How can I lose weight?
Losing weight is about reducing your overall daily calories through changing what you eat and your increasing your activity. Have a look at the tips below to help you to achieve this.
Plan your meals
Before doing your food shopping, try to plan the meals you are going to have that week. Think about choosing meals which are low in fat and include plenty of vegetables. Why not have a look at our healthy recipe ideas or buy a low fat cook book for some inspiration. You could also check out the recipes on Diabetes UK.
Keep a copy of your planned meals available to refer to through the week (you don’t want to forget which delicious healthy meal you had planned for each day).
- Make a shopping list of all the ingredients that you will need.
- Try to think about ways you could reduce the calories of the items on your list e.g. swap butter for low fat margarine, or full fat cheese for half fat cheese or extra light cheese spread.
- When you go shopping, keep to the items on the list and don’t get tempted by special offers on items you do not need.
- Don’t shop when hungry. It can affect your food choices and you are more likely to buy items which you do not need.
This approach should help you stick to regular healthy meals. It may also save you some money and reduce waste by only buying foods which you plan to use that week.
When you are preparing your meals, choose healthy cooking methods.
- Opt to bake, steam, grill, microwave, poach or griddle instead of frying
- Try to cook without butter, margarine or oil as often as you can.
If you really feel the need to use some fat in cooking, try using the one calorie spray. If this is not available, limit your use of fats to no more than 1 tablespoon for 4 people*/ 1 teaspoon per person. Ensure that you measure rather than estimate your portions.
*If you were to do this, then 5 litres of oil should be adequate for a family of 4 for approximately one year !!
Cutting down on fat
Fat is the food group highest in calories. If you reduce your intake of fat even by small amounts, you will see big calorie savings.
Use low fat spreads instead of butter or margarine. Try to spread this thinly and better still, for a sandwich, only put it on one slice of bread instead of two.
Cut down on oil as mentioned above. Also avoid using oil for salad dressings/dips. Instead use fat free dressings, citrus fruit or balsamic vinegar.
Try to avoid using salad cream and mayonnaise. If you really feel the need to have some, use the extra light versions and keep portions small e.g. 1 teaspoon. Watch out for mayonnaise in products such as coleslaw or potato salad. Adding a good dollop of this can make a salad much higher in calories!
- Cheese is an excellent source of calcium but is also high in fat.
Keep your portions to the size of a match box (30g)
Try not to add cheese to meals which may not need it e.g. parmesan on pasta or cheese on mashed potato.
Try swapping to a low fat hard cheese , a light soft cheese or cottage cheese.
Grating hard cheese can trick the mind into thinking you are having more than you think, but remember to measure the portion out first.
Try to avoid cheese sauces, instead choose a healthy tomato based sauce.
Try to avoid cheese as a snack, once you have the taste for it, you are likely to want more and a bigger portion!
- Swap whole milk to semi skimmed, 1%, or even fully skimmed milk
- Instead of cream, condensed milk and full fat yoghurts try light crème fraiche or diet yoghurts.
- Remove any visible fat or skin off meat or poultry, prior to cooking, as these are high in fat and calories. If you are preparing mince, drain the fat off during cooking.
- Keep pastries and pies to occasional treats e.g. sausage rolls, pasties, scotch eggs, pork pie. All pastry foods are high in fat and calories and even in small quantities these may affect your weight if eaten regularly.
- Keep crisps, nuts, chevda, sev to occasional treats as they are high in calories. Try to choose healthier snacks.
- Keep cakes, biscuits, chocolates, ice cream and puddings to occasional treats as they are high in fat and sugar
- Takeaways are usually high in fat and calories. Try to limit takeaways and eating out to once a month. Have a look at our diet sheet on healthier choices when eating out.