Tips for Weight Loss

Most overweight people have gained weight over months or years, which is why it takes more than a few weeks to lose it.

A steady, planned weight loss is better than opting for a quick fix.

For more information on how to make healthier choices can be found on the NHS Healthy Choices website. Further information is also available on the British Dietetic Association website.

Why quick fixes don't work

Quick fixes for weight loss are often advertised in magazines and on the Internet. However, they don't work in the long run because crash diets simply make us feel unwell and miserable, and we soon return to our previous habits (and our previous weight).

Regular use of quick fix diets can slow down the rate at which you burn calories in the long term and make it harder to lose weight. It is better to opt for a slow, sustainable weight loss as this mainly targets body fat. Adding in regular physical activity will help to burn those extra calories.

Setting a Realistic Target

It would be nice to wave a magic wand and reach your target weight immediately, but you need to be realistic. It is best to consider where you are starting from.

People with less than 2 stones (13 kg) to lose can aim to do this in one go. If you have more than this to lose, it is better to set yourself several small targets, e.g. to 1 stone (3-6 kg), as you will feel good when you reach each target.

Aim for a weight loss of to 1kg (1 to 2 lbs) a week. It is not unusual for weight loss to level off for a week or two but don't give up. If you keep going it will start to come down again. See the table below to find out how much time it could take you to reach your target weight loss. 

How much do you want to lose? Range of time
3kg (7 lb) 3-6 weeks
6 kg (14 lb) 7-13 weeks
13kg (2 stones) 3-6 months
19kg (3 stones) 5-10 months

Assessing Your Current Lifestyle

You can't change what you eat until you know more about your usual diet and physical activity. That's why keeping a three-day food and activity diary is a good idea. Try to be completely honest with yourself by picking three typical days you don't need to show it to anyone else. Remember to include all drinks and snacks, and try not to eat less than you normally do.

Once you have finished keeping your diary, circle foods that you could try to change, e.g. fatty foods, sugary foods, treats, crisps, alcohol, large portions, TV snacks, ice cream, fried foods or takeaways. Write down foods that you could eat instead, e.g. fruit, vegetables, wholegrain bread, low sugar breakfast cereals, low fat yoghurt.

Choose 1-3 things to change at a time so you don't overload yourself. You can use the diary to check how much time you spend being physically active and plan to increase this if you have not been active for at least 30 minutes a day.

Monitoring Progress

Most diets fail because we follow them for too little time or because we are not really following them correctly. The key to success is to keep track of what we are eating and how physically active we are since it helps us spot problems quickly and then do something about them.

Weekly checks of weight and monthly waist measurements will help you track your progress you can do this yourself or at a slimming group or club. Avoid standing on the scales every day as fluid changes can be misleading. Once a week is plenty.

After changing your lifestyle for a couple of months, think again about your diet and physical activity levels. How have you done? Regular monitoring will help prevent you slipping into old habits, particularly after holidays, or around celebrations. The more honest you are with yourself, the more successful you will be at making changes and sticking to them. Asking for support from family and friends can be helpful too.

Weight Management in Fife

Worried about your weight or maybe someone else's? If so, there are lots of options in Fife to help you and your family to eat more healthily and to become more physically active.

1st June 2016

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