Successful Weight Loss
For sensible and sustainable weight loss, it is essential to combine healthy eating with exercise. Restricting food intake alone by dieting will result in weight loss, but the amount and rate of loss is always improved by an increase in regular exercise.
There are many weight loss diets are on the market today. Although they appear to be different advising you to eat only certain foods or in different combinations, the majority work on the basic principle of reducing overall calorie intake. Consuming less calories than your body needs is the key to weight loss - if carried out sensibly. For sustainable weight loss, it is not recommended that you go below 1,400 calories per day.
Popular weight loss programs include:
- The Atkins diet
- The GI diet
- The Cabbage Soup diet
- 5:2 Diet
Many of the 'fashionable' weight loss diets are so restrictive it is unrealistic to stick to them for long and the majority of us just give up! The most successful approach to weight loss is not to be so restrictive, and set realistic targets of no more than 10% weight loss in one go. Breaking down your weight loss into milestones like this will encourage you to stay motivated and achieve your weight loss goal. Cutting down your calorie intake slowly, in stages, allows you to gradually adapt to a new lifestyle and weight loss will soon be achieved. Combining a healthy diet with exercise means weight loss will be achieved even quicker.
Your energy expenditure must be more than your energy intake in order for weight loss to be achieved. The daily recommended intake of calories for a woman is 2,000 and for a man 2,500.
In order to lose 1 pound of body fat your body must burn 3,500 calories in one week. At rest your body burns 1,800 calories (average person) and these calories usually come from the diet. So if you normally consume approximately 2,000 calories a day and you reduce your intake by 500 calories per day, in seven days your body should have burnt off one pound of body fat. The degree with which you reduce your calorie intake compared to what you would usually eat, will determine how much weight you lose. A realistic target is 1 to 2 pounds per week. It is important to that your weight loss is at a steady rate if you are to keep the weight off long term.
Tips to eat healthy & aid weight loss
- Eat breakfast - try wholegrain cereals and bread to keep you fuller for longer
- Cut down your total fat intake
- Reduce how much sugar you eat
- Cut down on salt
- Limit your alcohol consumption to 1 - 2 drinks a week (normal measures)
- Eat more fruit and vegetables
- Drink water instead of fruit juices
- Reduce portion sizes
- Eat small meals more regularly to avoid drops in blood sugar levels
Exercise uses energy in the form of burning calories and exercising alone can cause weight loss. For example, running for 30 minutes at 9 km/hour will burn off 320 calories. In theory, if you are consuming 1,800 calories in your diet and running for 30 minutes per day, in 11 days you would lose 1 pound of fat. This approach to weight loss is often favoured by men who prefer to increase their exercise level rather than eat less! The ideal way to lose weight is to cut your calorie intake by 500 calories per day AND exercise. For example if you run for 30 minutes per day, in 5 days you will have lost 1 pound of fat, making your calorie reduction less drastic and weight loss much more achievable.