Weight Loss and Weight Management ~ By Prue Mynard Dietician & Nutritionist
Updated: Mar 2
Many people believe that in order to lose weight or maintain weight that is lost that you need to drastically cut out food groups, particularly carbohydrates. In order to lose weight, your body essentially needs to burn more calories than what it is consuming, creating an energy deficit. The easiest way to achieve this is to look at your overall eating habits and identify areas for improvements. Most people can usually decrease the portion size of their main meals and will still feel satisfied. Really tuning into hunger and fullness cues, slowing down and enjoying meals, is imperative for weight loss and weight management.
To make weight loss achievable and sustainable, it is important that you are eating adequate amounts. This means increasing the quantity of low starchy salads and vegetables to help to bulk out meals. By eating a greater volume of these lower calorie, higher fibre veggies with leave you feeling fuller for longer than if you were to have a smaller quantity of calorie dense foods. It also assists in behaviour change that is sustainable for the longer term.
For example, you could lose weight if you eat 300 calories worth of chocolate each day, but you may find that you’re hungry along the way. Instead of eating those 300 calories worth of chocolate, have 50 calories of chocolate and make the other 250 calories colourful vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, capsicum and a small protein portion. For your 250 calories, you could have a small bowl full of all the salad veggies you love, with some dressing and 50g of chicken, and you’ll have a whole heap more fibre, protein and other nutrients and will be so much more satisfied. But don’t feel you just have to have plain salad or steamed veggies, make your meals interesting, add the spices, flavour and dressings to add the taste you enjoy.
An important thing to remember if you’re eating healthy food to make you look better, the feedback is too slow, but if you are eating healthy food that tastes good, you’re more likely to continue. Behaviour change is more likely to occur if the change is to something that makes you feel good in the moment, which will lead to better results in the long term. So, choose the healthy foods that you like the taste of, you’re more likely to achieve your goals.
If it is done in the right way, you can actually lose weight by eating a larger volume of food, simply by switching up the proportions of what is on your plate. For main meals, divide your plate into 4, fill half the plate (2 of the 4 sections) with colourful non-starchy vegetables and salad, fill ¼ of the plate with a lean protein (meat, chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, beans) – this part is really important for increased satiety. The final ¼ of the plate should be filled with a low GI carbohydrate.
Carbohydrates need not be excluded in order for weight to be lost. It is, however, important which carbohydrates you choose, wholegrains, sweet potato and potato are all good choices. Top your meal off with 1 tbs of healthy fats, this could be avocado, nuts, seeds or extra virgin olive oil. This plate model allows pretty much any food group to fit in, and if you’re looking to lose weight, assess the overall size of your plate and reduce the overall portion if need be.
If you’re trying to reduce the portion of your main meals, including snacks between meals can be a really useful tool to help prevent you being ravenous before meals, allowing for a decrease in eating speed, increased mindfulness around meals, assisting with weight loss. A snack can simply be a piece of fruit, natural yoghurt or a handful of unsalted nuts.
The final and crucial thing for weight loss is adequate hydration. Thirst can often be misinterpreted as hunger, so ensuring you are drinking adequate water, will assist with differentiating between the two and will prevent eating when not hungry. Also make sure that water is the main drink and that you are not drinking excess calories in the form of soft drinks or juice.
Article Written By Prue Mynard Dietician & Nutritionist
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Alternatively Prue is available for Private Consult at Peninsula Physical Health & Nutrition (PPN) on the Mornington Peninsula.
Images by Natalie Davies Photography