Eating a healthy, well balanced and varied diet can help you manage your weight and help improve your general health and well being. It can also help reduce the risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes and certain cancers.
The eatwell guide illustrates the main food groups and proportions required to make a healthy diet.
To find out how to get the balance right, visit:
It’s also worth noting that some drinks can be high in sugar and calories and by having too many calories you are more likely to put weight on. In order to lose weight most adult need to eat and drink fewer calories.
Eating for Weight Loss
Eating for weight loss is not just about choosing healthier foods, it is also about monitoring your portion sizes and limiting the amount of high calorie snacks and treats you have.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Keep a Food and Activity Diary – Evidence suggests that by writing down what you eat and drink you are more likely to be successful at losing weight and keeping the weight off for good.
- Plan ahead and don’t skip any meals – Eating regular meals is very important for weight control. Missing meals can increase temptation to snack on high calorie, unhealthy snacks.
- Get the right balance – Try not to overload your plate – Firstly fill half your plate with vegetables or salad, then quarter of the plate, your choice of protein food: meat, fish,eggs,beans or other non dairy source of protein eg soya mince or tofu – then the last quarter starchy foods: potatoes, pasta, noodles or rice. A 3oz portion of meat is the same size as a deck of cards – the recommended meat portion size for a meal!
- Downsize your plates – Use smaller plates and bowls- you’ll give yourself less and are likely to eat less! Eating smaller portions of food is one of the easiest ways to cut calories!
Visit NHS Choices – What does 100 calories look like? For a pictorial guide of 100 calories.
- Slow down when your eating – allow your brain time to register that you are full.
- Avoid temptation! – Avoid buying large or super-sized meals when your out – opt for the smaller servings. Likewise don’t buy jumbo bags of crisps or king sized bars of chocolate instead choose the individual sized bags or the mini chocolate bars – you are less tempted to overeat!
- Avoid distractions when eating for example eating whilst on the phone or watching TV. Focus more on the food you’re eating this may help to prevent you overeating.
- Read food labels and choose single servings. Many pre-packed foods contain more than one serving, make sure you only eat one serving!
Record your progress
Keeping a food diary is a very useful tool to help you monitor your progress, it can also help you plan goals and help you stay on track.
Set S.M.A.R.T Goals!
Before you start to take control of your weight, it is important that you are clear and understand the healthy eating goals and targets you wish to achieve. Write down your goals and include step by step details of how you are going to achieve them.
Set yourself S.M.A.R.T healthy eating goals. S.M.A.R.T goals are ones that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time limited. S.M.A.R.T goals are easy to monitor, you should have no problem identifying when you make progress.
Start by setting just 1 or 2 goals. Don’t make lots of changes all at once!
Examples of SMART healthy eating goals:
- Eat 3 smaller meals each day.
- Eat a breakfast everyday.
- Reduce portion sizes by using smaller plates and bowls.
- Take a piece of fruit to work each day.
- Serve at least one portion of vegetables with my evening meal on 5 days of the week.
- Cut back chocolate intake to one fun sized bar only 3 times a week.
- Ask for a side salad instead of chips at lunchtime at the works canteen.
Give it a go!
- Download S.M.A.R.T Goals Sheet to record your goals and track your progress.
Setting and recording your own personal goals is a great way to keep you focused. You are more likely to reach your goals if you write them down and display them somewhere as a reminder – next to your desk at work, on the fridge door or store them on your phone!
Things to remember:
- Recognize your achievements – Reward yourself once you’ve reached your goal. Treat yourself to a new top or a bottle of perfume/aftershave or go ten pin bowling.
- Accept that personal goals are not set in stone The goals you set yourself should be reviewed regularly and if necessary changed over time.
- Stay focused – Don’t get too upset if you don’t manage to reach one of your goals instead focus your thoughts on getting back on track as quickly as possible. Remind yourself of the reasons why you want to lose weight and feel encouraged by your achievements so far.
Structured Eating Plan
If you feel you would prefer a more structured approach to weight loss, with a guide to portion sizes and servings you should be aiming for, then visit The British Dietetic Associations – Weight Wise:
Further Information (External Websites)
- Eating Out
- Food Labels
- Healthier Snacking
- Healthier Takeaways
- Healthy Recipes
- Lose Weight
- South Asian Recipes
- The Eatwell Plate
- What does 100 calories look like?
- 12 Tips to Help You Lose Weight
- Eat Better Feel Better Recipes
- Eat Better Feel Better
- Sugar Swaps
- Cut Down Calories
Self Monitoring Tools (pdfs)
Useful Apps and Tools
- Alcohol Unit and Calorie Calculator
- Alcohol Tracker app
- BMI Tracker app
- Healthy Weight Calculator
- Calorie Calculator
- Meal Mixer App
- Healthy Eating Quiz
- My Meal Mate
- Easy Meals
Continue to work through our ‘Choose To Lose’ webpages, take control, self monitor and manage your own weight.