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Articles - Easy Slimming Tips

Easy Slimming tips

Written by Meghan Brown – resident nutritional advisor.

  1. Be cautious of extreme diets:
    A slimming diet should be personalized. It should be sensible; it must be remembered that it is unhealthy and dangerous to lose weight quickly. Certain diets may be effective in the short-term but it is hard to keep on track if it’s principles are unrealistic and don’t teach healthy eating habits. It is not advised to cut out entire food groups; such diets can be deficient in a range of nutrients – a diet should at the very least provide the recommended levels of nutrients.
    It is best to lose the desired weight over several months. The diet should be palatable to be tolerated over this period. After the healthy weight has been reached it is advised to slowly increase energy intake until this maintains your desired weight.  However the healthy changes made during your slimming period should be continued.
  2. Be active:
    Essentially energy needs to be cut by 500-1000kcal each day to achieve a weekly weight loss of 0.5-1.0kg. This can be achieved most effectively through the combination of reduced food intake and increased physical activity. Weight loss is of course improved by being physically active and in doing so you may not need to reduce your calorie intake so drastically as exercise is a means of creating an energy deficit. By exercising you will be replacing fat with muscle mass. As muscle weights more than fat, be aware that while you will lose fat and become healthier, your weight may comprise small reductions to begin with. Exercise of medium - long duration (60 minutes) at low – moderate intensity is usually considered as the best choice for weight or fat loss. But higher intensity exercise of medium duration (30-60 minutes) can be an effective and time-efficient means of enhancing energy expenditure. Using a regime that involves a combination of both a change in both physical activity and in dietary behaviours will bring the healthiest (and usually quickest) results.
  3. Reduce your portion sizes:
    An easy and effective strategy is to simply base meals on modest portion sizes. Research has shown that simply choosing a bigger plate will result in a bigger portion that individuals serve themselves – therefore don’t put yourself in this situation and choose smaller crockery. But regular consumption of these smaller, nutrient rich and lower energy dense meals is recommended to prevent the build up of hunger over the day. In this way you will accelerate your metabolism and maintain energy release. Organisation is important, as impulse eating is often a problem.
  4. Be conscious of fat:
    It is often convenient to cut out fatty and sugary foods such as cakes, sweets, preserves, biscuits and some puddings as well as alcohol, as these tend to be sources of energy rather than nutrients. Substitute such products with low-fat, reduced-fat or ‘lighter’ options – an easy change and you probably won’t tell the difference. Or where possible evade your intake of certain high-fat products completely. Trim fat from meat, and use other cooking preparation methods other than frying where possible or use olive or canola oil if necessary.
  5. Reduce cravings:
    Drink lots of water as feelings of hunger and thirst can often be confused; more fluid intake may in fact be more appropriate than a snack and can stop your food cravings. But be sure not to underestimate the calories in drinks other than water.
    Fibre can also induce feelings of fullness. The recommended dietary intake per day is 18g which is suggested to be an amount to allow for healthy bowel habits and permits for other health benefits. Increasing the consumption of fibre can also be beneficial for the cardiac system, protection from various other conditions and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Its importance in the diet is currently being stressed in the Food and Nutrition profession and the recommended dietary intake is emphasised. Higher intakes can be achieved by increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables, cereals and whole grains. Low Glycemic Index (Low-GI) foods such as fruit, vegetables, pulses and whole-grains rather than refined grains will assist with satiety and satisfy the appetite with less food intake. If necessary to snack, choose healthy snacks such as carrot sticks, berries and nuts.
  6. Treat yourself:
    Treats are encouraged as long as there is compensation on other days. For example by planning a further reduction in intake over 2 days before a special occasion, you can enjoy food without weight gain on that occasion. It will also give you a psychological and physiological boost. But make sure to not get carried away, particularly with takeaways and restaurant meals, as you often do not know the ingredients and the food’s preparation process.
  7. Take control:
    You may want to consider examining your own dietary behaviour by keeping food diaries and recording your hunger, emotions towards food, and food cravings. These can help identify triggers and can make slimming much easier and individual – you can manage, control and avoid your own problem eating behaviours.
    Don’t be disheartened if you don’t lose weight quickly – slimming should not be a quick fix. In the long-term your lifestyle will be much healthier and it doesn’t have to be unbearable, unattainable and unmanageable. Speaking to a professional can also be useful to get specialized advice and monitoring to help with the process.