Has lockdown weight grain been a problem for you? Well, in simple terms, to lose weight you need to eat fewer calories that you burn up as energy so your body has to burn fat reserves to keep you going, so the pounds fall away. So, whether you like it or not, you will have to eat not only less but better (ditching the crisps, bikkies, cakes and so on). However, this blog is about top tips to help you manage your diet and lose weight.
A couple of reminders before we get to the tips for weight loss…
You need start with a healthy diet… See my blog post Enjoy Foods to Boost Your Mood and Your Immune System.
Don’t forget, too, that exercise helps not only because it is sensible to keep yourself fit, but because you burn more energy (so more calories) moving around than sitting on your backside! But this is about practical eating tips for helping you lose weight so here goes…
Never go shopping for food when you are hungry
You’ll buy all the rubbish you are trying to avoid. Much better not to buy crisps, biscuits and cakes. You can’t eat what’s not there so you are more likley to lose weight than if those temptations are sitting staring at you in the cupboard.!
Use a smaller plate
It will then look generously full even though you have cut down your portions so there is less to eat.
Cut food into smaller pieces or thinner slices
That way you can have the same number of pieces (such as potatoes) or slices (such as meat) you would usually have but you’ll be eating up to half the amount.
Eat small forkfuls
Rather than piling as much on as you can and shovelling it in. Chew slowly too and savour every mouthful.
Take your time over your meal
Rushing your food will not help your diet. You are much more likely to feel hungry soon after if it is not properly digested. If you give yourself time to enjoy it, less can feel a whole lot more!
Make your meal look appetising
A sprinkling of fresh herbs or the vegetables attractively arranged will help you enjoy what you are eating.
Fill up on green, red, orange or yellow vegetables or salad
The more colours the better to give you all the phytonutrients you need to help keep your body healthy and they are great filler-uppers.
Say no to second helpings if you want to lose weight
This one takes will-power but if you’ve had a plate of food there is no need to eat more – just think of those extra unwanted calories. AND those extra potatoes or whatever can be used at another meal (that’s what fridges are for!).
Choose low-calorie, dressings condiments and drinks
Always check the labels and go for the sugar-free, reduced or low-fat options. Chose low-fat or fat-free dairy too.
Ways to fight feeling hungry
Keep a packet with you at all times and chew a piece whenever you feel hungry. It can really stave off hunger pangs until the next meal time.
Drink a glass of sparkling water
Zip it up with ice and a slice of lemon or lime, if liked. The fizz can help fill that hunger gap – good to drink with a meal too as it feels more substantial in your tummy than plain water.
A mug of Marmite or Bovril, instant miso soup or chicken Oxo
They are savoury, satisfying and low in calories so ideal to fill you up mid morning or as part of a meal.
Clean your teeth!
Next time you feel like grabbing a handful of nuts or crisps, reaching for the chocolate or biscuit tin, gently brush your teeth, using a pleasant minty toothpaste. It really helps!
Although not to be encouraged as they just fuel the craving for sweet things, if you are desperate, they are a better option. BUT beware eating a lot of them as too much sorbitol – the artificial sweetener used – can cause an upset stomach.
Watch out for low-fat biscuits
They may well have less fat but they will often have more sugar to compensate for texture and flavour and could well be higher in calories! READ THE LABELS!
Alcohol – you can drink (a bit) and still lose weight!
Alcohol is added calories so best avoided when trying to lose weight but if you really don’t want to give up completely, then have no more than the safe limit (14 units a week). If you must have a spirit, have a single (approx. 55 calories) with a low-calorie mixer. Alternatively, have a spritzer (wine topped with sparkling water (approx. 40 calories), or a beer shandy (normal strength beer and low-calorie lemonade around 50 calories, or 10 calories for a can of ready-prepared stuff). A low alcohol wine or beer will have fewer calories that a high strength one. Go for dry not sweet drinks.
Tips when drinking
Have a smaller glass. Take a sip then put your drink down. If you hold it in your hand it will disappear incredibly quickly! Put plenty of ice in the glass when having a spirit and mixer.
Nibbles with a drink
These can be your downfall – huge amounts of calories in crisps, peanuts or olives. Little gherkins (cornichons) are a better option, or a few crudites with a little tzatziki dip (yogurt with chopped or grated cucumber, mint and seasoning) are healthier ideas. If you must have crunch, then nibble a mini rice cake or two (SnackaJacks are low calorie). Or try adding a scraping of Marmite, low-fat soft cheese or peanut butter (no added oil or salt) to a wholegrain crispbread and cut into little squares to nibble.