sugar.
Drink juices only made 100% fruit juices
Stick to one to two glasses of wine or beer and one cocktail a day.
3. Five a day? Seven or Eight is better
Experts and UK Government recommend that we eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Skipping fruit and veggies not only means loosing important nutrients but also missing out on one of the simplest weight loss tricks. Low in calories and fat, rich in water and fibre, fruit and veggies will help you to lose weight easier and make you feel full. Plus they help you to stay healthier reducing your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and many chronic diseases.
4. +Fibres – Sugar – Fats = Weigh Less
The perfect equation to weight loss is: less sugar, less fats more fibres.
- Reduce Sugar: don’t add sugar to anything, be it tea, coffee, breakfast cereal.
- Eliminate biscuits, cakes, chocolates or keep for special treat.
- Do not drink frizzy drinks, substitute with sparkling mineral water and lemon, unsweetened 100% fruit drinks or low-cal or no-cal drinks
- Eat the right kinds (and amount) of Fats. Fats are a rich source of energy (9 calories per gram) and essential fatty acids that your body needs for optimal health and well being.
- Increase fibers. Add fibre to your breakfast. Eating healthfully in the morning will help to set the tone for the entire day. Fruit and vegetable fibre helps slow down the absorption of food into the blood helping to maintain good energy levels. Eat whole grains, fruit, nuts, lentils and been on a daily basis
5. Serving Size Matters
Portion size must be:
- meat (lean cuts, of course) and lean mince: : 2-3 ozs or 50-75 gms
- chicken or turkey (no skin, of course): 3-4 ozs or 75-100 gms
- fish: 4-5 ozs or 100-150 gms
- wholemeal bread: 2/4 slices
- potatoes: 8 ozs or 225 gms
- pasta and rice: 3ozs or 75 gms (dry weight)
Resizing your food portions might not come easy at first, but if you stick with it, it is very rewarding. Eyeballing will help you to visualize what a serving size should look like:
One serving of bread=1 slice of bread=the size of a CD case.
A medium potato = size of a computer mouse
A portion of pasta = size of a tennis ball
One ounce serving of cheese = six playing dice
Teaspoon of margarine, butter, mayonnaise, oil = size of your thumb tip