- Be psychologically ready to make the changes required â€“ My research indicates that unless you are psychologically in the â€˜Actionâ€™ stage of change then your attempts will be futile. Sit down and compose a list of compelling reasons why you need to change. Set realistic goals and visualize how you will look and feel when you lose the weight. You really need to get a sense of this feeling and be able to return to it whenever you are tempted to stray.
- Eating Breakfast â€“ has been shown in a number of studies to be a key element of a successful weight loss programme. What is more important is that it is also a key element of weight maintenance. We are very good at losing weight, but we are useless at keeping it off. Breakfast kick starts your metabolism for the day and lifts your energy levels. Breakfast cereal is also a really important source of B vitamins, vital for energy turnover.Â Â Â Â
- Eating regularly â€“ This may sound counter intuitive, but in fact it is very important. Three meals a day was born out of necessity but in fact the research evidence indicates that five to six smaller meals a day is actually better for weight management. Nutritionists refer to this as grazing (eating little portions â€“regularly). This type of meal profile, using the correct types of foods (predominately low glycaemic index), gives a better blood sugar profile. This dampens down the appetite drive and is more sustainable. This way of eating is also beneficial from a health perspective. Everything eaten has to come within your overall energy intake requirements though (you have been warned!!). See point five below regarding energy balance.
- Try to include a source of protein with each meal â€“ this has a high satiety value (makes you feel full) and clearly that is beneficial. Try to select low fat protein options or the fat content in the diet can get out of hand. The other big benefit of protein is its high thermogenic effect. Twenty-five percent (or more) of the kcal from protein are utilised in the act of ingesting, digesting and metabolising protein. So you are ahead of the game before you start.
- Try to get a negative balance between kcal eaten with energy expended â€“ this should be the foundation of any weight management program. If you havenâ€™t got a negative energy balance, in other words more energy going out, than is coming in then you will never reduce your fat stores. Ideally you should achieve this deficit by increasing your output (get more active) and slightly decreasing your input (eat less). There are a number of factors that influence both sides of the equation, but they are too complex to cover in this article.
I have included some key steps that are vital for a successful weight management program. What is more they are equally as important in a weight maintenance program. Each step is presented in its simplest form for ease of understanding. For a more in depth understanding you might want to consider reading some of the articles on my website www.nutritionforsportandweightloss.co.uk or perhaps having a one-to-one nutrition consultation with me. Weight management is predominately about â€˜lifestyle changeâ€™. After all it is your lifestyle that got you overweight and only changing that lifestyle will get that weight off â€“ Are you ready to change?