Mayo Healthy Living Month

This week Claire Kerins, Croí cardiac dietician shares some secrets on how to lose weight the healthy way

The key to successful weight loss is to make small, gradual, changes to your eating and physical activity habits that you can maintain long term. Do not think of yourself as being on a diet. Instead, look upon it as a series of small lifestyle changes that you need to make in order to reach, and stay at, a healthy weight.

Introduce changes gradually

When you introduce changes gradually, you are more likely to stick with them. For example, swapping butter for a low fat spread or making time for breakfast each morning, rather than a diet full of rules at one-go.

Small changes can make a big difference. One extra biscuit a week can lead to a weight gain of five pounds in the year.

Health benefits of weight loss

Losing as little as 10 per cent of your body weight has many benefits including: reducing blood pressure by 10/20; reduce cholesterol by 10 to 15 per cent; reduce fasting blood sugar by 50 per cent; decrease your risk of obesity related cancer death by 40 per cent.

Top weight loss secrets

Lose weight at a steady rate – aim for one to two pounds a week.

Keep a food diary – write down what you eat or drink, this will identify any trends and help motivate.

Eat three square meals – never skip meals, this will lead to over-eating or bingeing later that day.

Reduce fat intake – limit red-meat to three times per week and choose low fat dairy products.

Eat more fibre – high fibre foods tend to linger in the stomach for longer, giving a sensation of fullness.

Watch your portions – remember you can be overweight from too much good food.

Avoid excess alcohol – Keep within the recommended 14 units for females and 21 units for males.

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