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Tips for losing weight

Many diets referred to as 'fad diets' are not sustainable in the long run.

These unsustainable diets often need a very low-calorie intake. This may help you lose weight in the short term but in the long term can be very difficult to maintain.

Generally, once you start eating normally again you can't maintain the weight loss. This is because it involves an increase in the amount you eat and so more calories.

Other 'fad diets' suggest removing entire food groups, such as carbohydrates, or only eating particular types of foods.

A helpful mindset to have about changing your eating to lose weight could be:

"Don't diet — eat healthy instead and include physical activity."

Tips for achieving a healthy weight loss

Eat regular healthy balanced meals

The NHS EatWell Guide shows what sorts of food you should eat, and in what proportions, to have a healthy, balanced diet.

It has recommendations for the various food groups. This includes fruit and vegetables, starchy foods (carbohydrates) and meat, fish and alternatives.

See a summary on what a healthy, balanced diet looks like by using the Eatwell Guide.


Do more physical activity to raise your breathing rate

Activity that raises your breathing rate is also known as cardio or aerobic exercise. It includes brisk walking, riding a bike, running, and swimming.

Learn more about recommended levels of activity.

It's very effective at burning calories. Find out more about calories and burning more calories than you take in for successful weight loss.


Exercise portion control

Portion control is also important when you're trying to lose weight and keep it off. Eating large portions can leave you feeling lethargic and uncomfortable from bloating.

You can try eating from a smaller bowl or plate and try not to eat while distracted. Be mindful of what you are eating and know when you feel satisfied.

Find out more about portion control.


Get enough sleep

Sleep can affect the hormones in our body responsible for hunger and the feeling of fullness.

The number of hours of sleep isn't the same for all. But it's recommended that adults try to get between 6 to 9 hours per night.


Eat more protein

Eating enough protein is also vital to successful healthy weight loss. Adding protein to your diet is one of the easiest and most effective ways to lose weight.

Eating more protein increases levels of the hormones linked to our feelings of hunger. It also helps us feel fuller for longer. This means we don't reach for high energy snacks when we get hunger pangs.

Get some tips on how to eat more protein at Following the Eatwell Guide at home.


Do strengthening exercises

As with physical activity that raises your heart rate, strengthening exercises burn calories too. Strengthening exercises include carrying heavy shopping, heavy gardening or yoga.

They help increase muscle size and can help increase the number of calories we burn when resting.

See the NHS examples of beginner strength activities you can try at home. You can also find out more about recommended levels of activity.


Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables

Most fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat, and high in fibre. These are three essential ingredients for successful weight loss.

Get tips on how to add more fruit and veg into your diet at Following the Eatwell Guide at home.

Research also shows we tend to eat the same volume or weight of food every day, regardless of its calorie content.

So, if we want to lose weight, it's crucial to stick to lower calorie foods to make up this volume.


Make small changes you can live with

It's most helpful not to think about a 'diet', but rather an approach that fits into the routine you have already.

This way, you're more likely to keep up healthy eating, exercise, and weight loss over the long term.

Losing weight doesn't have to involve making huge changes to your life. Often it is the many small changes you make that add up to help you shed the pounds.

See the NHS 12 tips to help you lose weight.