How to lose weight healthily
What is the best way to lose weight?
Deciding to change your lifestyle and lose weight is a big decision that you should be proud of. You might want to change for health reasons, perhaps your GP has advised you to do so, or you simply want to feel better in your clothes. Whatever the reason, losing 10% of your body weight can help decrease your risk of developing certain conditions like type 2 diabetes.
You may hope to discover the quickest way to lose weight or how to lose weight fast so that your weight loss journey will feel easy and you’ll notice changes instantly. However there is no true quick fix, following crash diets can damage your health. The most sustainable and best way to lose weight and keep it off is to eat a healthy balanced diet and regularly exercise. Setting realistic goals and making changes to part of your life will allow you to change your habits and steadily lose weight.
We answer your frequently asked questions about weight loss:
The 12 best ways to lose weight
When you decide to lose weight it can be difficult to know where to start, you might want to turn to a quick-fix diet solution, however these are not sustainable. Instead you can make small lifestyle changes that can have a big effect as well as planning for the long run.
Long-term weight loss can be achieved by following this handy set of weight loss tips:
Eat breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and skipping it could mean you miss out on essential nutrients that your body needs. Also having breakfast could stop you from snacking more or reaching for the biscuits mid-morning.
Get into a healthy routine – Having regular mealtimes can help to ward off snacking, as well as helping you to burn calories at a faster rate by boosting your metabolism.
Add fruit and vegetables to your diet – Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that support your body’s processes, as well as being low in fat and calories they are high in fibre. Aim for at least 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day and introduce a wide variety of tastes and colours into your meals.
Stay hydrated – Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help your body to function, while flushing out toxins and increasing your brain power. You may also find that feelings of hunger decrease often when we think we’re hungry we’re actually thirsty.
Get moving – A key part of losing weight is introducing exercise into your routine, and making sure that it is something you enjoy will mean you are able to keep it up in the long-term. Not only will you experience a wealth of health benefits, such as lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes, you’ll also burn off calories.
Reduce portion sizes – Using a smaller plate can help you to eat smaller portions by tricking your brain into thinking that the plate is full. Also eating slowly and stop eating before you feel full will also help you to lose weight, as it takes 20 minutes for our stomach to tell our brain that it is full.
Eat plenty of fibre rich foods – Foods rich in fibre help us to feel fuller for longer which is great when you’re trying to lose weight. Fibre is found in; fruits, vegetables, wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta as well as beans, lentils and peas. Adding these foods into your meals can help you fight snack attacks and reduce your portion sizes.
Don’t be too restrictive – Telling yourself that you can’t have a certain food will only make you want it more. Instead stay within your calorie allowance and have a bit of what you fancy in moderation. It is ok to have a treat from time to time, and making sure that you enjoy your new healthy eating plan will mean that you will stick to it. Remember that this is a lifestyle change not a diet.
Get the whole family involved by eating and cooking together – Losing weight is easier when you have the support of your family and friends, get the kids to help you make new dishes or try new vegetables. Planning your meals together and sitting down to eat at the table can also help you to stay on track.
Lower your alcohol intake – Did you know that a pint of lager has the same calories as a bag of crisps? Being aware of the calories in alcoholic drinks can help you to lose weight.
Plan your meals and prepare food in advance – Writing down what meals you’ll have throughout the week or writing a weekly shopping list can help you to stay on plan, and stick to your calorie allowance. Why not take a salad to work rather than grabbing a ready-made sandwich in the canteen?
Swap your snacks – Instead of reaching for biscuits, crisps or chocolates when you’re feeling hungry instead choose 100 calories snacks, such as peanut butter with apple or homemade popcorn. To find more tasty snacks visit the NHS website.
Fake your takeaway – Making healthier food choices doesn’t mean going without a Friday night treat. Find a way to re-create your favourite takeaway by cooking from scratch, using less oil or adding more veg. Or if you do order takeaway, opt for lighter tomato based dishes rather than ones with cream, coconut milk and full fat cheese.
Get more Zs – Getting more sleep at night can really help with a healthy lifestyle. Making sure you are well rested means you don’t go reaching for unhealthy, sugary snacks when your energy levels get low. By eating well, moving more and getting your 8 hours sleep, you could notice a positive effect on your lifestyle; both physically and mentally.
How to lose weight fast
If you’re looking at how you can lose weight fast for an event or holiday that’s coming up there are weight loss aids you can try such as shakes, tablets and supplements. However losing weight quickly is not the best way to lose weight and can be detrimental to your health and weight loss journey.
Drastic diets, fads and exercise routines might result in quick weight loss but they’re unlikely to work in the long run. These kinds of lifestyle changes cannot be maintained and once you stop the diet or regime you’re likely to return to your old ways and gain weight like before.
What is a healthy weight loss per week?
A safe rate of weight loss is 0.5kg to 1kg (1lb to 2lb) per week. Losing weight at a rate more than 1 to 2lbs (0.5-1kg) per week can increase your risk of certain health problems like malnutrition, as well as making you feel unwell and tired. You might find that quickly losing weight makes you feel sluggish as well as affecting your levels of concentration.
The NHS has a 12 week weight loss plan that you can download and follow at home. It is based on combining healthy eating with exercise, so that you find the perfect balance. As well as tips and advice that will help you to make lifestyle changes that you can stick to.
Diabetes and weight loss
If you’re living with type 1 or 2 diabetes and are looking to lose weight, there are ways to stay healthy and active whilst managing your condition. Head over to our diabetes and weight loss for more support on weight management, as well as ideas on reducing your calorie intake and boosting fitness levels.
How many calories should I eat to lose weight?
Controlling your calorie intake and being aware of what you eat can help you to lose weight, as well as introducing exercise into your daily routine. If we consume more calories than we need and more than our bodies can use for energy, the excess is stored as fat around our bodies.
The average man needs 2,500kcals a day to maintain a healthy weight, and an average woman needs around 2,000kcals a day to do the same. However these values vary depending on numerous factors like your age, level of physical activities and size.
If you’re looking to lose weight, this can be done by lowering the amount of calories you consume and becoming more active. Healthily weight loss is classed by a loss of 1 to 2lbs (0.5 -1kg) per week, which can be achieved if you eat around 500 to 600 fewer calories than you need a day*. For example, an average woman could consume 1400-1500kcals a day and be able to lose weight.
Can stress cause you to gain weight?
Many people find that when they are feeling stressed or upset they turn to food for comfort or tend to overeat, this is because stress released the hormone cortisol. The types of food that you crave during this time can change too, as cortisol triggers cravings for foods high in salt, fat and sugar. Recognising that you are feeling stressed and might begin to overeat could help you to control your urges, before you reach for the comfort food why not think about why you are feeling this way and what you can do to change it.
Is my weight harming my health?
To see whether your weight might be damaging your health you’ll first need to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). This will indicate whether you are a healthy weight for your height and sex.
- A healthy bodyweight range is defined as a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9
- A BMI below 18.5 is underweight
- Between 25 and 30 is overweight
- A BMI of 30 or more is classified as obese
Please note your BMI is only an indication of total bodyweight and tells little about the proportion of muscle to fat mass.