If you’re trying to lose weight, there’s often no need for a complex diet programme. Changing the way you eat for the better and losing weight sensibly is all about common sense. Here are some of the most important common sense weight loss diet tips you should be keeping in mind.
Common Sense Diet Tips
1) Use Smaller Plates
Huge dinner plates are unnecessary and only encourage you to eat more. Research has confirmed the obvious – if you use smaller plates, you’ll have to keep your portion sizes smaller and this will help you avoid over-eating.
2) Eat Slowly
If you eat fast, you’re likely to eat too much because you’re not giving your body time to register that you’ve consumed enough. Eating slowly will allow you to realise sooner when you have eaten enough to satisfy your hunger, as well as allowing you to really savour and enjoy your meal!
3) Stop Eating Before You Feel Full
It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Stop eating before you get that full feeling to give your brain a chance to catch up.
4) Avoid Temptation
The best way to cut down on unhealthy meals and snacks is to stay away from them. When doing your food shopping, try not to buy any of the unhealthy foods you’re trying to eat less of. You’ll be much more tempted to indulge in them if they’re in the house, so simply not buying them will help you avoid temptation.
5) Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is not only essential for the healthy functioning of the body, but also helps you eat less. Thirst can often be mistaken for hunger and staying hydrated means you’ll avoid making that mistake and eating extra unnecessarily. Aim to drink six to eight glasses of water or other fluids each day.
6) Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
Many dieters cut down on various unhealthy foods but forget to take into account the role alcohol plays in their diet. Alcohol is a large source of empty calories, so often contributes to weight gain. Cutting down on the amount you drink is a great way to aid weight loss.
When you consider what needs to be done in order for you to lose weight, you’ll realise that a lot of it is simply common sense. You already know plenty of things you can do to reduce your calorie-intake and this, combined with our sensible weight loss diet tips, will help you stay on track and achieve your weight loss goals.
How can I have a Balanced Diet?
Having the motivation to stay a healthy weight is beneficial both to your self-esteem and well-being. The more that you really understand about what you eat and drink and how these make up a balanced diet, the better. Understanding how this balanced diet impacts on your health and vitality, is a good thing.
You may have to reduce your calorie intake slightly and ensure that you keep active. Although it’s not a good idea to just follow ‘fad’ diets, and other miraculous weight-loss products as it can make it even harder to manage your weight over the long term.
So certainly your ‘diet’ is very important – however, as with lots of things it all depends on interpretation – and ‘diet’ can mean so many different things… it can be construed as a strictly regimented intake of regulated food, in which case it’s connotation is more related to ‘dieting’ regimes – or it can be interpreted as simply your usual food choices over time, more a way of living than a systematic daily food allowance.
Either way understanding the real facts about what you consume and what energy your body actually requires depending on your own lifestyle, really should matter to you. Food should be enjoyable and just depriving yourself of things you like isn’t always a viable long-term solution.
Top Diet Tips for a Balanced Diet
- Eat at least 5 portions of fruit & veg a day
- Base meals on starchy foods like bread, potatoes, rice or pasta
- Drink plenty of water
- Choose lower-fat meat, poultry and dairy foods
- Eat more fish – aim for 2 portions a week, including oily fish
- Drink less alcohol
- Eat a variety of foods to ensure you’re getting all nutrients
- Limit food & drink high in sugar, or saturated fats and look out for added sugar in foods
- Limit your salt intake to a maximum of 6g a day, don’t add it to foods and look out for added salts
- Try not to skip meals, particularly breakfast
- Cut out fizzy drinks
What about Diet Tips for the Over 50s?
The majority of people slow down as they get older – and that includes their metabolism (the rate at which their body consumes calories) so, before you know it – you can find the ‘middle-age spread’ starting to appear. This is usually because a demanding, and often stressful, working and family life, leaves little time to make the right choices. Here are 10 diet tips which are especially relevant for the over 50s:
- Prioritise nutrient-dense foods: Focus on consuming foods that are rich in nutrients while being relatively low in calories, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
- Stay hydrated: As you age, your sense of thirst may diminish, so make a conscious effort to drink enough water throughout the day. Aim for at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water daily.
- Include adequate fibre: Fibre is essential for maintaining healthy digestion and preventing constipation. Opt for high-fibre foods like whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
- Increase calcium and vitamin D intake: Ageing increases the risk of bone density loss. Ensure you’re getting sufficient calcium and vitamin D through foods like dairy products, fortified plant-based milks, leafy greens, and sunlight exposure.
- Opt for lean protein sources: Choose lean sources of protein, such as skinless poultry, fish, legumes, and low-fat dairy products. Adequate protein intake is crucial for maintaining muscle mass and supporting overall health.
- Monitor portion sizes: Pay attention to portion sizes to avoid overeating. As metabolism slows down with age, it’s important to consume appropriate amounts of food to maintain a healthy weight.
- Be mindful of sodium intake: Excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure and other health issues. Limit processed and packaged foods, which tend to be high in sodium, and use herbs and spices to flavour your meals instead.
- Include omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids have numerous health benefits, including supporting heart health and reducing inflammation. Incorporate sources like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), walnuts, flaxseeds or linseeds, and chia seeds into your diet.
- Limit refined sugars and processed foods: Minimize your consumption of sugary drinks, sweets, processed snacks, and refined grains. These foods offer little nutritional value and can contribute to weight gain and other health problems.
- Stay active and engage in regular exercise: A healthy diet should be complemented by regular physical activity. Include a combination of aerobic exercises, strength training, and flexibility exercises to maintain muscle strength, bone density, and overall fitness.
When it comes to your personal diet – one size does not fit all! – Some people are extremely active and have fast metabolisms (partly as a result of being so active), and these people can often eat and drink almost anything and not become overweight. The ‘diet’ industry does not pander to these people of course, otherwise they wouldn’t sell many diets…
Many people feel too drained from the day’s work and family commitments to seek the benefits of exercise. If anything ‘rest’ is the natural answer for most people and eating can often become just a means to an end. You feel as though you need a quick fix to satisfy your hunger and you have multiple choices of outlets to fulfill your needs, from fast-food joints to the ready meals that just require a heat up in a microwave oven.
Links Between Diet, Exercise and Health
Increased activity is perhaps the key to weight control as you age. Eating a balanced diet, not overeating and eating the right foods is important.
Research shows, for example, a link between diet and many major diseases, like coronary heart disease and cancer. By walking regularly you cut your rate of physical decline by half.
Thirty minutes of moderate exercise five times a week is what the experts recommend. It can be all in one half-hour, or split into smaller bouts of activity throughout your day.
Remember, before changing your diet or starting an exercise regime, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor.
The NHS Website gives 8 tips for a healthy diet that you may like to read.
Remember, you just need to keep ringing in the gradual changes and keep doing them until they become habits!
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