Rapid weight loss may do more harm than good. Nutrition experts at the KK Women's and Children's Hospital share tips to lose weight safely and effectively.
Sustained long-term weight loss should be viewed as a lifelong commitment and in order for it to be effective, one has to make gradual permanent changes to their current lifestyle. Lifestyle changes often require time, adopting new skills, identifying current behaviours that have led to weight increase and replacing them with healthier habits. As behaviour modifications do not take place overnight, support from family members and friends can be beneficial. Generally, weight regain is more likely if there is rapid weight loss compared to slow and steady weight loss.
The best and safest way to lose weight is to reduce your energy intake whilst increasing your energy output, i.e. eat less energy and burn off more energy. It is the net energy intake (i.e. the energy consumed for the day minus the energy expended through physical activity and for body functions) that determines if we lose or gain weight.
Limiting high-calorie foods, choosing lower-calorie alternatives, and cutting down on your food portion sizes are some ways to lose weight.
Strategies for safe and effective weight loss
Eat regular meals
Avoid skipping meals. Having regular meals give you the energy you need to get through the working day. Irregular meals lead to snacking and make you lose track of portion sizes.
Snacking on deep fried, oily or sweet foods (e.g. cakes, kuehs, pastries, etc) add extra calories to your diet. If you experience hunger pangs, choose lower-calorie options like fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt and or tuna/sardine/low fat cheese sandwiches made from wholemeal bread (don’t forget to include veggies like cucumber and tomato slices!), as they are more filling and nutrient-dense.
Fill up on fibre
Fibre absorbs water and swells in the stomach, making you feel full faster and for longer. Eat a variety of minimally-processed plant-based foods such as whole grains (e.g. brown rice and wholemeal bread; or better yet – multi-grain bread), vegetables, fruit, beans and lentils to add fibre to your diet and promote weight loss.
Read on for more tips on safe and effective weight loss.