Losing weight safely and at a realistic pace is the best way to reach your healthy weight and to maintain that weight in the long term.
To make sure you lose weight safely, always speak to your GP before starting a new diet or fitness regime.
One pound of fat contains 3,500 calories so cutting your calorie intake by 500 calories per day on average, should see you lose 1 pound per week. While it might not seem like much, if you ate an extra 100 calories per day, by the end of the year you could gain 11lbs. Small changes make a huge difference in the long term.
set small and realistic goals to help you lose weight safely and make you more likely to maintain your weight loss
eat 3 regular, balanced meals a day
try to have meals at planned times
only include snacks if you're physically hungry
More about eating a healthy balanced diet
Try some healthy substitutes
Substitute high-calorie food for healthier alternatives if you're trying to lose weight. You could swap:
- crisps and dips grab for crunchy peppers and carrots and dip them in some low-fat hummus
- a chocolate bar for a handful of unsalted nuts
- high-calorie coffee - such as a latte or mocha - for a lower calorie Americano
Looking for healthy snack inspiration?
Losing weight is about eating a healthy and balanced diet, but a big part of being successful in your weight loss attempts is learning how to control your portion sizes.
Portion sizes vary depending on a number of factors - such as age, gender and activity levels - but as a rough guide, the following table outlines the portion sizes of some common foods:
Pasta and rice
2 to 3 tablespoons
1 medium slice
Size of a deck of cards
Size of a matchbox
Beans or pulses
Picking a smaller plate can help to reduce your portion sizes and in turn, the number of calories consumed.
More about portion control.
Turn off technology
Eating in front of the TV can influence our food choices but can also contribute to us eating more than we need. Concentrating on the TV instead of the meal or snack you're eating can lead to mindless eating where we eat more than we need and will be less likely to notice feeling full.
Planning your meals
Planning ahead is important to help ensure you have the right foods to hand, at the right times.
use a meal planner for the week ahead
make a shopping list
bulk cook meals and freeze portions
try using a slow cooker
do not shop when you're hungry
do not buy larger pack sizes and in-store promotions that are often foods high in fat, salt or sugar - like crisps and fizzy drinks
Keeping active has many benefits to your health and wellbeing and when part of a healthy diet, can be an effective way to lose weight.
It's recommended that all adults should try to be active every day and should complete at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week. This could include many different activities such as cycling, walking or even heavy housework where your breathing is increased but you are still able to talk.
Alternatively, you could complete 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, which could include activities such as running or a game of football where your breathing is fast and you are finding it difficult to talk during. You could split this up into manageable workouts such as 30 minutes over 5 days of the week.
It's is also recommended that adults include strength and balance exercises twice a week that keep muscle, bones and joints strong and reduce our risk of frailty and falls in later life. You could try some useful strength and balance exercises.
It's important to remember that some movement is good, but more is better. It's never too late to start and there are many different activities, so try to find something you enjoy doing.
More about keeping active.