Much misinformation exists in the media and even in medical circles about the correct way to lose weight gradually but steadily, with long-term goals of maintaining the weight loss. This article explores ways to maintain a healthy weight.
How do I lose weight, especially body fat weight?
Seeing a Dietician is a good step, as the Dietician will assess YOUR lifestyle, YOUR medical background, YOUR current eating habits including food/drink likes and dislikes, YOUR triggers for eating, and YOUR body composition. With this assessment in mind, she/he will counsel you appropriately with standard proven scientific tips as to how to carry out a healthy lifestyle including healthy eating, and exercise suitable for you. In addition, a completely individualized eating plan will be designed for you taking into account YOUR job, YOUR type and times of sport/exercise, YOUR family situation, and YOUR budget. This practical approach to weight loss will start you off on a journey to successful sustainable weight loss by means of healthy affordable food choices that one will stay with life-long. No fads are recommended as the result is a yo-yo of weight loss and gain, and the gain always comes with a “little extra” – usually extra body fat!
The critical thing is that one can lose weight whilst eating healthy filling foods: NO STARVATION DIETS!
What are the main causes of obesity?
is effectively an imbalance of ENERGY:
All food contains energy. A person’s body uses food for energy to live.
When one eats more food
than what they need, the extra is stored in the body as FAT resulting in one becoming
Major causes of obesity:
Too much food at each meal
Too many snacks between meals
Too many energy-rich foods
High sugar cold drinks
Family pressures and social outings
STRESS (stress & emotional eating)
Physically inactive / less active than one should be
Low basal metabolic rate
In general, obese people
eat too much of most foods, especially foods with excess fat and sugar.
They are also often
By following a well-balanced eating plan, with food from ALL the food groups; and by incorporating good lifestyle habits such as regular exercise and having enough sleep, steady and SUSTAINED weight loss CAN be achieved.
Fads including the Banting Diet / Paleo diet are NOT recommended, as results are NOT sustainable; and the diet itself is imbalanced. Serious health concerns such as hypoglycaemic episodes, and increase in blood lipid levels (cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides) can and do result from following these diets.
What is the healthiest, most sustainable and most responsible way to obtain and maintain a healthy weight?
Address 3 important aspects:
What you eat
Why you eat
Activity / Exercise
Change what you eat
FAT makes FAT
Reduce ALL fat intake
Less butter / margarine / oil
Cut fat off meat, skin off chicken BEFORE cooking
Avoid processed meats (viennas, polony, etc.)
Use skim / low-fat milk; fat-free yoghurt
Read food labels: <5g fat/serving
Avoid takeaways (Keep some frozen meals on standby for days when you’re rushed for time or don’t feel like cooking)
When eating out choose:
Grilled fish/chicken (no basting sauce)
Salad (no dressing)
Vegetables (sauces to be served separately)
Pasta (tomato-based sauce)
Fruit salad or sorbet
Include nuts, avocados, olives, olive & canola oil
Use a little from this group daily (e.g. 2 Tbs nuts OR ½ small avocado OR olives in a salad plus 1-2 tsp. olive/canola oil)
Eat more FRUIT and VEGETABLES EVERY DAY – 5 servings per day
Eat 5 small meals and snacks per day
Drink LOTS of WATER
Choose CARBOHYDRATE foods that have a LOW GI (Glycaemic Index)
The GLYCAEMIC INDEX (GI) refers to CARBOHYDRATE FOODS and is a measurement of the extent to which that food will elevate blood glucose (sugar) levels relative to pure glucose. It is an indication of how fast the carbohydrates are broken down and then absorbed as glucose, which is the body’s primary source of energy.
HIGH GI CARBS: are digested and
absorbed very rapidly as blood glucose and spike blood sugar levels with a
subsequent sudden plummeting of blood sugar levels causing symptoms such as
chronic fatigue, sudden tiredness, headaches, irritability, the “shakes” etc.
Foods with a High GI are not good
Foods with a LOW GLYCAEMIC INDEX take longer
to digest and will NOT cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels – these are
the foods to choose, as through sustaining blood sugar levels, they
sustain energy levels. They also assist in the speeding up of one’s metabolism.
Breakfast cereals such as Hi-Fibre Bran, raw Oat Bran, heavy low-fat muesli, Whole-wheat Original / Apple Bake ProNutro, Soya Life porridge, cooked oats
LEGUMES: baked beans, lentils, green beans, butter beans etc.
Fresh fruits and vegetables – use plenty
Low-fat, fat-free or 1% milk and Low-Fat and Fat-Free yoghurt.
Snacks: popcorn, Low GI low-fat bars
Refined and High GI “quick-release” carbohydrate
foods, such as:
White / brown (light, fluffy) breads & bread rolls
Rice cakes, snack bread, Cream Crackers, Marie biscuits etc.
Refined breakfast cereals, such as Weetbix, Oat-so-Easy, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Coco Pops
Sports / Energy Drinks, e.g. Energade, Game etc. (these are “Sports” drinks NOT “Spectator” drinks!)
Sweets, chocolates, marshmallows, crisps
Cake flour, cornflour, sugar
The food group with the lowest GI: LEGUMES
BEANS AND LEGUMES play a significant role in weight loss. They are:
Low GI (GI values <55 are classified as LOW GI)
Soya beans GI is 14
Lentils GI is 26
Red Kidney beans GI is 26
Chickpeas GI is 28
Butterbeans GI is 31
Split peas GI is 32
Baked beans in tomato sauce GI is 48
Full of fibre
Very low in fat
Cheap! Great for extending meat/vegetable dishes
A good source of protein
**FILLING: by choosing beans and legumes often, meals and snacks become more filling, satisfying one more quickly, and sustaining one for longer. Blood glucose levels stabilize, and as such craving for high GI high-Fat foods disappear.
EXAMPLES of how to use beans and legumes in a Weight-Loss and/or Diabetic and/or a general Healthy Diet:
Baked beans on Low GI toast
Hummus on Provitas
Dipped celery/cherry tomatoes in hummus
Red kidney beans in your green salad
Bean / lentil soup
Couscous salad with chickpeas
Pita with leftover chilli con carne
Chilli Con Carne
Add baked beans/lentils to your mince
Butter beans with pasta
Ask yourself: WHY do we eat?
Do you only eat when you are hungry?
A GOOD rule is: Stop eating when you are satisfied
It is possible to free yourself of food so that it no longer rules
Are you an emotional eater?
Tips, tips, tips…
Exercising burns up energy.
Aim to exercise for 30 minutes every day
Many health benefits of exercise
Exercising makes us feel good
Plan to do 2½ hours/week (30 min/day) of some form of physical activity
Change bad eating habits
Identify circumstances / situations / activities that lead to eating
STOP eating for the wrong reasons
In the morning ask yourself “What will I do today?” NOT “What will I
Work at changing your lifestyle to improve your health.
Losing weight takes time
“Crash” diets DON’T work
Keep a FOOD DIARY
Take a packed lunch (less fattening)
For every kilogram lost:you reduce your risk of developing diabetes by 16%!!!
For every 5kg of excess weight lost, the risk of heart attack or stroke drops by 50%
Sleeping patterns improve with the loss of excess weight = improved productivity and effectivity