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Losing Weight – a dummy’s guide

I have a friend who I see every morning on the school run. She has lost 6kg over the last few months, and is now lighter and feels healthier than she did before having 3 children. Following the birth of her first child, she hired a personal trainer to lose the baby weight. She swears that the regular, intense workouts made no difference to her weight or size. She assumed the exercise would mean the weight would drop off, so hadn’t changed her diet (perhaps she was even eating a bit more due to increased appetite with the exercise).

This time around, after the third kid, she felt she didn’t have the time or energy for intense PT sessions. Instead she changed what she ate, and BOOM, with in days the slow and steady weight loss started. She didn’t ‘go on a diet’, just made logical and sensible changes.

Of course, exercise is extremely beneficial to health and well being. However, it is often said that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise (my husband who is a professional sports coach would even agree with this). How accurate these percentages are I do not know, but one thing is for sure, if you want to lose weight, or take steps towards a healthier

StarbucksVentiMintMochaChipFrappuccinolifestyle, you have to start in the kitchen. The 500 kcal burned during a 5 mile run can be wiped out in minutes with a frappicino and a cookie. 

Making wholesome and nutritious food choices for most of your meals and snacks, as well as being conscious of portion sizes can have a profound effect on weight, well being and long term health. All too often we are bombarded with confusing and complex messages about diets and nutrition products.

So the secret is to keep it simple, you don’t need a lot of fancy or exotic ingredients. Fill your fridge with vegetables, lean meat, eggs and lower fat dairy, and your cupboards with wholesome starchy food and tinned fish, tomatoes, nuts, seeds etc. Frozen vegetables are just as good, and often better nutritionally than fresh.

 

What does a healthy meal look like? Try this:

veggies

  • 1/2 plate: salad/vegetables/fruit
  • 1/4 plate protein: chicken, pork, beef, fish, beans, lentils
  • 1/4 plate starchy food: potatoes, rice, pasta, quinoa, cous cous, wholemeal bread
  • use oils and oily dressings sparingly

Most people have far too much starchy food eg. big plate pasta, and not enough veg. 

 

How does this translate to real life? Here are some examples…..

Breakfast:

  • Berry Banana Breakfast Bake
  • Granola with milk
  • handful porridge oats, water, milk, berries/raisins
    Nag's muesli

    Homemade muesli

  • 1 wholemeal toast, little bit of butter, 2 boiled/poached/dry fried eggs
  • Natural yoghurt & fruit, 1 toast
  • Homemade muesli
  • Summer oats
  • Shake: milk, spoon of yoghurt, banana/berries, honey
  • 2 Weetabix, milk, banana

Meals:

  • 4 no effort meals
  • Spaghetti bolognaise: 1/4 plate spaghetti, add extra veg to bolognaise (grated carrot, extra tin tomatoes). Serve with side salad or Deidre’s coleslawimage
  • Meatballs in tomato sauce with extra veg & pasta
  • Rice, salmon, carrots & broccoli
  • Wholemeal pitta, tuna mixed with natural yoghurt/light mayo, chopped pepper, spring onion & lettuce
  • 1 wholemeal toast, little bit of butter, 2 boiled/poached/dry fried eggs
  • bowl of salad leaves, grated carrot, peas, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, chopped up chicken or flaked salmon
    image

    wholemeal bread, tuna with light mayo & yoghurt, carrot, spring onion, pepper

  • Super food salad with some chicken/fish
  • Lentil & tomato soup

Snacks (hunger often confused with thirst, so first have a glass water/cup of tea or coffee):

  • Apple & handful almonds
  • Rice cake with peanut butter/quark & small dollop of pesto
  • Homemade flapjack
  • Yoghurt & strawberries image
  • Humous and carrot sticks
  • Glass of milk and banana/raisins
  • Skinny latte & apple

Tips:

  • stick to 1 portion of meals, if still hungry fill up up more veg/fruit
  • avoid creamy sauces, choose tomato/vegetable based ones
  • be aware that oils (yes, even olive oil) has 100kcal per tablespoon. Use but don’t over do it. If eating out, ask for dressing on the side.
  • Be aware that sugary drinks (including pure fruit juice) can add significant calories to your diet. Go for water, tea, coffee, herbal teas, diluted cordial, or diet drinks instead.
  • Drink a large glass of water before a meal
  • Don’t put pot of food on table, serve up in kitchen to avoid picking at extras
  • By all means have ice cream, but not everyday and just a few scoops, not half the tub. Same goes for biscuits, crisps, chocolate, wine, beer etc. Not everyday and control the amounts.
  • Be aware that ‘light’, ‘lite’ or reduced fat doesn’t mean low in fat, just that it is 25% lower than full fat version.
  • Use natural yoghurt instead of mayonnaise,  or mix half yoghurt with half reduced fat mayo
  • If you are at work with limited access to appropriate food choices, bring your own food from home.
  • more tips

I hope some of these ideas may be of use to you. If it all seems a bit too much, just pick one or two ideas each week. Gradual changes that become habit are more likely to be of long term benefit than making massive changes that can be overwhelming.

Mark Twain: Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.

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6 comments on “Losing Weight – a dummy’s guide

  1. You can definitely see your skills in the article you write.
    The sector hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  2. Pingback: 8 essential tips for feeling fab (and weight loss!) | Sarah Danaher

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