Who hasn’t eaten more and moved less during lockdown? No wonder there’s such a term as ‘lockdown layer’ to describe COVID (or just winter) weight gain. The logical answer is to get rid of it quickly by going on a strict health kick, right? Wrong.
It sounds counterintuitive, but dieting and restrictive eating regimens actually work against long-term weight loss for a number of reasons. One, you don’t just lose fat but valuable muscle, in turn reducing metabolic rate (that is, you need to eat less and less to maintain weight loss, which is not sustainable). Two, as a cruel double whammy, restriction often leads to overeating and/or binge eating, which cancels out kilojoule deficits and may even exceed your body’s kilojoule needs…which have been reduced by dieting!
So how do you eat for weight loss? By eating a balanced diet with regular meals and creating a calorie deficit through a combination of exercise and controlling portions.
Here are SH dietitian Liz’s top tips for sensible, long-term weight loss:
1. Remove value judgments and allow everything. This doesn’t mean you should eat cake or creamy pasta on the daily, but don’t fully restrict or ‘ban’ certain foods or food types as this can lead to binge eating.
2. Eat regularly. Eating regular meals is important for regulating appetite and decreasing the risk of overindulging (or even bingeing) when you do allow yourself to eat.
3. Police your portions. Rather than cutting out foods or food groups, pay attention to portion sizes. As a rule of thumb, your plate should be ¼ protein, ¼ carbs and ½ salad or cooked veggies.
If you have a question about weight loss-friendly recipes or foods or how to lose weight without dieting, our dietitians would love to help. Just ask us in comments! #keepsoaring