Five easy tweaks to kickstart weight loss
Posted on September 24 2019
Want to shed a few kilos? There’s plenty of fad diets that can help you. But are they going to work in the long run and keep the weight off for good? Probably not. So, where to next?
As a dietitian, I think the best strategy for long-lasting weight loss is to work on building healthy habits that you can stick to long term. I’m not talking about going cold-turkey on chocolate or promising to never eat pizza again – restriction and drastic lifestyle changes just don’t work. Instead, I’m talking about simple tweaks that will serve you well overtime. Here’s a handful of examples.
1. Balance your meals
A good guide to well-balanced meals is the ‘Healthy Plate Model’. Basically, you fill 50% of your plate with non-starchy vegetables (like tomato, mushroom and asparagus), 25% with carbohydrates (like potato, corn or grains) and 25% with lean protein (like fish, eggs or beef). Not only will that give your body a good balance of macro- and micro-nutrients, but also help to keep you feeling full and satisfied.
2. Eat regular meals
We’re all busy – and sometimes, rushing out the door without eating anything seems like an easy way to save time. But eating regular meals is beneficial for a lot of reasons, especially when it comes to weight loss. In particular, it can keep hunger pangs in check, which can help you to make sensible choices at meal and snack times. Think about, how likely are you to choose a salad or healthy sandwich when you’re absolutely ravenous? The more common choice would be a quick energy fix like a chocolate bar or coffee and mega-muffin combo, which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to whittle your waistline.
3. Focus on water
Have you heard the term ‘liquid kilojoules’? A lot of people find it surprising to learn just how energy-dense some fluids are. A glass of orange juice, a large cappuccino and a can of soft drink can add hundreds of kilojoules in a day. In contrast, water is kilojoule free. So, if you drink a lot of sugary beverages, simply focus on drinking water most of the time and you can say hello to weight loss.
4. Aim for 2 & 5
Fruit and veg are the cornerstones of a healthy diet, but unfortunately only seven per cent of adults eat enough (yep, just seven!). That’s a real worry, as fruit and veg are rich in micronutrients like Vitamin C, folate and potassium that keep your body working it’s best, as well as fibre to support a healthy gut. Your goal is two serves of fruit and five serves of veggies a day – if you focus on that, you’ll naturally crowd out lots of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods that easily lead to weight gain (I’m looking at you, chocolate and croissants).
5. Pack breakfast with protein
A slice of vegemite on toast might be a quick and easy breakky, but it’s lacking in all-important protein which keeps you feeling full and satisfied (read: less likely to reach for the biscuit jar at 3pm). If you’re into savoury breakfasts, some of the best ways to add protein to your meal are eggs and legumes (think: omelettes or baked beans on toast). And if you’re into sweets, pair your muesli or cereal with a high protein Greek yoghurt, milk, nuts and seeds to get your protein fix.