1. Eat High Protein Meals
A high protein diet for weight loss is popular for a reason. It works. Protein is a macro-nutrient (along with carbohydrate and fat) that increases feeling of fullness. The golden rule of weight loss (particularly after weight loss surgery) is ‘Protein First’. Always choose the protein component of a meal first then add the veg/salad and finally a high fibre carbohydrate.
The perfect portion of a protein food is about 90g. High protein foods include eggs, red meat, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, legumes and dairy foods (yoghurt/milk/cheese).
2. Track Your Calories
For weight loss, the average adult should stick to about 1200 calories per day. The easiest way to track this is to keep a food diary in an app that will calculate and track calories for you. While this can be time consuming and difficult to maintain long term; it is a great way to educate yourself about nutrition and your own dietary habits. Try tracking calories for the first month of weight loss then cut back to intermittent tracking for 7 days every 2-3 weeks. This is a self-monitoring tool that will keep you on track to achieving your goals and offers a nice alternative to fixating on the scales.
3. Avoid High Energy Drinks
Liquid calories are a sure way to never reach goal weight, so pay just as close attention to what you’re drinking as to what you’re eating. High calorie fluids can be detrimental to weight loss because they don’t provide a proportional level of satiety to the energy consumed. For example drinking a fruit juice will not fill you to the same level as eating a tin of tuna, yet the fruit juice is higher in calories. Water is always the best fluid choice. Aim to drink 2-3L of plain water daily and limit high energy drinks such as fruit juice, alcohol, soft drink, sports drinks, energy drinks and protein shakes.
4. Eat Slowly
Aim to take 20 minutes to finish every meal. Eating slowly allows you to better stay in touch with satiety cues. When eating quickly, it’s common to finish everything on the plate then feel overfull afterwards. Slowing down allows you to recognise feeling full before you reach stuffed full! This is an effective strategy for portion control without starving yourself and is crucial for those with a gastric band to ensure comfort at meal times. To slow down your speed of eating try timing yourself, using small cutlery, taking 10c piece bite sizes, chewing every mouthful to a paste before swallowing and sipping water between mouthfuls.
5. Exercise Daily
You will not lose weight without exercising regularly. While it is true that 80% of weight loss is about the food, without exercise you’re more likely to struggle getting the food part right. The mindset and health benefits of exercise are undeniable. The best time of day to exercise is first thing in the morning, before breakfast and before excuses can get in the way. Aim to exercise for 30 minutes daily comprising of a mix of cardio and resistance training (on different days). The hardest part of exercising is getting going. Once you’re out there it will always feel great. The sooner exercise becomes a non-negotiable part of your daily routine, the sooner you will see weight loss results.