We all want to talk about this don’t we? A great friend of mine recently picked my brains about weight loss and asked me to dish some tips out on the blog. With my rubber arm I started typing this blog BUT I have just 1 proviso – we are beautiful creatures inside and out and I’m talking weight loss/management for health benefits (to reduce risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol). I am not talking weight loss so you can fit into a size 6 dress for a party or attain this ridiculous goal of a thigh gap. So if you feel you body mass index (BMI) is on the higher side or you are worried you might be gaining unhealthy weight then this is for you:
- Reduce your portion sizes
If you eat too much of anything – you won’t lose weight. In Australia (mainly thanks to food availability) we eat too much and portion size control is how most of my patients will lose weight.
Put your hands in a circle and slightly separate your fingers – you should not be eating more than this per meal. Hello, most people’s steak or piece of chicken is that big not their entire meal. I’ve had patients come up with all sorts of excuses “I’ll die – that’s not enough food” and a lovely man who on his follow up appointment admitted he had been stacking his food UP to fit in the circle – which I thought was highly intelligent and innovative but NOT successful for weight loss (I now specify no stacking up to all my patients thanks to him!!).
You may feel hungry for the first 2 days but your body adapts I promise. And if you feel peckish post meal -my rule to patients is drink 2 glasses of water and wait 40 minutes before you even THINK about putting more food in your belly. Most people will be full if they just let the food settle.
Envision your dinner plate from last night – did you eat outside the circle? If you are serious about weight loss – you need to start here.
- Make smart choices
You’re dairy should be low fat.
You’re meat should be lean – with fat trimmed off.
The drink of choice is water as opposed to cordials/fruit juices and god forbid energy drinks, which are loaded with sugar!
Alcohol = calories – so if you’re serious about weight loss – you need to cut this too.
Take away like Maccas or HJ’s is crazy when you are talking serious weight loss. If you need a break – make smart choices like sushi, a Vietnamese pho or grilled fish.
Snacks – celery, carrots and hummus should replace all biscuits/cakes/chocolate/other horrendous things we crave to snack on.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise!
You NEED to be active not just to lose weight but for your heart health – remember 30 minutes every day is what the Heart Foundation guidelines recommend. To lose weight you likely need 4-5 hours a week – so get moving and shaking and as I highlight in the blog “Can Exercise Adapt to You?” – find an option that works for you!!
- No eating after 8pm
That bikkie you have at 10pm or the paddle pop you sneak out of the freezer (hello pregnancy cravings!) does you no good! No eating after 8pm is the key – put your body into fat burning mode so the next meal you eat after dinner is breakfast the next morning. Tell yourself “my body is now burning the fat I don’t want” to drive you, that will usually stop you reaching for a treat! Drink water if you feel hungry and if you MUST eat something – celery, carrot, some nuts – NOT the fat filled treat!
- Have realistic expectations
My patient’s will often claim they are going to lose 20 kilograms by the end of the year or fit into a size 8 (from a 16) in 3 months. No, no, no – you will crash and burn with goals like that. Be realistic – set small goals – 5 kilograms in 6 months is do-able, reasonable and SUSTAINABLE. This is not a diet – this is you kick starting a whole lifestyle change to improve your health.
Don’t weigh yourself every day – do it weekly or fortnightly at the same time (ideally first thing in the morning after a wee) OR my rule with patients is they only weigh themselves in my room – to prevent obsessive scale watching. Be kind to yourself- the changes in your body will come and not always with the numbers on the scale first but in how you feel, how your t-shirt fits around your arms and how your jeans start to feel a bit looser on the belly.
I hope that helps and gives you some tools for your journey! And to my friend who picked my brains – I’ll be checking in with you in 2 weeks!! For the rest of you – feel free to share your journey with me on Facebook or Instagram (I’d love to see it!!). But don’t forget why you are doing this – for the health benefits – and let that motivation drive the journey!!