I am trying to desperately lose weight but just don’t seem to be having any success and often fail within the first month. Can you offer some advice for maintaining motivation? I try to stop eating the bad foods but just find myself in front of the fridge eating them.
Answer: Try to think of losing weight as a positive challenge, rather than a short-term diet with good or bad foods. All foods can be good for us in some way, whether it be for our body or soul. The thing to be mindful of is how much you eat of these soul-pleasing foods!
The graphic below shows the cycle of craving foods. The easiest way to crave something is to tell yourself you can’t have it. Once you have stopped this train of thought, you may find you have more success with weight loss.
The best approach to weight loss is to make sure the majority of your everyday food is nutritious and wholesome. Include foods from the four major foods groups, plus small amounts of healthy fats:
1.Fruit & vegetables (fresh, frozen or canned in natural juice)
2.Carbohydrate foods (wholegrain bread, rolls, pasta, rice, muesli, quinoa)
3.Protein foods (beef, lamb, poultry, seafood, eggs, legumes, tofu, nuts)
4.Milk products (milk, cheese, yoghurt)
5.Healthy fats (avocado, nuts, seeds, oily fish, olive oil, canola oil, margarine)
Once you have the type of foods sorted, the next thing to look at is how much you are eating. To lose weight, you do need to reduce your portions slightly. But, the good news is you don’t have to starve, and food can still be scrumptious! The best way to ensure you are eating the right amounts of each food group is to use a smaller sized plate, then serve yourself a “healthy plate” at meal times.
A healthy plate means is one filled with the following:
- ½ plate non-starchy vegetables (e.g. peas, carrot, broccoli, eggplant, lettuce, tomato, onion)
- ¼ plate starchy vegetables or carbohydrate foods (e.g. potato, kumara, corn, rice, quinoa, pasta, wholegrain bread)
- ¼ plate low-fat dairy or protein foods (e.g. lean meat, skinless chicken, seafood, tofu, legumes, nuts, low-fat cheese, yoghurt, egg)
While you should eat plenty of healthy foods each day, it’s totally okay to enjoy a small treat if that’s what you feel like. Just make sure it’s small and don’t feel guilty about it! Try 2 squares of dark chocolate, a couple of marshmallows, or fruit crumble served with yoghurt. Remember: food isn’t going to disappear and there is always tomorrow so you don’t have to eat it all today!
It’s easier to lose weight if you work towards a goal or date. For example, you might have a family gathering in August or September that you work towards to keep up your motivation. A healthy rate of weight loss is 0.5-1.0Kg per week. If your goal is to lose 6 kilos, it may take you anywhere from 6-12 weeks. So don’t despair if you don’t see immediate results. Long-term weight loss takes time.
Exercise also plays an important part in weight loss. It helps to increase the amount of energy you’re using up, increases muscle mass to support a faster metabolism, and releases feel-good endorphins to make you feel great!
Above all, enjoy being active, eating food, and the pleasure it brings. Learn to love cooking and eating healthy food, and you will never think of it as a diet.
|Emily is the Nutritionist at Healtheries. For more information about Healtheries, one of New Zealand's most trusted health brands, visit www.healtheries.co.nz or phone 0800 848 254.|