Get off to the best possible start on the NHS Choices 12-week weight loss plan with these 12 diet and exercise tips.
Research shows eating breakfast helps you control your weight. Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight, but missing meals doesn't help us lose weight and isn't good for us as we can miss out on essential nutrients. It could also encourage us to snack more throughout the day because you feel hungry. Check out five healthy breakfasts.
Some people think missing meals will help them lose weight, but it's been shown eating regularly during the day helps burn calories at a faster rate. It also reduces the temptation to snack on foods high in fat and sugar.
Fruit and veg are low in calories and fat, and high in fibre – three essential ingredients for successful weight loss. They also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals. Read up on getting your 5 A DAY.
Studies show regular activity is key to losing weight and keeping it off. As well as providing numerous health benefits, exercise can help burn off the excess calories you can't cut through diet alone. Find an activity you enjoy and are able to fit into your routine.
People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. You can end up consuming extra calories when a glass of water is really what you need. You should aim to drink about six to eight glasses (1.2 litres) of fluid, preferably water, every day – or more if it's warm or you're exercising.
Foods containing lots of fibre can help keep you to feel full, which is perfect for losing weight. Fibre is only found in food from plants, such as fruit and veg, oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta, andbeans, peas and lentils.
Knowing how to read food labels can help you choose healthier options, and keep a check on the amount of calories, fat, salt and sugars you eat. Use the calorie information to work out how a particular food fits into your daily calorie allowance on the weight loss plan.
Studies show people who use smaller plates tend to eat smaller portions and are still satisfied. By using smaller plates and bowls, you may be able to gradually get used to eating smaller portions without going hungry. It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it's full, so eat slowly and stop eating before you feel full.
Don't ban any foods from your weight loss plan, especially the ones you like. Banning foods will only make you crave them more. There's no reason you can't enjoy the occasional treat as long as you stay within your daily calorie allowance.
To avoid temptation, avoid stocking junk food, such as chocolate, biscuits, crisps and sweet fizzy drinks, at home. Instead, stock up on healthy snacks, such as fruit, unsalted rice cakes, oat cakes, unsalted or unsweetened popcorn, and fruit juice.
Did you know a standard glass of wine can contain as many calories as a piece of chocolate, and a pint of lager has about the same calorie count as a packet of crisps? Over time, drinking too much can easily contribute to weight gain. Find out more about the calories in alcohol.
Plan your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the week, making sure you stick to your calorie allowance. Try to plan for four to seven days' worth of meals and snacks. Make a shopping list, but don't shop when you're hungry as that can lead to high-calorie impulse buys!
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