Creating the right diet for weight loss, should have you at the centre. There's no one plan, that is a must follow, but the right diet is the one that works for you. As a starting point you should consider exercise as an integral part in your diet for weight loss. Moreover, your diet should be set out to maintain health, whilst supporting your exercise programme and facilitate weight loss. Start by setting yourself a goal; what is it that you want to achieve and by when?
To achieve your weight loss goals both in the short term and to ensure the weight stays off, in the long term, a gradual approach has been shown to be the most successful; albeit the longer your goal is, the harder it is to achieve. Often drastic dieting, similar to that suggested in some fad diets are unsustainable and will lead to disappointment, but these shouldn't be so easily discounted before investigated.
When planning your diet be careful to avoid the common diet myths.
Common Diet Myths
To lose weight you must avoid fat - Many people make the mistake of cutting most or all of the fat from their diet. It’s true that fat is very energy dense, each gram of fat equates to 9 calories of energy, however, fat plays an essential part in your health. Essential fatty acids (EFA's) such as Omega 3 fats found in oily fish offer health benefits, including maintaining heart function and brain development. For support, include 1-2 portions of oily fish per week.
The best way to lose weight is to lose the carbs - Carbohydrate is the body’s primary fuel source and as exercise increases your requirements will need to increase to meet the demand. The general recommendation is that carbohydrate should represent approximately 55-60% of the total diet.
To make the appropriate food choices this should be expressed as 5-7 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight, split throughout your daily meals. The majority of your carbohydrate intake should come from low sugary options, from complex starchy carbs, such as potato, pasta, rice and bread. It is true to say, like with any of the food groups, if you eat more than you require then weight loss will become extremely difficult; as such portion sizes should be closely monitored.
Skipping meals is the best way to lose weight - Skipping meals often lead people to over eat later in the day, as compensation. Regularly eating will help to control your appetite and stabilize your blood sugar levels. In turn this will help you to avoid the feeling of hunger and the subsequent temptation of choosing either unhealthy snacks or increased portion sizes. Research studies have shown that that people who eat only once or twice a day tend to weigh more than people who eat 4-6 times per day.
10 Helpful Hints for Weight Loss
Six Steps to Weight Loss
1. Energy Balance - To lose weight you need to create a calorie deficit. This can be done by either consuming fewer calories than you need to or by burning those calories by exercising. For the best results combine both methods to create a daily deficit of approximately 500 calories (kcal). This would equate to ~1-2lb reduction in body weight per week, a healthy weight loss target, both to lose weight short term and to keep the weight off long term.
2. Regular Meals & Snacks - Spread your calories over 4-6 meals per day, this will help provide you with a steady flow of nutrients and energy. It will keep you focused on losing weight, provide you with the energy you require and most importantly keep you healthy. Skipping meals is simply a recipe for disaster!
3. Carbohydrate - Choose complex carbohydrate to keep the furnace burning. Carbohydrate food sources such as wholewheat pasta, wholegrain bread, sweet potato and brown rice provide you with the energy that you need to stay healthy and the fuel you need for day-to-day living as well as exercise. These choices also have higher fibre content than white equivalents, which will support a healthy digestive system.
4. Fat - Good fats, such as omega 3’s (from oily fish) are an essential part of your diet but try and reduce any unwanted saturated fat. Fats are energy dense, providing 9 kcals per gram, as such a high fat diet would have a high total energy content. Choose leaner options such as skimmed milk, lean meats and low fat spreads to help reduce dietary fat content.
5. Protein - Aim to meet your daily protein requirement of at least 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight. Protein is essential to help with muscle repair and protection, especially whilst adhering to a calorie restricted diet. Protein also plays an important role in numerous daily functions, including hormone generation, the building blocks for tissue and many more. Eat a variety of protein sources including meats, fish, dairy, beans and pulses.
6. Hydration - For general health and well being you should consume 2-3 Litres of water per day, this should be further increased as you sweat more during exercise. From a weight loss perspective, being hydrated does not have a direct relationship but more of an indirect affect. As you sweat during exercise, and if fluids are not replaced, this leads to dehydration which has an impact upon performance and can lead to exercise feeling more difficult or early fatigue, in turn this has a negative effect on the time and intensity of exercise and therefore reduces the calories you are able to burn.