Its very easy during times of stress to attempt to find comfort in food or drink which can quickly result in an increase in weight and a decrease in your wellbeing. Our advisor Rachel shares her top tips on how to eat healthily and lose weight safely to help create a healthier you for the years to come.
Eating healthily & avoiding weight gain
- Start the day with a healthy breakfast. People who eat breakfast find it easier to control their weight.
- Aim to eat three regular, balanced meals a day. Try to have meals at planned times during the day and only include snacks if you are physically hungry.
- Eat more fruit and vegetables – recommendations are to include at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. One portion is about a handful.
- Half fill your plate with vegetables/salad and divide the other half between meat, fish, egg or beans and starchy foods like potatoes, rice, pasta or bread.
- Choose foods and drinks that are lower in fat and sugar and limit sweet, fatty and salty snacks.
- If you drink, moderate your alcohol intake. Alcohol is high in calories and dissolves your good intentions.
- Watch your portion sizes and avoid going back for seconds.
- Avoid eating at the same time as doing something else, for example when working, reading or watching TV, as this can cause you to overeat.
- Eat slowly, concentrate on and really taste the food you are putting in your mouth.
- Aim to drink two litres of fluid per day, choosing low calorie, non-caffeinated drinks.
- And finally, it takes time for your brain to know your stomach is full so wait at least 15 to 20 minutes before deciding you need more food.
Needing to lose some weight?
It is important not to ‘diet’. Diets are often extreme, strict and nutritionally unbalanced and dictate what you should and shouldn’t eat resulting in you not sticking to them for very long. Instead, stick to healthy eating principles and increasing your physical activity. People who successfully lose weight and keep it off stay realistic and develop techniques to make their new lifestyle and activity habits an enjoyable way of life. Try some of the tips below:
- Keep some form of food diary. People who do, lose more weight as it helps you to stay aware of what you are doing and deal with any problems like emotional eating. It also helps you feel more in control of your eating.
- Track your progress, you might want to do this by weighing yourself once a week, measuring your waist, reviewing your food diary or seeing what goals you have achieved at the end of each month.
- Have a plan for your ‘high risk’ situations to help prevent any slip up. The plan must be specific and detailed, for example: “I am at high risk of stopping my healthy eating when I’m busy. My plan to handle this situation is to do menu plans weekly, write shopping lists, cook in bulk and freeze individual portions”.
- Making changes to your lifestyle can require a lot of effort. When you achieve a goal reward your success with something you value that is non-food related (e.g. reading a magazine, or watching your favourite film or having relaxing bath).
- Get the support that is right for you – it makes all the difference. Decide who can help you and tell them the best way they can do it for example ask your partner not to buy you food as a gift or to serve you large meal portions.
You could try following the NHS Weight Loss Plan available at https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/start-the-nhs-weight-loss-plan/
Rachel Efemey (RD) Adapted from BDA Food Fact Sheets (2017) Weight Loss available at: https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/weight_loss