If you are congratulating yourself on keeping your New Year resolution and shedding weight rapidly, be warned.
People who lose weight very quickly are at a high risk of gaining it again unless they follow it up with permanent lifestyle changes, advises Katriona Dullea, weight management dietitian with the HSE West.
She says this is because people often return to their old ways when the “quick fix” diet is finished.
“There are a range of approaches that will lead to short-term weight loss. However, by making small, gradual, sustainable changes to diet and physical activity that fit in with your lifestyle you are giving yourself the best chance of keeping weight off in the long term.”
Surveys indicate 61 per cent of the Irish population are overweight or obese. Many sources promote quick fix diets that offer “easy, no effort” weight loss, according to the HSE.
“Success with such fad diets is often short term as they do not provide all the necessary nutrients that your body needs and do not promote long term healthy changes in eating and physical activity habits.”
The HSE offers the following guidelines:-
12 Tips for successful weight loss:
— Have regular meals, including breakfast. People who eat breakfast tend to eat fewer calories throughout the day
— Reduce the size of your portions at mealtimes
— Include at least five portions of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet - these are a great source of nutrients and fill you up with relatively few calories
— Fill up on fibre using wholegrain breads and cereals, such as porridge, Weetabix or Shredded Wheat
— Reduce your intake of high fat/sugar foods and drinks. These provide a lot of calories and often very little nutrients
— Switch to reduced fat products, such as low fat dairy products and reduced fat spreads
— Have healthy snacks, such as fruit or low fat/low sugar yoghurts, rather than biscuits or crisps
— Eat slowly and stop eating when you feel full. Take time to enjoy your food
— Set realistic goals. If you feel confident that you can achieve the goals you set yourself then you are more likely to continue with the changes you make
— Keep a daily food diary - nothing makes you more aware of what you are eating than writing it down
— Monitor your progress by checking your weight once a week
— Include physical activity as part of your daily routine.
For further information contact the HSE’s community nutrition and dietetic service at (091 ) 548335.