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Looking to lose some weight? Follow these tips to get on the right track and stay there. Ready to start losing?
Start a weight loss journey
A body of scientific evidence suggests that even a modest amount of weight loss – 5-7 per cent of your starting body weight – can help people with prediabetes prevent or delay progression to type 2 diabetes.
This amount of weight loss has also been shown to help people newly diagnosed with type 2 slow the progression of the disease through control of glucose (blood sugar), lipids (cholesterol), and blood pressure. And the longer you can sustain the weight loss, the better.
One key to long-term success is to go about losing weight in a healthy way.
Start with Breakfast
One surefire way to ruin your weight-loss efforts is to skip breakfast. People who eat breakfast regularly tend to have a lower risk of weight gain compared with people who skip breakfast.
In addition, starting your days with a healthy breakfast is associated with maintaining weight loss.
“Breakfast-skippers tend to make up for those saved calories by eating more calories later in the day. The net result isn’t weight loss. In fact, it may be weight gain,” says Jill Weisenberger, author of
Diabetes Weight Loss (American Diabetes Association, 2012).
When you eat a healthy breakfast, you may have more willpower to resist those midmorning vendingmachine raids because your blood glucose levels are more stable and your metabolism responds more favourably.
“Eating a balanced breakfast is a great way to start the day. It says right off the bat, ‘Hey, I’m taking care of myself and I’m starting my day right,’” Weisenberger says.
For a diabetes-friendly breakfast, include servings of whole grains, dairy foods, and fruit, as well as lean protein.
Stay Active to See Results
When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to only focus on counting kilojoules. Although that is what’s most important for losing weight, exercise is also a very important part of a healthy weight-loss plan. Research shows that being physically active is even more crucial to keeping the weight off. When you get enough exercise regularly, you build muscle that burns more energy throughout the day. To get started, turn to page 120.
Have a Healthy Eating Plan
Weight loss has a lot to do with maths – over time, if you consume fewer kilojoules than your body needs for fuel, you end up with an energy shortfall and weight loss. But studies show that a winning weight-loss strategy includes enjoying all food groups.
A healthy eating plan that contains sufficient energy from nutrient-dense foods can help you feel full and stay full, aiding your weight-loss efforts. “It fuels your exercise, provides nutrients to fight disease, and is a whole lot more interesting, even if it does take more effort to eat a variety of foods,” Weisenberger says.
She suggests choosing at least three healthy foods from three food groups at each meal.
Step on the Scale Regularly
When trying to lose weight, the number on the scale may weigh heavy on your mind. Although it’s not true for everyone, many people find that stepping on the scale every day can be discouraging, especially if the result doesn’t match your expectation.
Daily weigh-ins don’t capture an accurate picture of your true weight and it’s easy to become obsessed over body fluctuations that can be caused by water retention. But that doesn’t mean you should stop weighing yourself altogether.
Studies show that people who weigh themselves regularly – at least weekly – have far greater success in weight loss. When you weigh yourself regularly, you make yourself accountable for those little splurges you might make from day to day. So what’s the right frequency for weighing yourself?
Weekly is good.
Lower-kilojoule frozen meals seem like the perfect weight-loss prescription – they’re quick, easy and portion-controlled. Keep a few in the freezer if you think they will assist in your weight-loss efforts. However, it’s important to note that eating them and not satisfying your hunger or kilojoule needs could work against you.
Research conducted by The Volumetrics Eating Plan author Barbara Rolls, of Pennsylvania State University, points out that eating low-kilojoule, high-water foods – such as fruits, vegetables, stock-base soups, and salads – helps you feel more satisfied.
Put this concept into action: if you’re going to dine on a low-kilojoule frozen meal, add a large green salad or a serving of a vegie-packed, stock-base soup to help you feel full longer.
Frozen diet dinners are frequently too skimpy on important nutrients to keep you satisfied until the next meal. Many diet dinners contain around 1200 kilojoules and as little as 7 grams of protein (about 28 grams of meat) per serving.
According to dietitian Lisa Merrill, there is plenty of carbohydrate in most diet dinners, but many do not contain enough protein, which can increase your feelings of fullness. If you’re going to dine on a diet dinner, add one serving of very lean protein and a side salad to round out the meal.
Eat Moderate Amounts of Carbs
Carbs have been getting a bad rap for years. Not all foods that contain carbohydrate deserve a bad rap, such as whole grains, legumes (beans), fruits, nonstarchy vegetables, starchy vegetables and low-fat dairy foods. However, some carbcontaining foods should be minimised, like sugary foods,
sweets and desserts. These foods provide a lot of kilojoules with little nutrition.
Focus on nutrient-rich sources of carbohydrate that have minimal added sugars or fats or are prepared with small amounts of added sugars or unhealthy fats. You will not only get to eat delicious foods that help you feel satisfied, but your body will benefit from an array of important nutrients, such as fibre, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Choose Healthy Snacks
There are many low-kilojoule snacks awaiting your selection on supermarket shelves, poised to help your weight-loss campaign. But some snacks may not be as helpful as they appear.
When you’re cutting kilojoules, it’s important to make every kilojoule count by choosing nutrient-rich foods – foods that contain important vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that your body needs to stay healthy.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth
Every successful weight-loss program offers opportunities to enjoy some of your favourite foods. After all, a healthy eating plan should be for life, not something you go ‘on’ or ‘off’.
But if you splurge on special treats every day, you can sabotage your best intentions for weight loss. Merrill suggests creating a “bank” of extra kilojoules to make room for something you really crave – whether it’s a small slice of birthday cake or a glass of wine at dinner. By cutting back on kilojoules earlier in the day and making sure to squeeze in exercise, you can usually fit in a special treat of 400-600 kilojoules. This is where individually portioned servings of cookies, chocolate, ice-cream bars and chips can come in handy so you don’t overdo it.
Practise Portion Control
This is a powerful tool for losing weight and keeping it off. If you’re doubling up on portions, you’re doubling up on kilojoules. Our portion sizes have grown over the years. In fact, researchers have identified that the increase in portion sizes for some of our favourite foods, such as salty snacks, fries, burgers and soft drinks, is directly responsible for an increase in kilojoules consumed and weight gain.
Keep an eye on how much you’re dishing up. A simple rule of thumb: fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, onequarter with low GI carbs (such as fruit, grain bread, or quinoa) and one-quarter of your plate with lean meat or other protein.
There’s no doubt about it: getting to and maintaining a healthy weight can help you feel better and stay healthy over time. Losing weight when you have pre-diabetes, or soon after you find out you have type 2, can also help you reach target goals for blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure. We’ve rounded up some ‘do it today’ tips to help you lose the weight.