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How Can I Lose Weight?

Did you know in past two months (Nov/Dec 2014) the Herald on-line has posted 19 articles on weight loss….

And what is more they often offer conflicting advice!  Google “best way to lose weight” and you get nearly 100,000,000 results, Google gradual weight loss, you get 247,000,000 results.  Based on this I think it is fair to say we are somewhat obsessed with dieting.  Given our obvious thirst for knowledge do we know what actually works?  You might not believe it based on all the conflicting hype but “yes we do”.

A recent study looked at four popular diets including Atkins, South Beach, the Zone and Weight Watchers, what they found with all four diets was a reasonable weight loss in the short term but no long-term benefit.  Since the study commenced other diets have become very popular like Paleo, low carb, low glycemic index, Mediterranean to name a few.  Other studies reviewing these approaches have found much the same results – Ok in the short term, no great benefit in the long term.

So what does work?  The first thing to realise is there is no magic bullet, achieving a sustained healthy body weight comes from eating a diet that;

  • contains lots of vegetables
  • is affordable
  • is based on foods you and your family like
  • is mostly whole foods
  • is based on regular meals

Best summed up by Michael Pollan as “eat food, not too much, mainly plants”.

Once you adopt this philosophy it becomes easier to get an idea of the ideal diet.  Another way to look at it is to consider a dinner plate and what foods take up the space.  The ideal balance of food on your plate is;

½ vegetables

¼ carb rich foods (bread, potatoes, kumara, pasta, rice etc)

¼ protein (lean meat, chicken, fish, beans, lentils, eggs etc)

Fat is OK (in small amounts as it does contain a lot of calories) but choose healthy fats like;

  • avocado
  • olive oil
  • rice bran oil
  • oily fish (salmon, tuna)

So if you’re feeling like it is time for a change take these first steps of:

-           upping the vegetables

-          having a look at the balance of your plate

-          adjusting serving sizes if you need to

Small, sustainable, affordable changes will get you and your family to your goal of a healthy body weight.

Our thanks to Sarah Hanrahan, Dietitian, New Zealand Nutrition Foundation for writing this article www.nutritionfoundation.org.nz

Attalah R, Filion KB, Wakil SM, Genest J, Joseph L, Poirer P, Rinfret S, Schiffrin E, Eisenberg MJ.  The long term effects of 4 popular diets on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factors: a systematice review of randomised controlled trials.  Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2014. 7:815-827.

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