James Vickers a Nutritionist at Vitality shares his top tips if you’re looking to lose weight and introduce a healthy balanced diet.
“Obesity is a growing health concern as the condition puts people at greater risk of developing serious illnesses such as type two diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. More recently it has also been found to increase the risks of hospitalisation from Covid-19.
“It’s important for us all to take steps to ensure we’re living as healthy a lifestyle as possible. There is no easy way to lose weight, and the best approach will be different for everyone, but there are some small steps you can take in your everyday life to make progress and feel healthier and happier for the long-term.”
- Find your starting point – Keeping a food diary or completing a health review with your GP or healthcare provider can help you understand which areas of your diet you might need to change and improve. Striving for a healthy, balanced diet which reduces unhealthy options like foods high in fat, sugar and salt and swap in healthier options like fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grain options.
- Don’t change everything at once – You will know what you need to change so start with something very simple. One small change each week will soon add up to an overall improved lifestyle. Try to make healthier choices a little at a time. It doesn’t have to be restrictive all or nothing thinking.
- Set goals – Setting short-term, medium-term and long-term goals will keep you on track and help you see progress. What do you want to achieve after a week, 3 months and 12 months? Make sure the goals follow the SMART principles – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely - to make them perfect for you.
- Play the long game – It is rare to lose a lot of weight quickly and keep it off. Aim for 0.5-1kg (1-2lbs) a week and you should be able to keep it off for good rather than losing quickly and gaining it back. Losing weight in a safe and controlled way will help you to slowly make changes to your diet and still enjoy yourself without being too restrictive.
- Calories – A calorie deficit (consuming less calories than you are using) is what will ultimately cause weight loss. If you are eating too many calories then reducing your calories by about 400-500kcals a day will be enough to support weight loss. Combine this with a little bit more activity during the day.
- Find your balance – A healthy diet is all about balance. It is important to try to balance macronutrients such as carbohydrates, protein and fat as well as consuming vitamins and minerals from a variety of fresh foods. Cost, time, availability plus other barriers can make it hard to eat more healthily but if you know what you need to change then try cutting down or swapping some unhealthy habits. This can actually help you to find cheaper, more time effective or readily available healthier options. Change doesn’t have to be instant, take your time and find what works best for you.