A dietitians top tips for summer slimming success
Everybody who has ever tried to lose weight will already know there is lots of advice on how you might go about it. It can be difficult to know what is effective and what could be just expensive faddy nonsense. Registered dietitian, Dawn Shotton from Dietwise has looked at the evidence and come up with some of the most effective strategies to help you lose weight this summer - here are her top ten:
- 1. Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables everyday - Fruit and vegetables are relatively low in calories compared to other foods we eat – fill up on them if you are feeling hunger between meals. They also are packed full of good nutrition that is known to help guard against illness like heart disease and some cancers. Remember that smoothies, juices and dried fruit all go toward your 5 a day quota.
- 2. Never skip meals - It has been shown that people who have regular meals are able to control appetite better and manage their weight in the long term. If you are not used to eating something at a particular time of day (breakfast is typical), start with something realistic like a glass of milk, banana, or yoghurt. You will soon find you are ready for something once you establish a routine.
- 3. Plan your meals for the week ahead - This will help you stay on track - especially when the going gets tough. Write a shopping list, keep a meal plan and a food diary - all have been shown to help people keep motivated and do better in the long run.
- 4. Healthy snacks can help you - High fat and high sugar snacks can make or break good weight loss progress and need to be kept under control. Try to keep away from chocolate bars, biscuits, cakes and crisps. However, not all snacking is unhealthy - if you find you are hungry between meals try fresh and dried fruit, rice cakes, low-fat fruit yoghurts, wholemeal pitta breads, chopped salad, vegetables served with low fat yoghurt dip, tomato salsa, low fat hummus or cream cheese.
- 5. Its all in the portion - While it is important to eat a well balanced nutritious diet, if you fail to keep your portions under control you may still struggle to lose weight if you are eating too much. Keep a check on your portion sizes and make sure they are not too large. Make sure you are not plating too much up before you eat: avoid the 'empty plate' syndrome - stop as soon as you are full and remind yourself there is no need to finish what is on the plate.
- 6. Cut back on liquid calories - Alcohol, adding sugar to drinks and sugary drinks can add up and make all the difference between losing weight or not. Keep these habits in check and moderate the amount you have.
- 7. Eat carefully when you are out and limit how often you do - This way you stay in control and can avoid any hidden calories. Take your own packed lunch to work. Choose (non-creamy) soup, jacket potatoes and salads with cold roast meats in the canteen. Ask to add your own sauces, dressings and butter. Try to avoid creamy, rich sauces. Do you really need to eat a starter and a sweet as well as a main course? Choose between the two.
- 8. Eat in balance - Don't cut out food groups in a bid to lose weight quickly. Your body needs a balance of nutrients to stay healthy, so make sure you eat properly. Avoid faddy techniques that promise unrealistic weight losses and aim for a sensible loss of 1-2lbs (1kg) per week.
- 9. Don't do denial - You'll only end up cracking! A little bit in controlled amounts is the key.
- 10. Eat mindfully - Slow down and concentrate on how you are enjoying your food. Think carefully about how satisfied you are feeling. Do not allow yourself to be distracted and hopefully it will help you stop eating as soon as you recognise you have had enough.
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About Dawn Shotton
Dawn Shotton is an experienced registered dietitian of 23 years. Her specialist interest is weight management. Dawn understands that eating and weight management is as much about the 'why' as it is the 'what' and dovetailed her nutrition knowledge with mindful psychological techniques in a winning combination to help people control their weight.