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Weight loss

Written on 04th Jan 2013

Achieving successful body fat loss can be a difficult but essential component of achieving optimum health.

Unfortunately many of us are in the habit of searching out quick fix options and end up choosing fairly extreme or  unbalanced diets, resulting in temporary weight loss due to a restriction of certain food groups or calories. However, this style of diet and therefore the results are not sustainable in the long term and as soon as old habits are resumed, the weight is regained, often with a few extra pounds. The final results are often decreased self-esteem, low mood and the start of a new diet!

Common reasons why losing weight can be a problem

  • Lifestyle choices - Poor diet and / or lack of regular exercise
  • Chronic stress (emotional or physical)
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Insulin resistance (inability to efficiently use glucose) or Type II diabetes
  • Being apple shaped instead of pear shaped
  • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), symptoms include persistent fatigue, weight gain hair loss, mild depression and intolerance to cold and should be excluded as a factor by your GP

Lifestyle Recommendations

  • Make sure you sit down to eat - do not eat as a secondary activity - standing or on the move
  • Ensure a minimum of 1 ½ litres of non alcoholic, non caffeinated fluids per day. Thirst can often be mistaken for hunger and the body needs water to enable it to burn fat.
  • Eliminate sugar (all kinds) and artificial sweeteners. A little manuka honey is ok
  • No “white” foods (except oats) – this includes rice, pasta, bread, flour and everything made from them and replace them with the ‘wholegrain’ variety
  • Avoid starchy carbohydrates after 6 pm - for example rice, potatoes and other grains
  • Minimum of 4 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit per day, including 1 serving of beans or pulses
  • 3 meals and 2 healthy snacks per day – always include breakfast and avoid having a large meal in the evening - at this time of night the body has no requirement for the excess energy from a large meal, so will store it as fat.
  • Quality protein with each meal and snack - protein will delay the rate at which carbohydrates in the same meal are absorbed, making you feel fuller for longer - Fish, eggs, chicken, turkey, nuts (not peanuts), seeds, beans and pulses, quinoa, humous, tahini, nut butters (not peanut)
  • No caffeine based drinks, sugar or alcohol on an empty stomach
  • Eat good fats - these will also increase satiety and therefore keep you full for longer - Extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, nut butters, oily fish, seeds, soya beans, avocado, unhydrogenated margarine
  • Oily fish 3 times per week - salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel
  • Limited alcohol - max 2 units per day & 2 alcohol free days per week
  • Limit dairy - natural live yogurt and cottage cheese are OK. Also goats and sheeps products
  • Limited red meat
  • Eat organic/ additive free if possible

 

Exercise

To start with try to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day 3 – 4 days a week. Good examples are  jogging, swimming, yoga and pilates and you can always hire a personal trainer to help you but  consult your GP if starting a new exercise regime

 

 

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