The Ultimate Guide to Weight Loss
Content by Anna Kallianteri, RD, BSc, MSc, Dietitian
Let’s unravel the secrets to sustainable and healthy weight loss. Many aspire to shed pounds, but what does it really mean to embark on a journey towards lasting change?
In this blog, we’ll delve into the core principles of sustainable weight loss, helping you understand the importance of gradual, realistic weight reduction, the health benefits it brings, and the strategies that truly work, from dietary improvements to the vital role of exercise.
Many people want to lose weight, but what is sustainable weight loss?
Sustainable weight loss is a decrease in body weight of at least 5% from your baseline weight.
Weight loss, in the initial stages, should be around 0.5-1kg per week.
Weight loss maintenance is considered to be when your body weight has been reduced by at least around 10% and kept off for over a year, in obese individuals.
What are the health benefits of sustainable weight loss?
There are many benefits to losing weight if you are obese, or have high visceral fat (fat stored around your vital organs). These include improvements to your cholesterol and lipid profile, reduction in blood pressure, better blood glucose control and reduced inflammation. Weight loss can also help to improve mental health and boost mood for many people.
What are the most effective weight loss maintenance strategies:
- Cutting down on highly processed foods rich in saturated fats and refined sugars
- Portion control
- Energy intake decrease
- Decrease of sugary drink consumption
- Increase of physical activity and general movement
- Increased variety of fruit and vegetables
- Monitoring weight
- Monitoring eating
- Monitoring exercise
What are the most effective nutritional changes that can be made to help you lose weight?
- Cut down on unhealthy foods: highly processed, refined, ready meals and snacks rich in saturated fats and/or added sugars and preservatives
- Monitor your food portions! Speak to your dietitian at Uniquely Health and learn what is the ‘right’ portion size for you, your daily needs and how smart swaps will help you achieve sustainable weight loss.
- Increase your fruit & vegetable intake: full of fibre, rich in antioxidants and low in calories, eat the ‘rainbow’, with 5-10 portions a day, every day!
- Decrease your liquid sugars: swap the added sugar soft drinks, alcoholic, and energy drinks with no-added sugar alternatives. Our daily sugar intake should not exceed 30g of free sugars = 7 sugar cubes.
Can Exercise help me lose weight?
Contrary to popular belief, it is not effective to rely on exercise alone to lose weight. It is much better to use exercise AND dietary approaches to achieve weight loss.
However, it’s important to note that exercise plays a key role in both maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system, as well as improving body composition (which is very important for weight loss maintenance)!
- Exercise works the cardiovascular system which can help to manage blood pressure, lower cholesterol and help with energy balance
- Resistance/ weight training helps to improve body composition by increasing lean muscle mass which can increase the number of calories you burn at rest due to its effect on basal metabolic rate
Can I lose belly fat?
One of the most popular questions asked around weight loss is ‘can you target particular areas of body fat’. And … the simple answer is unfortunately no.
As your body fat percentage comes down, this will take fat off different areas around the body.
The good news is that we can help guide you into your ‘fat burning zone’ so that when you exercise, you are using fat as your main energy source.
Maximum fat burn, for most people, occurs at around 60-65% of their maximum heart rate so we will help to guide the intensity of your workouts so that you stay in this zone.
Resistance training is also key for your metabolism as it helps you to build muscle mass that is important for regulating fat levels (muscle burns more calories than fat)!
The most effective way to lose weight is to combine both exercise and dietary approaches.
FUN FACT: You normally burn more calories after a weight training session than a cardio session!
How can we help you at Uniquely Health?
In summary, sustainable weight loss is a path to a healthier, happier you that involves gradual changes, starting with a 5% reduction in baseline weight at a rate of 0.5-1kg per week. Weight loss maintenance offers health benefits like improved cholesterol and blood pressure control. Effective strategies include reducing unhealthy habits, increasing physical activity, and monitoring your health markers. Key take-home messages: Understand your body composition, acknowledge the absence of a one-size-fits-all approach, and combine exercise and dietary changes for success. Uniquely Health is here to support your journey towards a healthier, happier you.
- 12-week Food and Fitness Programmes – designed to help you understand your body composition and support you with your weight loss goals. You will work with your dietitian and exercise scientist who will put together your bespoke plan to help you feel healthier and happier.
- Access to the Uniquely Health Dashboard – this will sync your wearable data and you can log your food, workouts and this will guide conversations with your clinicians so that the plan can be modified to your needs
- Health Custodian – to help you schedule appointments throughout the process