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  • Writer's pictureNicole Musuwo

Top tips for weight loss

Updated: 7 days ago



When it comes to weight loss, there is no single food or supplement that can lead to weight loss. Whilst you may see initial weight loss from diets which drastically reduce food/calorie intake, this may not lead to sustainable body fat loss. Here are our top tips for a sustainable approach to weight loss:


  1. Eat more protein: Not only are protein-rich foods filling, but our body uses more energy to break down protein compared to carbs and fats. Eating sufficient protein will also help to retain lean mass during weight loss. (1) Aim for daily protein intake of at least 1.2-1.6.g/kg of your body weight. For example, if bodyweight is 60kg, protein intake should be 72-96g per day. It is not necessary to take supplements such as protein powder - you can get sufficient protein from foods such as lean meat, fish, tofu/tempeh, beans and eggs. Spread your protein intake throughout the day - don't leave it for dinner!

  2. Do not cut out carbs: Carbohydrates (carbs) are the brain and body's preferred energy source. They also provide many vitamins. There are 3 main types of carbs: starchy carbs (i.e., bread, rice, potatoes), fibre (ie., fruit, vegetables) and sugars. Include wholegrain versions of starchy carbs and fibre, such as wholemeal bread, potatoes with the skin, brown rice; and limit intake of added/free sugars found in sweets, honey, chocolates etc. Limiting added sugars will also be beneficial for dental health. Whilst fruit juice and smoothies contain vitamins and minerals, limit these to 150ml per day as they are considered a source of free sugars. (2)

  3. Do not cut out your favourite foods: Chocolates, pizza, sweets...Restricting foods you want can often lead to wanting the desired food more. Often, this results in eating that food in excess in one sitting, subsequently feeling guilty and then the cycle repeats. Allow yourself to have less healthful foods you enjoy once in a while, it’s about moderation.

  4. Reduce alcohol intake: One gram of alcohol contains 7 calories (for comparison, 1g of carbohydrate is 4kcal and 1g of protein is 4kcal). An average 5% pint of beer has ~220kcal and a 175ml glass of wine ~160kcal. (3) It’s easy to exceed daily calorie intake goals when drinking alcohol.

  5. Add more variety to your diet: Think about what you can add into your diet rather than what you can take out. More fruit, veg, pulses, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, water? Diversifying your diet also has positive benefits for your gut microbiome and health.

  6. Do physical activity you enjoy: Find a form of physical activity you enjoy, that way it’s easier to stick to. Strength training in particular is beneficial for weight loss - having more muscle can help to increase your metabolism - meaning you burn more energy/calories at rest! (4) However, the gym is not the only place to be active - think home workouts, cycling, swimming, running, hiking, dance and more! The key is to move your body a little each day.

  7. Get enough sleep: Insufficient sleep can lead to increased hunger, cravings for foods high in sugar and fat and reduced likelihood of being active. (5) Aim for 7-9 hours sleep each night.

  8. Plan and prepare meals in advance: Having a regular meal structure, such as 3 meals a day, will help to spread your energy intake throughout the day and reduce likelihood of snacking, especially on foods high in fat and sugar. Try to plan your meals and snacks for the week. This will help to prevent last minute takeaways and buying less healthy foods when out/at work. You may find it helpful to bulk cook meals over the weekend.

When it coms to weight loss, one size does not fit all. What has worked for a friend, a celebrity, a family member, will not necessarily work for you. An individualised approach is most likely to be successful for long-term weight loss. (6)


For many, social media is becoming a major source of health information and misinformation. Think about who is giving out nutrition and health advice, always check the credentials of the individuals. If something sounds too good to be true, it likely is.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with having a weight loss goal, it is also beneficial to think and reflect on other benefits from nourishing your body better and moving more. For example, improved mental health, becoming fitter, stronger.



References:

  1. Heather J Leidy, Peter M Clifton, Arne Astrup, Thomas P Wycherley, Margriet S Westerterp-Plantenga, Natalie D Luscombe-Marsh, Stephen C Woods, Richard D Mattes. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 101, Issue 6, 2015, Pages 1320S-1329S. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.114.084038.

  2. Lopez P, Taaffe DR, Galvão DA, et al. Resistance training effectiveness on body composition and body weight outcomes in individuals with overweight and obesity across the lifespan: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews. 2022; 23(5):e13428. doi:10.1111/obr.13428

  3. Papatriantafyllou E, Efthymiou D, Zoumbaneas E, Popescu CA, Vassilopoulou E. Sleep Deprivation: Effects on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. Nutrients. 2022 Apr 8;14(8):1549. doi: 10.3390/nu14081549.

  4. Kim JY. Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. J Obes Metab Syndr. 2021 Mar 30;30(1):20-31. doi: 10.7570/jomes20065.

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