Many are seeking weight loss regimes or programmes but it is important that whatever diet or exercise programme that you are on is sustainable in the long term. As a dietician, here are some important principles that I counsel clients on how to lose weight through food.
Avoid sweetened drinks
As we all know, sugar in sweetened drinks is high in calories and should be avoided. Same goes for alcohol. Water is the best drink choice to go for. Many people mistake feeling thirsty as being hungry, so make sure you are well hydrated and drink plenty of water.
Limit empty calories and fatty foods
This means foods with added sugar, processed foods, foods high in fats (especially fried). Even if it is healthy fat (e.g. olive oil or avocado), you still need to control the amount added. Aim for 1-2 teaspoons of fat added per meal because all fats are high in calories!
Eat the right portions
Always practice a healthy plate during your meals! What this means is when you have your plate, you can divide it up to ensure healthy portions of various types of food. Ensure that your meals contain:
1/2 plate of vegetables
1/4 plate of lean proteins such as fish, chicken, eggs or beans
1/4 plate of whole grain carbohydrates (e.g. brown rice, whole wheat pasta, wholemeal breads or starchy vegetables)
A big focus is on eating enough vegetables. This is because veggies are high in fibre and water, which help to fill your tummy while being very low in calories.
Do note, however, while non-starchy vegetables can be eaten almost freely, all other foods need to be eaten in controlled amounts. Otherwise,the calories will still add up.
Have better snacking alternatives
If you tend to snack, try having fruit, yoghurt or a small handful of nuts as healthier options.
Don’t deprive yourself!
Enjoy your favourite foods in small amounts as a rare treat. For example, share a dessert once a week with your friend or partner or family member and hold off on other treats for the rest of the time. It’s all about balance!
Try to fit in some brisk walks during your day. This helps to keep your metabolism up and even burn off some extra calories.
Avoid diet fads
These can result in yo-yo dieting that can lead to muscle loss and weight regains that don’t help your health at all.
Don’t focus on the number or end result
This is important! Just eat healthily and also take care of yourself as other components of health are also really important. Adequate sleep and managing stress have been shown to help control appetite hormones. As such, if you focus on leading a healthy lifestyle, you’re likely to end up losing weight naturally without really thinking about it.
Contributed by Bonnie Lau, who is a certified Dietician.
Photo credits: Pixabay