Losing Weight by Lily Harrow

little : October 12, 2012 2:25 am : Food thoughts

Lose Weight, but Still Eat Everything You Enjoy

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Whether you want to lose some weight to get back into your suit for a wedding reception, make yourself more attractive to women or you just want to feel fitter and healthier in yourself, it can sometimes be difficult to get motivated. You have lots of good reasons to lose weight, but the thought of going on a diet is nothing but off-putting; weeks of hunger and eating foods you would never otherwise consider – like tofu or cottage cheese – doesn’t appeal in the slightest. However, it’s probably no bad thing that you don’t want to diet. The evidence largely shows that diets don’t work. Not only are diets restrictive and monotonous – so as a result they don’t last long – but they also don’t encourage healthy balanced eating that can be maintained in the longer term. Here we look at a number of strategies that you can use to aid weight loss, while still enjoying the foods that you love to eat.

Portion control

We’ve all heard the phrase that you can have too much of a good thing, and this one definitely applies to food. Eating too much of anything, even the foods that we would usually consider to be good for us such as pasta and chicken, results in us consuming more calories than we need and the accompanying weight gain. The key is portion control. Although you can eat virtually as much salad and vegetables as you like – potatoes are the exception here – as long as you hold off the dressings and butter, you need to be sensible about the quantities of other foods that you eat. As a general rule include a starchy food with each meal (potato, rice, pasta and cereals) equivalent to the size of a fist, a form of protein (lean meat, fish, eggs, beans and lentils) about the size of your palm; you can then go wild with your greens. Each day you need to also include low fat dairy foods two or three times to ensure that your body receives sufficient calcium to maintain bone health.

Make healthy swaps

The majority of meals that we all eat can be made lower in fat and consequently calories by making a few small adjustments in their preparation. For example, spaghetti Bolognese is a popular meal that you might make for yourself; use lean mince, bulk the sauce out with vegetables to use less meat and have a side salad instead of garlic bread. If you eat out regularly, there’s no need to stop doing so, just consider some of the items you order. A burger can be made a healthier choice if you avoid added cheese and instead have some extra salad or gherkins as an additional filling. Chicken or a steak with the skin and fat removed are both good options from the grill, but rather than have fries with it, choose a side order such as a baked potato and throw in a portion of vegetables.

The 80:20 rule

If you don’t allow yourself any of the food and drink that you really like – but know is high in calories – you will end up craving it all the more and probably have a blow out one day, only to feel that you may as well give up on your weight loss attempts. A healthier way to view this is that for the majority of the time you will stick to a balanced diet, but you’ll still allow yourself have a burger and a few beers when you go out at the weekend, or whatever else might take your fancy.

Don’t forget exercise

It isn’t just about the calories you take in when you’re aiming to lose weight, but those that you burn off too. If you enjoy watching sport, why not start playing it; find out whether there are any local clubs that you might be able to join. Team sports aren’t for everyone, but there are plenty of other options; take up swimming again, go for a brisk walk in your lunch hour or find a partner for tennis, squash or badminton. For general health we should be aiming for 30 minutes of activity on most days of the week, but to achieve weight loss this is nearer to 60 minutes daily. Don’t be disheartened if you’re far from the mark at the moment; gradually build up towards this, as any extra activity will be beneficial.

A helping hand

There’s good evidence to say that people who receive support from others are more successful at losing weight. Whether you and a friend decide to lose weight at the same time, you let your colleagues know not to tempt you with cake and crisps or you decide to join a slimming club, all of these could be ways to keep you on track.

Some extra help

Although no substitute for healthy eating and activity, there are medications available that can provide additional assistance in losing weight; this can be especially helpful for people who have a large amount of weight to lose or have struggled through lifestyle measures alone. Some of these medications are prescription only and others can be bought over the counter at a pharmacy; some supplements can also just be bought from the shelves of a health store. The evidence behind the effectiveness of these medications and supplements can vary, so it might be worth you speaking to a doctor or pharmacist for advice; ”this is particularly important if you have any medical conditions or take any medications already, so that you can check that no adverse reactions might occur if you take these new medications. It is sometimes possible to receive prescription discounts on such medications, provided as an incentive for you to try them at an initially reduced cost.”

Whatever steps you decide to take lose weight, above all be realistic. You didn’t gain your weight overnight, so you won’t lose it that fast either. Set yourself a realistic target of aiming to lose one or two pounds each week; if you lose your weight gradually, it’s more likely to stay off in the longer term. It’s far better to make a few small achievable changes to what you eat, which can be maintained, rather than going all out and trying to change everything at once. This way you’re setting yourself up for success.

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