You are not fat. But you know you weigh quite a bit more than you should. You are not sick. Not yet. But your doctor warned you it might well happen…
It’s not so hard to notice that one needs to lose weight. But it can be very hard to find out how to do this best. There are uncountable weight loss diet plans, and each one claims to be the best and fastest. If you have tried to lose weight before, you most likely know that most of these diets don’t really live up to their promises. Maybe they help you to lose weight, but then you pick it up again.
The only way to avoid gaining the weight back – and therefore the only truly effective way to lose weight – is to make permanent changes in your lifestyle. You need to eat healthier and be more physically active. What does that mean – eating healthy? It means:
Adapting portion sizes
Healthier eating habits
Strategy #1: Reducing calories
If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. You can achieve that by eating less (which is what crash diets recommend), or by changing what you eat:
Reduce high fat foods (meat and dairy products, fried foods) and eat more low -calorie foods like vegetables, fruit, grain and grain products. Instead of reducing the amount of food, you only reduce the amount of calories, meaning your meal is still enough to fill you.
Buy low-fat or fat-free milk, yoghurt and cheese instead of full cream products.
Have fruit or raw veggies (e.g. tomato, cucumber, red pepper) as snacks and leave chocolate and cookies for occasional treats.
Make your own muesli with fruit and nuts. Prepacked mixes are often very high in calories.
Drink plenty of water. On the one hand it fills your stomach, on the other hand it does not contain any calories.
Add fat and sugar only sparingly to your food. Choose cooking methods like stewing, baking, grilling or steaming, and avoid frying things in oil. Whenever possible, reduce sugar. You could for example use dried fruit to sweeten your cereal or muffins.
Strategy #2: Adapting portion sizes
With the wide variety of foods available the whole year, our portion sizes have grown. They have long outgrown our actual need for food, meaning that we often eat more than our body needs.
Take some time to find out how much food you really need. That much your body shall have, but not more. It’s the overfeeding that made you overweight.
Take time to experiment with portion sizes. Your body will need some time to get used to a smaller portion, even if that smaller portion is plenty enough for it.
Reduce your portion sizes gradually. Your body likes small changes.
Take a smaller plate to make it still look full.
Strategy #3: Healthier eating habits
Eating healthy is more than just eating healthy foods:
Eat regularly and arrange your meal times in such a way that you won’t get too hungry in between. Some people are fine with three larger meals and one snack, others do better with six smaller meals.
Have a glass of water with every meal. It will also fill you and make you eat less.
Always have a healthy snack at hand (e.g. fruit or low-fat yoghurt).
Even if you are very hungry, only dish your normal portion. Rather go for a second helping afterwards if you are really still hungry.
By adapting your diet in the three ways described in this article, you will be able to lose weight and enjoy yourself whilst doing so. The crucial point is that whatever changes you make need to be lasting to prevent the weight from coming back. It is advisable to also enrol in some extra physical activity. Writing a weight diet plan can help you to reach your goal. When uncertain, it’s always advisable to discuss your plans with your GP.