Top 10 tips for managing your weight

Managing your weight is such an important part of looking after your health, but losing weight can feel like a daunting task. 

So many people claim to be experts with easy solutions. There are many different diet approaches to follow, such as low-carbohydrate, 5:2 and calorie counting to name just a few. Now with the recent spotlight on weight loss GLP-1 medications it can be difficult to know where to start, and what advice to trust. 

Read on for my top tips to help make your weight loss journey a little bit easier.

1. Finding an approach that works for you is important.

It needs to be an approach that will fit in with your family, work and financial situation. It also needs to be safe and effective. This is likely to be an approach that you can use for the rest of your life so it needs to be something you can stick to. There are many dietary approaches that you can try and speak with a healthcare professional about any approaches that you may be considering. In the meantime focus on eating a variety of fresh, unprocessed foods. Aim for plenty of vegetables, some fruit, wholegrains and lean proteins.

2. Try to reduce hidden and visible fats as much as possible.

Avoid frying as a cooking method, remove fat off meat and thinly apply any spread. If using fats include healthy fats such as olive oil.

3. Be mindful of portion sizes.

Using a smaller plate can help. Aim to keep your carbohydrate portion (rice, pasta, potatoes) to a quarter of the plate, lean protein (fish, meat, soya or tofu) to a quarter, and then the final half for vegetables or salad.

Half your plate should be salad or vegetables.

A quarter of your plate should be lean protein.

A quarter of your plate should be carbohydrate.

4. Think about your drinks.

Drink plenty of sugar free fluid throughout the day. This can help with feeling full and prevent hunger but do make sure it is sugar free fluid. Drinks like milky coffees, such as lattes, and fruit smoothies also can be high in calories without us noticing, and don’t often make us feel full or nourished. Alcohol is also very high in empty calories. These are calories that don’t provide any other nutrition at the same time. They are worth limiting as much as you can. 

5. Read your food labels.

This can help you become aware of the hidden ingredients in food, such as food with lots of salt and sugar. This will help you to make more nutritious food choices. You can check the nutrition information per 100g to see whether the sugar, fat or salt content is high or low.

SugarOver 22.5g/100gUnder 5g/100g
FatsOver 17.5g/100gUnder 3g/100g
Saturated fatOver 5g/100gUnder 1.5/100g
SaltOver 1.5g/100gUnder 0.3g/100g

The traffic light labelling system on food packaging helps identify what’s a lot and what’s a little for sugar, fat, saturated fat and salt. This will tell you at a glance if the food has high, medium or low amounts of these nutrients (depending on the colour coding). You should aim for mostly green and amber per portion size.

6. It really helps to start by setting realistic goals.

Your goals should be achievable and it can help to have some shorter term goals that help you reach your bigger goal. Remember to regularly check your progress to celebrate all your achievements, both big and small! Build a list of non-food related rewards that you can use to celebrate as you reach your goals. Your goals may include the way you feel, and not just a number on the scales!

7. Practise mindful eating.

Eat slowly, avoid distractions such as eating in front of the TV. This allows you to really enjoy the meal and allows you to recognise the signals of feeling full.

8. Increase your activity levels.

This can be by incorporating more exercise but can also include moving more through the day. This can be as simple as taking a short walk, using the stairs, or simply sitting less.

The Oviva app is a self-tracking tool.

9. Tracking what you eat can help you become more aware of your eating habits and helps you identify areas for improvement.

Keeping a food diary has been found to double someone’s weight loss. This is because in order to change our habits, we need to pay attention to what we are doing, when and why we are doing them and be able to link them to their immediate and long-term effects.

10. Be patient and kind to yourself.

Progress may be slow and there are likely to be good days and not so good days. Do not punish yourself for those bad days, but equally don’t let a bad day become a bad week or a bad month!

Use these top tips to revitalise your habits to help you feel more confident in managing your health. Remember, you do not have to do this alone. Seek support from your family, friends and healthcare professionals to ensure you have the right knowledge and skills to tackle this important task!