A New You
DR TANJA’S 5 KEY POINTS
All diets and exercise plans will vary and there is no single magic bullet to weight loss, or we would all be doing the same thing. So, it is best to find a regime that you can make integral to your lifestyle. To have sustained weight loss and maintain your target weight, you will need a lifestyle change that you can keep up for months or even years to come. Some diets will help kick start your weight loss but then don’t get disheartened if your weight loss starts to plateau. That is normal.
Below are Dr Tanja’s 5 key points to dieting and weight loss.
These will give you a baseline, help set a target and help monitor your progress.
Here is the link for the NHS Body Mass Index calculator.
Remember the BMI tells is a ratio of height and weight and so can be skewed by your muscle mass or stature, so it’s important to also take body measurements.
Taking measurements is a great option for tracking progress because it doesn’t require any fancy equipment, and anyone can do it. Taking your measurements can show you where you’re losing fat, which is important since we all lose fat in different areas and in different order.
Taking your measurements can help reassure you that things are happening.
How To Take Your Measurements:
Start by wearing tight-fitting clothing (or no clothing). Make a note of what you’re wearing and always measure in those clothes. Here’s how to do it:
- Bust/Chest: Measure around the chest – right across the nipple line.
- Waist: Measure right across your belly button.
- Hips: Feel for the bony prominence (sticking out a bit of hip bone) and then measure 10 cm down from that on both sides and put the tape measure around this area full circle
- Thighs: Measure around the biggest part of each thigh.
- Arms: Measure around the biggest part of the upper arm.
Take your weight every week and body measurements every 4 weeks. Be patient with yourself. It takes months for many of us to see significant changes, so don’t be disheartened if it’s not in the first few weeks, please stick with it – the changes will happen!
We can’t be perfect all the time, so set realistic goals that you can measure and monitor along the way to your end goal. Remember 1-2 lbs (0.5-1.0 kg) per week is enough!
3. Diet and exercise:
Diet and exercise reduce your energy input and increase your energy expenditure. Here are some links to different diets that we think are sensible and sustainable.
Start by documenting your dietary intake for a minimum of 3 days. Remember to include all meals, snacks, and drinks. Here is a link for the NHS calorie calculator but there are many others out there.
There is no one perfect diet plan so choose one that suits you. Similarly, the level of exercise you do will depend on one where you are starting from, so pick an exercise regime that suits you. Remember any exercise is better than none, so don’t worry if it doesn’t start off as being ambitious.
Different diets will suggest different calorific intake and different food types so it may depend on which regime works for you. To maintain weight men need 2500 calories a day, and women 2000 calories a day. To lose 0.5 – 1kg a week, reduce your daily intake by 500-600 calories / day. This is just a guide and may need to be adjusted if you have a very sedentary lifestyle or are very active. For faster weight loss you will need to reduce this (eg. The “Fast 800 diet” suggests 800 calories a day for 2 weeks to kick start your weight loss).
Also, use smaller plates as they may portion look bigger!
Beware of readymade meals and “low fat” foods as they often reduce the fat content and substitute the fat with sugar to give them taste BUT the calorific content may be similar. In addition, the body converts sugars and carbohydrates into fat. As a rule, make sure you have meals that are high in protein (1g protein per kg body weight), high in vegetables and low in sugar or starchy carbohydrates (bread, pasta, pizza, potatoes, rice). Substitute pulses, beans, and brown rice for your usual carbohydrate.
Snacks should be nuts, a small piece of cheese, an apple, or berries. Avoid fruits such as melon, grapes and pears which have much higher sugar content.
Avoid fruit juices as they are extremely high in sugar. Drink water and aim for 2 litres a day.
Avoid alcohol as all alcoholic drinks have a high-calorie content and alcohol reduces your threshold for snacking.
5. Get your friends and family to support you:
There is good evidence that dieting with someone else is more effective and successful. So, if a friend or your partner can join you then all the better. Similarly ask your family and workmates to remove or hide snacks as when you crave a biscuit, chocolate, or crisps, you will ransack the house to find them – so if you aren’t able to find them you can’t eat them!