During this lockdown period it’s been all too easy to turn to comfort food and overindulge with goodies. Whilst nobody would blame you for having the occasional treat, there’s no doubt that it can be habit-forming.
The reality is that you want to have enough energy to run around with your kids and grandkids. You want to reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain cancers. And most of all, you want to feel better about yourself.
So, you’ll be pleased to hear that you don’t need to start following fad diets or deprive yourself of whole food groups to get in shape.
By eating a healthy balanced diet, becoming more aware of the hidden ingredients in everyday foods and making small changes to your lifestyle, you can lose weight the healthy way.
Here are some weight management tips…
1. Fill your plate with fruit and veg
If you want to lose weight, have tons of energy and get healthy, make sure you’re eating at least five portions of fruit and veg per day.
These foods are packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that will keep you looking and feeling healthy. They’re also high in fibre so they will keep you feeling fuller for longer and help you avoid those high calorie, unhealthy choices.
Almost all fruits and veggies count towards the NHS recommended 5-a-day, including fresh, dried and canned foods. So why not try tender broccoli, deliciously sweet peas, crunchy carrots, sweet peppers, sweetcorn, tomatoes, cucumber, apples, pears, plums or whatever else takes your fancy?
2. Reduce the amount of processed food you eat
Processed, packaged foods make life easier when you have a busy life or you’re not in the mood to cook. However, they often contain high levels of fats, sugars, salts and other additives that could contribute to your weight problem and cause or worsen other health problems.
If you really can’t resist eating something from a packet, make sure you check the label to find out what it contains. The handy traffic light system that’s used on food labels in Britain makes it easy to understand the nutritional content of your food.
3. Make healthy snack swaps
We all enjoy snacks from time to time. They’re a great way to bridge the gap between meals and calm those hunger pangs.
The only problem is, they too can often contain high levels of fats, sugars, salts and other unhealthy ingredients that can contribute to weight problems and health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
Luckily, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your treats and go hungry. Instead, make healthier swaps that will keep your hunger in check without leaving you feeling deprived.
For example, instead of choosing a blueberry muffin for your midmorning snack, why not choose a currant bun instead? Or swap those cheese biscuits for rice cakes with low fat cheese spread. Or choose freshly made popcorn instead of the caramel version.
You can find tons of great snack swaps and healthy meal ideas on the NHS Change for Life website.
4. Enjoy healthy fats
Healthy fats form an essential part of a healthy diet and should be included in your weight loss plan too. They help your skin, heart and hormones stay healthy and help you to feel satisfied after your meals.
Instead of eating fried foods, cookies, cakes and snack foods that are high in unhealthy trans fats and hydrogenated oils, switch to a healthier version.
Choose healthy fats that are rich in omega 3 such as olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocados and oily fish and you’ll still enjoy your food and get in shape.
5. Reduce alcohol
Alcohol contains more calories (and more unhealthy carbs) than you might think. Just one pint of lager contains around 180 calories which is roughly the same as a slice of pizza.
It’s also easy to drink several pints without thinking too much about it, exceeding the government alcohol recommendations and contributing to further weight gain. That’s not to mention the numerous health risks associated with alcohol consumption.
Switch to a lower calorie alternative such as rum and diet coke, red wine or gin and tonic or alternate your alcoholic drinks with water or low-calorie soft drinks so you can still enjoy the taste without the side effects.
6. Reduce your sugar intake
Sugar is high in calories and increases your risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and tooth decay.
That’s why, for your health and your waistline you should reduce your sugar intake as much as possible by avoiding foods like sweets, biscuits, desserts, cakes, ice creams, and chocolate.
Many foods such as sauces, flavoured yoghurts, bread and pasta sauce also contain a surprising amount of sugar that we often don’t realise is there. For that reason, always read food labels, opt for unprocessed food as much as possible and make healthier food swaps whenever you can.
Losing weight isn’t easy. But by avoiding fad diets and following sensible eating advice, you can shift those extra pounds, reduce your risk of certain health problems and feel so much better once you come out of lockdown,
For extra guidance or support, pop into your local branch of Whitworth Pharmacies and ask about our Weight Management Service.