Is there a secret to weight loss?

It likely took you a long time to put on the extra weight that you are carrying and it may take the same amount of time or longer to lose those extra kgs.  The key to successful weight loss is slow and steady while making small changes to your diet and increasing your physical activity.

The NZ Nutrition Foundation recommends the following tips:

  • Eating a healthy breakfast has been shown to help weight loss. Ideas to try are porridge and milk, poached eggs on toast, muesli with yoghurt and fruit. If you are in a hurry, a smoothie or a banana are easy to eat on the go.
  • Check that there is no added sugar in your food choices or if added sugar is present that it is minimal
  • Swap standard (blue top) milk for either lite (light blue) or trim (green) options.
  • Many cheeses are high in fat. Choose lower fat options, such as edam, cottage cheese, and lite cream cheese.
  • Change white bread and cereal options for the wholemeal and wholegrain varieties. This helps increase your fibre intake and also leaves you feeling fuller for longer.
  • Add fat sparingly. If cooking with oil, use an oil spray or a spoon, rather than pouring from the bottle. Cut down on excess fat by using less high fat spreads – try are hummus or avocado. Mayonnaise and creamy salad dressings have loads of fat, so try the low fat varieties. Trim any visible fat from meat and remove the skin from poultry before eating.
  • Watch portion sizes as eating too much leads to weight gain. Eat slowly – it takes 20 minutes before your brain realises you are full, so wait a while before having a second helping.
  • Eat less high-fat takeaways and snacks. Limit buying takeaways to once a week. Biscuits, cakes, sweets, chocolate, butter, margarine and crackers all contain a lot of calories and are low in nutrients. One way to stop eating these foods is to take them off the supermarket list. If they are not in the fridge or cupboard then they are not available to eat.
  • Make healthy choices easier by preparing food ahead of time and storing in the desk or fridge at home or work. Try yoghurt, a glass of trim milk, small handful of nuts and dried or fresh fruit.
  • Including some protein in each meal helps keep you feel fuller for longer. Protein rich foods include meat, chicken, fish, low-fat cheese, eggs, milk, yoghurt, tofu, legumes (chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, etc.)
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables. They are an importance source of vitamins and minerals and provide a healthy alternative snack to calorie loaded snacks.
  • When thirsty drink tap water. Monitor your drinks intake as these can contain excess calories. Drinks don’t make you feel full, so you can drink a lot of sugar and alcohol (= energy) and still feel hungry.  Water is the best option for rehydrating the body. To make water more appealing try keeping water chilled in the fridge, and flavour with lemon or lime juice. ’Diet’ drinks or trim milk are also suitable drink options.
  • Make your meal (and your shopping trolley) up of the following:
    • half different colours of vegetables,
    • a quarter carbohydrate e.g. potatoes or rice and
    • one quarter a good source of protein such as lean meat or beans or eggs

Here are some ideas to increase your physical activity:

  • Walk or bike to the local shops/school/work rather than always taking the car.
  • Try to fit a 20-30 minute brisk walk into your day. Work out a time of day that works for you and make it a part of your daily routine.
  • Stand up and if you can walk around while talking on the phone.
  • Take the stairs rather than the lift wherever possible.
  • Find a buddy to walk or exercise with – help keep each other motivated.
  • Group fitness classes – there is something for everyone, from yoga and pilates to aerobics and boxing.
  • Dancing – this is a fun way to burn lots of energy. Try rock ‘n roll, salsa, jazz, ballroom or even belly dancing!
  • Skipping – which can be done in the privacy of your own home.
  • Indoor sports are growing in popularity and include squash, netball, cricket and soccer.
  • If you prefer the outdoors, try golf, tramping or orienteering.
  • Try activities in water like swimming, aqua-jogging and aqua-aerobics is supportive for ageing, stiff or sore limbs
  • Gardening and housework count as physical activity in your day so pull a few weeds or mop those floors.
  • Remember, any activity is better than none at all, just keep moving!

NEED HELP TO GET ACTIVE? Ask one of the nurses at StaffCare if you are interested in learning more about Green Prescription. Green Prescription is a support service that helps you to improve your health and feel better at the same time.