10 Healthy Weight Loss Tips that Actually Work
As a nutritionist, I know one of the main motivation for people to go see a nutritionist is to lose weight or get healthy. Now I do not believe in fad diets or following the keto diet for weight loss (more on that in another blogpost) but here are my quick 10 healthy weight loss tips that actually work. They have worked for me after my pregnancies and some of my friends/clients and I hope they can help you too!
- Find a few healthy recipes that you absolutely LOVE.
In order to make a healthy diet a life-long habit you need to find recipes you enjoy making and eating! I recommend you find a few favourite simple and healthy meals for breakfast, lunches and dinner that can become your new “go-to”s each week.
Some of our family favourites are vegan lentil dhal curry served with cauliflower rice or brown rice, vegan kale pesto pasta, a roasted vegetable couscous or quinoa salad, blueberry porridge, smoothies, avocado and hemp seeds on sourdough and plant-based zucchini, eggplant and lentil lasagne with a cashew cheese sauce.
- Eat Plant-Based
Even if you don’t go fully vegan (although I do recommend it for your health, environment and the animals), eating plant-based a few times a week or a few meals a day can really improve your health and help you lose some extra weight. I lost about 6kg when going vegan after having my twins and it has helped me get back to my pre-pregnancy weight both pregnancies. Eating plant-based means eating a large amount of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains as well as legumes. I do not mean eating vegan cheese/bread/chips and vegan ice-creams (although they all have a place in a healthy diet as a treat!).
It is high in fibre so fills you up with high nutrient and low calorie dense foods (the fibre fills you up not the protein…) It is also proven that eating a diverse plant-based diet is the key for a healthy gut microbiome. Not only eating plant-based is good for your health and tummy but it is also good for your wallet- eating more rice, legumes and vegetables is much cheaper than meat!
- Make your own Healthy Treats
If you follow me on Instagram or here on my blog you will know I love baking and making healthy raw treats! I am a firm believer in having small portions of my own homemade vegan low sugar treats a couple of times a week to satisfy my sweet tooth. Trying to go cold turkey and completely off treats is not really a sustainable healthy weight loss habit. I much prefer teaching my clients to swap unhealthy sugary treats for good quality dark chocolate or making their own baked goods. I have 1-2 squares of dark chocolate most days after dinner!
Making your own healthy treats also means you can control how much oil, sugar goes into it and use healthier flour alternatives such as buckwheat or wholemeal flour and avoid processed ingredient, fillers, additives and preservatives.
- Snack on fruit or veggies
When hungry try grabbing a piece of fruit first before reaching for other snacks. Fruits are so good for us and I am tired of everyone fearing them and the fear of sugar in fruit! I recommend having at least 2-3 pieces of fruit a day for getting a variety of nutrients, vitamins and fibre. Snacking on veggies is also great but truth be told everyone prefers snacking on fruits and that’s okay! Just fill up on veggies at lunch and dinner. Having more fruit really is my number one health tip! So many people avoid them completely and it is sad. Nature’s intended for us to eat them that’s why they are so delicious! And no study ever found eating fruit to be the cause of obesity or diseases! Eating 2-3 pieces of fruit a day is a very healthy habit to keep for life and to share with children. Swapping unhealthy snacks or fatty snacks such as too many nuts, chips or processed treats for fruit is a great way to achieve your goal of weight loss.
- Reduce Fats
This might be a little bit (or a lot) against the latest trend of increasing fats in our diets. People used to eat a lot of fat from animal fat, fried foods and baked foods and with the healthy movement and paleo/ keto diet people have now replaced bad fats such as margarine with healthy fats but these are still fats. Eating 50% of your calorie from fats is not healthy and will not help you lose fat. The good fats are good in the diet but in small quantities only.
And do not worry about not absorbing fat-soluble vitamins in your diet – there is a little fat in every food- no need to soak your salads in olive oil, eat coconut oil by the spoon and eat lots of nuts and avocados. Processed fats are of course very unhealthy and you should limit those for weight loss.
The advice of snacking on nuts is actually I believe not helpful when people are wanting to lose weight. Fat pack a lot more calories per gram than carbs and protein. A quick comparison 1 tbsp of coconut or olive oil has 120 calories compared with 14 calories for 1 tbsp of brown rice and only 7 almonds contain already more than 50 calories. Having a few handful of nuts could lead you to consuming over 400 calories in a few minutes. I do not recommend buying the LOW FAT dairy products as they are full of added sugar but simply eating plant-based low fat foods without adding too much fat in the form of dressings, cooking oils and too many nuts.
- Stop fearing carbs
As I mentioned above, I believe in a plant-based diet lower in fat to achieve good health and long-term weight loss. A recent study performed in 16-week randomized clinical trial found that the increase of carbohydrates and overall fibre intake as part of a low-fat plant-based diet was beneficial for weight loss, body composition and insulin resistance. (source: study)Eating plant-based, whole foods carbohydrates are much lower in calories and provide very important nutrients and vitamins that your body, liver and brain need. Glucose is the key for maintaining your body alive as opposed to fats. You should eat a large amount of vegetables, moderate amount of fruit and lots of healthy wholegrains such as brown rice, quinoa, oats and other wholegrains.
- Fill up at breakfast
Starting the day with a healthy breakfast is important to set up yourself for a good day full of energy. I do not believe in Intermittent fasting as we all already do it overnight from dinner to breakfast. And for some people, not having breakfast leads them to over eating for the rest of the day as they think they deserve to indulge since they skipped breakfast.
My recommended healthy breakfasts are: porridge, overnight oats, chia puddings, smoothies, wholemeal bread and avocado/ nut butters.
- Reduce drinking
Are you drinking 1-3 flat white coffees a day? 1-2 wines a night? Coffees and alcohol can hide a lot of calories and amount to a third of your calorie needs per day. Reducing your takeaway coffees and alcohol can help you lose some weight as well as feel healthier. Replace them with lots of water for a healthier you!
- Ditch the all or nothing philosophy
Life and food are meant to be enjoyed. I do believe in relaxing healthy eating habits on special occasions, holidays and birthdays! But the rest of the time if you have an indulgent breakfast, a slice of cake with a friend or too many chips when going out it does not mean you have ruined it all and need to pig out for the rest of the day/weekend/week or even month!
This quite common sense but exercising combined with a healthy diet is the key for long-term weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. Find something you like doing, with your loved ones or children on the weekend and do it! Exercise is so good for anxiety and mental health too!
Please consult with a nutritionist, doctor if you need further advice or before starting any drastic lifestyle and diet changes. I am available for worldwide nutrition consultation should you seek further professional advice.