Staying in shape

Fad diets may promise you the world, but they tend not to work in the long-term. They’re normally too drastic for people to stick to for very long. Most of them are nutritionally unbalanced too.

The key to successful weight loss is to make small, gradual changes to your eating and physical activity habits that you can keep up for life. Don’t think of yourself as being on a diet. Instead, look upon it as a series of small lifestyle changes that you need to make – one by one – in order to reach, and stay at, a healthy weight.

The first step in any successful weight loss programme is making changes to your lifestyle – eating less, and becoming more physically active. We know that gyms don’t suit everyone and it’s important to remember that exercise can include any kind of activity such as walking or cycling, washing the windows, or vacuuming around the house.

You may have heard about new medications that claim to help with weight loss. While a small number of these have been shown to be effective in supporting weight loss among obese individuals, this is only in combination with changes in lifestyle, for example eating less and being more physically active.

One simple way to reduce calorie intake is to try and eat smaller portions of foods. Switching from fatty foods to lower-calorie foods like wholegrain breads and cereals, and plenty of fruit and vegetables can also help.

Eating meals at regular intervals throughout the day can help with any hunger pangs. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water as well.

To keep on track with a weight loss programme, try to:

  • weigh yourself once a week
  • keep a diary of your progress
  • keep a food diary of what you eat each day – it’s a really handy way to focus on what you are eating and prevent you going back to old habits.
  • get a friend or family member involved as it will motivate you both!

If you don’t have success with these changes, consult your GP, practice nurse or dietitian for more detailed advice.

Fad diets and quick-fix pills are not long-term solutions to weight loss; think of small steps you can achieve over time and adopt these lifestyle changes for good.

Download our 40 Weight-loss tips from Facebook (PDF, 125KB)