Below is a brief summary of the principles in losing weight.
Before you start
Aim to eat a healthy balanced diet
Special diets that are often advertised are not usually helpful. This is because after losing weight, if your old eating habits remain, the weight often goes straight back on. It is usually not a special diet that is needed, but changing to a healthy balanced diet, for good. Briefly, a healthy diet means:
Look at your eating habits
Be careful about what you drink
Many people use drinks full of calories to quench their thirst. Sugary drinks such as cola, tea and coffee with milk and sugar, milk, and alcoholic drinks, all contain calories. One of the easiest ways to cut back on calories is simply to drink water as your main drink.
Increase your physical activity levels
It is recommended that all adults should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on at least five days of the week. However, if you are overweight or obese and are aiming to lose weight, if possible you should try to do around 60-90 minutes on at least five days of the week. Moderate physical activity includes: brisk walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, badminton, tennis, etc. In addition, try to do more in your daily routines. For example, use stairs instead of lifts, walk or cycle to work or school, etc. Avoid sitting for too long in front of the television or a computer screen. Take regular breaks whilst working. The good news is that you don’t have to do this physical activity all in one chunk. You can break it up into blocks of 10-15 minutes. Build your exercise levels up gradually. If you are not used to physical activity, try starting with a 30-minute brisk walk every day and then building up from there.
Monitor your behavior and progress
Just as keeping a food diary can be helpful at the beginning of a weight loss programme, it can be useful as a way to monitor your eating during your weight loss. You can use the same diary to keep a track of your physical activity levels as well. It is also important to weigh yourself regularly to monitor your progress. Once weekly is recommended. However, don’t be disheartened by minor weight increases or levelling off for a few days. Look for the overall trend over several months.
Get help and support
Some people may feel motivated enough and feel that they have all of the information that they need in order to lose weight without any help from others. However, you don’t have to try to lose weight alone. There is a wealth of help available. A referral to a dietician may be helpful. One-on-one counselling or group counselling may be available in your area. Ask about groups or programmes to increase your physical activity levels.