Weight Loss “Secrets”
Losing weight; a feat that many of us spend time trying to figure out. While maintaining a healthy body weight can do wonders for your health and reduce your risk for diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, it’s important to go about weight loss in a HEALTHY manner. That is, do NOT follow any dangerous “fad” diets, or go to extreme methods to achieve short-term weight loss (only to regain all of the weight once you begin to eat “normally” again).
Reaching a healthy body weight and subsequently maintaining that weight should be done in a slow and steady manner, whereby you make small and realistic lifestyle changes. Here are some (not-so-secret) weight loss secrets to help you along your journey:
1 If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Try not to let yourself get sucked in by any extreme weight loss claims such as “guaranteed to lose 20 lbs in ten days!” or “eat all that you want and still lose weight!” At the end of the day, the largest contributing factor to weight loss is eating few calories (or taking in less energy) than the calories that you expend (or the energy that you use up). No “magical new diet” is going to get around this.
2 Take note of well known clichés.
The healthiest way to lose weight is ultimately a combination of choosing more healthy foods (think: vegetables, fruits, lean meats), less unhealthy foods (think: fried/greasy foods, sugary snacks and beverages) and reducing portions sizes (no more “belly busting” or having to undo your belt after lunch!).
3 Cut out the sugary drinks.
A great way to kick-start weight loss is to stop drinking your calories. Many of us do not realise just how much excess energy we consume from beverages such as soft drinks, juices (even natural juices), sweetened coffees and teas etc. Instead of absentmindedly filling up on these empty calories, try drinking more water, or even soda water with a squeeze of lime/lemon for added zest. Staying well hydrated also helps to keep you full and limit overeating.
Change the layout of your plate.
As mentioned, eating smaller portions is often vital for weight loss. An easy guide to use is the “plate method” of portion sizing, where:
¼ of your plate is a starch (think: ground provisions, rice & peas, cou cou);
¼ of your plate is a lean protein (think: chicken, fish, lentils) and;
½ of your plate is filled with vegetables and/or salad.
A special trick to go with this method is to serve yourself the vegetables/ salad FIRST. When we have an empty plate in front of us we tend to be heavy-handed with whatever we put on the plate initially – so instead of piling up the starch and meat, start with your veggies.
5 cooking Pay attention to methods.
The way in which we cook our food can have a huge impact on the final calorie content of that meal, and thus on our daily energy intake. In particular, using too much oil can quickly put a stop to successful weight loss, so it is important to find a way to prepare your meals other than frying. Instead, ditch the extra oil and try baking, grilling, steaming, boiling or stewing. Preparing your own meals in a healthy manner instead of buying food from restaurants/shops is also a great way to help with weight loss.
Just because you are trying to lose weight doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to have a snack if you are hungry. Instead, try ditching the high fat, high sugar snacks for healthy (but still delicious) choices. Here are a few snacking Do’s & Do Not’s: As you proceed with your journey to achieving a healthy weight, it is important to remember to slow down and enjoy your meals. When we are distracted during mealtimes, i.e. watching TV or scrolling through our phones, we are much more likely to overeat…without even really enjoying our food. So ditch the technology; sit down with friends/family, have a conversation and eat slowly – focus on enjoying what you’re eating and pay attention to your body when it tells you that you are comfortably full.