LCH dietitians offer tips during National Obesity Week
Dietitians from Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust are encouraging people to make a New Year’s resolution to eat healthily and keep moving during National Obesity Week (8-14 January).
The awareness week, organised by the National Obesity Forum, aims to encourage the UK to become a healthier nation.
It comes as figures reveal that in the UK people are around 20 per cent less active now than in the 1960s, with the problem being on the increase.
Dietitian Eleri Hughes offered the following tips to encourage people to get 2018 off to a healthier start
Time for change:
- Before starting on your weight loss journey, it’s a good idea to think about why you’re starting. Whether it’s to improve a health condition, to drop a dress size or have more energy in your daily life – take the time to think about what you’re hoping to achieve and write it down. Everyone’s reasons will be different but this is a useful tool to help you to keep going!
- It’s tempting to want to give your diet a complete overhaul in the New Year, post-Christmas indulgence. But starting with small, realistic goals will be much more achievable in everyday life, and will boost your confidence. Pick two or three small changes to work on initially within a specific time-frame, and once you’ve mastered these, move on to more.
Food for thought:
- Despite the abundance of fad diets circulating the media at this time of year, as dieticians we recommend sensible, healthy eating for weight loss. What does this look like? Three balanced meals per day, around 4-5 hours apart, including plenty of vegetables (aim for ½ your plate); a source of protein like lean meats, fish or beans/pulses (1/4 of your plate); and a serving of starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, pasta, rice, cous cous and other grains (1/4 of your plate). Remember: any diet which advises you to cut out a whole food group isn’t a safe diet to follow. See the Eatwell Guide for more information on food groups
- Snacks can be handy to top-up energy levels between meals, but only if you’re physically hungry. Swap high calorie snacks such as chocolate, biscuits, crisps and cake for healthier options such as fresh fruit, low-fat plain yoghurts, wholegrain crackers with low-fat cheese spread, a small portion of mixed nuts and berries
- Stay hydrated! Try to aim for 2 litres of water or low sugar fluids per day. Swapping high sugar drinks for no added sugar cordials or diet/no added sugar versions is an easy but very effective change to make, saving sugar and calories. Tea and coffee also count but try to limit the amount of added sugar in these drinks, or switch to a sweetener instead
- Dry January? Giving up or cutting down on your alcohol intake is good news for the waistline, as well as the wallet. Alcohol is a big source of calories, especially if mixed with high sugar mixers. Try alternating each round with a soft drink, or try some non-alcohol related activities instead.
- Physical activity brings about weight loss as moving around uses up more of your body’s energy reserves, as well as boosting your circulation and improving your mood
- You don’t need a gym membership to get active – try free activities such as walking, running, or ask your leisure centre about local groups or classes that take your interest. If you find it difficult to be active for health reasons, remember any little beyond what you’re already doing helps. The key is to build on your tolerance gradually and incorporate more movement into your daily routine
Keep it realistic:
- Losing just 5-10% of your bodyweight has massive health benefits and can improve cardiovascular health, blood glucose control, high blood pressure and joint pain
- Losing between 1-2 lbs per week is an ideal rate of weight loss and means you are more likely to sustain this in the long-term…this is equivalent to a 500 calorie deficit per day, whether you choose to meet that by eating less or moving more
- Remember that mind set is everything: viewing your journey as a lifestyle change as a ‘diet’ means you’ll be more likely to set sensible, realistic goals; forgive yourself for the inevitable slip-ups we all experience at some point; and are more likely to stick to it in the long-term