Forget those New Year’s resolutions to commit to stringent diets and unsustainable exercise routines, following an over-indulgent holiday season. If we're honest, most of us struggle to keep to them, and while we may shed weight in the short term, it quickly creeps back, often with additional kilos – and our health and morale take a knock!
Not this year though. Here are the golden rules for sustainable weight loss so that you can achieve your (sane) goals this year.
1. Set smart goals for sustainable weight loss and good health
“Gradual weight loss of between 0.5 and 1kg a week is safest, achieved by following a balanced, sustainable diet and moderate, regular exercise routine,” says dietician Candice Smith, head of Vitality Nutrition Strategy.
2. Eat whole, unprocessed foods
Forget structured diets that call for counting kilojoules, weighing things, keeping food diaries – simply focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods, says Smith. That means dropping refined carbs such as white bread and sugar, and ultra-processed foods (commercial pastries, chips, etcetera).
Have healthy proteins like fish (high in good omega-3 fatty acids), skinless chicken and lean red meat in portions the size of your palm. Eat eggs to help you feel full longer and for fat-burning choline; legumes (lentils and chickpeas) for protein and filling fibre; and small helpings of healthy fats (unsalted raw nuts and seeds, avocado).
Enjoy plain low-fat milk, plain cottage cheese and yoghurt (without added sugar), and lots of vegetables, fruit and salads for antioxidants and filling fibre.
Also, employ a neat trick that may help: brush your teeth whenever you’ve eaten – it blunts your appetite. A study in the Journal of the Japan Society of the Study of Obesity found those doing it were generally trimmer.
3. Small meals are a must
“Eat small meals, often, to keep up your metabolism and prevent cravings,” says Smith. Eat too little and too seldom, and metabolism slows and your body holds on to fat, switching into survival mode.
4. Drink water first and foremost
Drink plenty of water to feel full and stay hydrated. Yes, you’ve heard it before but do you adhere to this piece of advice religiously? And have you stopped drinking fizzy drinks, which contain far too much sugar to ensure you’re a healthy weight? “Have plain water or infuse it with fresh fruit or vegetables for variety,” Smith suggests.
Also, if you have a craving for food or snacks, drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes – thirst is often mistaken for hunger.
5. Fitness is actually your friend
Choose something you enjoy, whether walking, dancing or gymming, and do 30 minutes a day. Keep motivated by roping in a friend to hold you to early-morning starts, or investing in a step-counter to challenge yourself. There are also great communities such as Run/Walk for Life or ParkRun that can help you become a healthy, strong you.
Also get earphones, so you can look forward to listening to your favourite music, book or podcasts while you work out.
6. Wise up!
It’s time to realise there’s no magic diet, exercise, potion or pill that can shed weight for you healthily and keep it off long term. If you really struggle to eat healthily and with discipline, consider approaching a dietician for assistance.
How Clicks Clinics can help you
Clicks Clinics will help you manage your weight loss and identify and manage your risk of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes with their wide range of screening tests and health assessments.
- Clicks Full Basic Screening (BP, Body Mass Index or BMI, meal guide and exercise plan)
- Clicks Screening Measurements only (BP and BMI)
- Clicks Comprehensive Screening (BP, BMI, Glucose and Cholesterol screening, plus meal and exercise plan).
- Total Lean Lifestyle Programme
To make an appointment at a Clicks Clinic, call 0860 254 257 or book online at Clicks Clinics.
Shop online at Clicks.co.za for weight loss aids
Try the Clicks Smartbite range for healthy, sugar-free snacks that will assist you on your weight loss quest, as well as the Clicks health food range. Also, track your workouts and fitness journey with our expert selection of health & fitness trackers.
IMAGE CREDIT: 123rf.com