10 tips for long-term weight-loss success
Dr Nick Fuller
Leading Obesity Expert at the University of Sydney and founder of Interval Weight Loss.
We all know that obesity rates are going up. But, in an environment conducive to weight gain - fast food and motor vehicles - and the dependence on the next quick fix or magic bullet that hits the shelves, what hope do we have?
From the 1980s to this day, obesity rates have trebled. When it comes to our health, it often falls down the bottom of the priority list, with lack of time cited as the common stumbling block. But, without our health we have nothing.
This year set achievable and realistic goals that lead to long term lifestyle changes. Start with these 10 steps:
1. Use chopsticks when eating
Yes, chopsticks! With every meal, sit down and try to master the use of chopsticks. This is a sure way to slow down your eating speed and will allow time for the signals to be sent from your stomach to your brain to tell you you’re full.
Tip: Serve up your evening meal on a small plate or small sized rice bowl to reduce the portion being served.
2. Weigh yourself once a week
Your weight can fluctuate up to 1.5 kg over the course of a day. Obsessing over your body weight and weighing yourself repeatedly over the course of a day is not the answer and will only compound the issue even more. Day-to-day variations in your weight is not true fat gain or fat loss, but instead just fluctuations in the water content in your body, largely determined by what you ate or how much you’ve been sweating.
If you haven’t been on the scales in quite some time, buy a pair of scales and weigh yourself. After all, it’s only a number and checking it each week and monitoring the trend over time is less likely to see it go up, but rather observe it go down.
Tip: Weigh yourself at the same time and day each week.
3. Turn off the ‘noise’ at the evening meal
Dinner is the most important meal from a social and cultural perspective but it shouldn’t be the biggest meal of the day. It’s a time to reflect on your day and should be eaten away from all forms of sound and technological distraction. In fact, you will reduce your consumption of food by a whopping 30% if you can hear yourself eating.
Tip: Take out the headphones and turn off the TV; talk to your partner or family, and if you live alone try writing in a journal.
4. Socialise without food
Who say’s social catch ups need to be centered on food? They don’t. Next time you catch up with your friend, suggest going for a walk or doing another activity that you both enjoy.
Tip: Find a new hobby that you can both do together.
5. Stack food supplies in your office
We spend a large chunk of our day in the workplace and often our hectic day means time escapes us, only to result in skipping meals. Relying on the vending machine when those mid-afternoon hunger pangs creep is only going to add to the waistline. Stock your workplace with go-to foods - such as nuts, fruit and yoghurt – to ensure you always have a range of nutritious snacks on hand.
Tip: Take in some foods at the start of the week to set yourself up for success.
6. Turn off technology after dinner
This is the most dangerous time of the day for our health. Switching off and relaxing in front of the TV is fine on occasions, but be mindful that it’s likely to result in you reaching for food. Pick your favourite shows for the week and limit your viewing to those days. Comfort yourself with a warm drink - but no caffeine - and if you feel like a treat make sure they are individually wrapped to avoid eating the whole packet.
Tip: Work towards three TV-free days per week.
7. Drink water before every meal
Drinking water before every meal is a good way to ensure you stay hydrated. But, it’s also a great way to cut back on your portions. Drinking two cups of water before each meal will result in your eating less – 75 calories less at each meal!
Tip: Carry a water bottle with you and leave one on your work desk so you sip on it throughout the day.
8. Pack your lunch
A take-away meal is not only three to four times the cost of making it at home – it’s also double the calorie content. Each evening when you are preparing dinner, cook a little extra so you can take it as leftovers for lunch the following day.
Tip: Serve up your dinner and dish the leftovers into Tupperware containers straight away to avoid the temptation of going back for seconds.
9. Carry comfy shoes for walking
It’s not always possible to set aside time in the day for structured exercise and one of the most practical times to get in your activity is to and from work. Don’t make the mistake of wearing shoes that you can’t walk in and always carry some spares in your bag.
Tip: Get off a station or bus stop earlier, or if practical, walk from home.
10. Get your 5 serves of veg a day
95% of the population fail to eat the recommended serves of veggies per day. Adding them to each meal will not only allow you to eat more, but it will also fill you up for longer.
Tip: Keep some frozen vegetables in the freezer and some longer-lasting vegetables, such as potato, pumpkin, carrots, cabbage and sweet potato in the fridge, to ensure you always have nutritious produce on hand.