There’s no getting around the fact that losing weight takes work and there’s no ‘secret’ way to do it. But the journey to health doesn’t need to leave you feeling hungry or unhappy with fad diet rules.
In a survey of 2,254 people, carried out by King’s College London and Ipsos MORI in May, 48% said they had put on weight during lockdown – so plenty of us are now likely to be seeking out strategies for slimming down.
Here, we asked Lyvit nutritionist Katie Russell for some simple tips for losing weight healthily, happily and sustainably.
1. Meal plan
“Meal planning not only helps you prepare what you’ll be eating, but ensures you only buy the ingredients you need, avoiding picking up unnecessary, unhealthy items which you may be tempted to snack on.
“You’ll also likely find that meal planning for the week saves money and minimises food waste too.
“You don’t have to stick to one type of meal for the whole week either, as that can get very boring, very quickly. Mix up your protein sources, for instance; you might plan to have fish twice a week, and then chicken or beef on other days.”
2. Start a routine
“For many, the main problem with working from home is binge eating. Most of us weren’t used to having the kitchen cupboard a couple of steps away, therefore avoiding snacking is essential to keeping on track with a healthy diet.
“A great way to do this is by time restricting your eating. This doesn’t have to be as strict as fasting, but plan your mealtimes and avoid unnecessary eating in between.
“Alternatively, set a cut-off time for when to stop and start eating. For example, eat breakfast at 8am and have your last meal by 7pm. This will stop you snacking in the evening, which is the most popular time for people to consume extra calories.”
3. Fill up on water
“Drinking lots of water and water-based drinks, such as herbal teas, will not only help your metabolism, but will also cleanse your digestive system and keep you feeling full and satisfied.”
4. Keep busy
“A dangerous territory when it comes to diets is boredom eating. The most tempting thing to do when you’re bored is to grab something to eat.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a snack, but why not try to pick up a healthier alternative such as carrot sticks, which are high in Vitamin A?
“Keeping busy can stop us from tucking into too many treat foods. Take up a new hobby or try a fitness class.”
5. Stock up on protein
“When you are eating, fill up with foods high in protein. Protein is found in a wide array of foods and is crucial in your daily diet and health.
“Foods high in protein have many benefits, such as aiding weight loss, muscle building and they’ll also keep you feeling fuller for longer. Great options include chicken, eggs, tuna and Greek yoghurt.”
6. Allow yourself a treat
“These are stressful times so allow yourself the odd treat. You might think that restriction is a good way to lose weight quickly, but it isn’t sustainable or enjoyable.
“By allowing yourself a small treat now and again, you will keep in control of your cravings and are more likely to keep on top of a healthy diet long-term.”