Embarking on a health kick is a common goal for many Australians – especially at this time of year. But in a world where fad diets are all over social media, sometimes it’s important to take a step back from the noise and return to sensible weight-loss tips that actually work.
Here are 6 weight-loss rules to follow for the best chance of success.
1. Eat more protein
‘Eat protein with every meal’ is a weight loss mantra to stick by. Protein not only helps you feel fuller for longer, meaning you’re less likely to reach for seconds, but high protein foods take more energy to digest and metabolise, which means you burn more calories processing them.
Add eggs, almonds, oats, chicken breast, Greek yoghurt and lean beef to your shopping trolley.
2. Change your plate ratios
Weighing and measuring out food before you eat it is fiddly, not to mention a pain. Instead, use this simple rule when loading your plate: fill half of it with vegetables, one quarter with protein and one quarter with carbs.
Most Australians don’t eat enough vegies. Increasing vegie portions at each meal will automatically reduce the amount of other more energy-dense foods on your plate – meaning your clothing will soon begin to feel loose.
3. Don’t skip carbs
Protein is good, but that’s no reason to avoid carbs, that will just make you sad. And hungry. The trick is to eat the right kind of carbs, ones that contain resistant starch, which help you lose weight, according to research.
Load up on brown rice and pasta, beans, lentils and sweetcorn, ripe bananas and sweet potatoes.
4. See your GP
It is good to check in with your doctor before you start your weight loss journey to get assessed and get the right advice. You can also discuss any concerns you have about any medications you’re taking that may influence your diet or weight loss efforts and if any of your health conditions could be related to your weight.
5. Get more active in and out of the gym
Even if you are using your gym membership (good for you!), too much sedentary time is associated with weight gain, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
There are also a range of effective at-home workouts, like Sam Wood’s simple home workout that will have you burning a sweat without setting foot inside a gym.
Get a cheap pedometer to motivate you to clock up 10,000 steps a day and park far away from the shops or train station, so you can squeeze in an extra 10-minute walks during the week. It all counts.
6. Stay encouraged and informed
Some days you won’t feel particularly motivated to eat well and exercise, so it’s important to find ways to stay encouraged. Rather than turning to untrained social media influencers and bloggers, look to trained professionals and their free online resources.
No Money No Time, for example, is a website developed by a team of dietitians and nutritionists at the University of Newcastle. It even has a free quiz you can take that will help you assess how healthy your diet is currently and discover the ways you can improve it.