Want to lose a few kilos? You’re not alone. As many as 72 per cent of Australian women think they need to shed a little weight.
We know that in reality, some of these women probably don’t need to lose weight. But the nevertheless, the market is flooded with dieting books, plans and on-line programs all promising to help.
So how do you know which option is best for you?
We spoke to Simone Austin, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia to find out how to lose weight the sensible way.
Have a positive attitude to food
Simone says that it’s important to start with a healthy attitude to food.
“Don’t set up too many rules and regulations,” she tells us.
Simone notes that it’s not realistic to cut treats such as lollies or chocolate out of your diet altogether. “Those rules just don’t work, and they’re not necessary,” she says.
Instead, Simone says that it’s better to identify the triggers and cues that make us reach for those types of foods in the first place. “Is it when you get stressed? Is it when you get tired, is it because you’re disorganised?” she asks.
Be honest with yourself
Simone says that it’s really important for us to be honest with ourselves about what we eat.
“Sometimes we look at our breakfast lunch and dinner and think we are being virtuous – but we forget about what happens in between,” she explains.
For example, Simone notes that many of us will pick at food as we are cooking dinner, finish off the kids’ leftovers or raid the work biscuit tin without really thinking about it.
Keeping a food diary can help you to identify the times that you eating more than you intend to.
“You might keep your food diary for a week and notice that there is a pattern,” says Simone.
But while food diaries can help you to see where you are tripping up, Simone doesn’t recommend using them long term.
Pay attention to portion size
Simone isn’t keen on calorie counting. She says that a better way forward is to pay close attention to portion size and ratios.
“Try and make half your meal salad or vegetables, a quarter protein and a quarter carbohydrate. This will basically calorie count it for you,” she explains.
She also suggests using your fist as a guide for protein and carb portion size. “Your fist is relative to your body size,” she notes.
Another tip is to make sure you are eating at least five serves of veggies a day. “If you get all your veggies in then there isn’t a lot of room to over -eat on other things,” says Simone.
Simone is a huge advocate for eating mindfully. “Tune in to whether you are actually hungry or not. Many of us eat because it’s the right time of day or because we are board. Think about how hungry you are before you prepare food,” she explains.
“Be aware of what you are earing. The taste, the texture. Have a nice positive experience.”
When you start eating mindfully you might find that you start to change your eating habits. “You might be satisfied with a couple of squares of chocolate rather than a whole bar,” says Simone.
Don’t go on a diet
Simone says that her biggest weight loss tip is to avoid diets. “Don’t go on a diet – just pick a couple of things that you want to change and work on that,” she tells us.
Simone’s advice is to start with simple changes such as swapping ice cream for fruit and yogurt or nuts for biscuits. However make sure that you substitute something that is still appealing.
“Don’t swap a biscuit for celery sticks if you’re not going to enjoy them,” she says.
Get an expert to help you
If you feel like you need a bit more support with losing weight it is a good idea to ask your GP to refer you to an accredited practising dietitian.
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