Over half of people in Britain are overweight or obese and this is expected to increase over the next 20 years. There are many health risks of being very overweight including an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and some cancers. There are no special diets or foods which can cause successful weight loss long term. Neither can diets cause weight loss from a particular part of your body; weight loss occurs in the areas where fat has been stored – usually on the hips and thighs in women, and around the stomach in men.
The safest and most effective way to lose excess weight is to lose weight gradually, about 1-2 lbs (approximately 0.5-1.0 kg) a week, by an overall lifestyle change including eating a healthy balanced diet and increasing your physical activity.
The UK Department of Health recommends that you do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on five or more days a week. However, if you’re trying to lose or maintain weight loss, it is recommended that you do more activity than this. In addition, to lose 1-2lbs per week you will need to a calorific deficit of 500-1000kcals per day, which might mean declining a dessert or reducing your portion sizes. However, the amount of weight you lose will depend on how much weight you need to lose, your gender and your activity levels. This gradual weight loss is safer, healthier and the weight loss is more likely to be maintained over time.
Lose weight safely by:
- Setting yourself a realistic goal for how much weight you want to lose.
- Drawing up a healthy eating plan, incorporating plenty of wholegrain foods, fruit and vegetables, milk and dairy foods and non-dairy sources of protein e.g. meat, fish, beans, rather than concentrating solely on weight loss.
- Not skipping meals as this can result in tiredness and poor nutrition. You will also be more likely to snack on high-fat and high-sugar foods, which could result in weight gain
- Including moderate physical activity as part of your regular daily routine.
- Keeping motivated by setting yourself rewards for reaching a target weight or meeting your physical activity goals for that week.
- Keeping a diary as you go along – if things don’t go to plan, it may help you to see what went wrong and how to avoid the same mistakes. • Making losing weight fun – exercise with friends and family, or get them to also try to lose weight for moral support.