15 Great Tips
1. Eat slowly: It takes 20 minutes for the brain to register that your stomach is full so bolting down your food is a no-no and wls patients should always chew thoroughly and remember the 20:20:20 rule. Savour your meal and you will eat less, avoiding that unpleasant ‘stuffed’ feeling.
2. Keep track: Even if you are not dieting, keeping an eye on what you are eating is a good idea. Use your phone to take pictures of everything you eat. You could also use one of the many apps available to log your food intake. If you don’t use a smartphone, write it all down in a notebook. This will also help you to keep a track on your protein intake each day – so essential for good health and body repair.
3. Exercise: Being active will increase your metabolism and help you burn calories more efficiently. Make small changes like taking the stairs, adding a short walk to your daily routine or even grabbing a quick 10-15 minute workout. Do a few reps of squats, pushups or just jog on the spot. It all adds up.
4. Be label aware: Watch for the ‘traffic light’ labelling that is now clearly displayed for most foods. Green means it’s a good nutritional choice, amber, to be eaten in moderation and red for an occasional treat. It’s a quick and easy way to make wise food choices.
5. Cut back on booze, kick it into touch or have as an occasional treat: The evening ritual of a glass of wine is a perfect way to unwind. But if it’s a daily habit, it can rack up the calories. Save it for a weekend treat instead. Early post-op your surgical team will probably advise against having any alcohol. Check out bariatrics and booze here.
6. Sleep: This has to be the easiest tip of all to follow! Did you know that losing a night’s sleep can reduce your metabolism’s efficiency by 20%? Go to bed at a regular time to keep it working normally.
7. Eat breakfast: It’s well-known that people who eat breakfast are more likely to lose weight than those who skip it and then compensate by eating starchy food. Try eggs, which are protein-rich and will keep you satisfied until lunchtime. If you prefer cereal, choose a high-fibre dish like porridge oats and low-sugar options.
8. Lose the sugar: Sugary foods cause an insulin spike which gives us the hollow, hungry feeling that’s so hard to ignore. Cutting sugar and sugary foods from your diet means less cravings, balanced blood sugar levels and less hunger pangs. Simple. High sugar foods can also cause dumping syndrome – not pleasant!
9. Leave the leftovers: Nobody likes to see food go to waste but using your own body as a garbage disposal isn’t doing you any favours. Don’t be tempted to graze on leftovers or snacks. Bin them straight away so you won’t be tempted to pick.
10. Downsize your plate: This one of the simplest ways to help you cut calories. Use a smaller plate, like our bariatric portion plate (for post-ops) or healthy portion plate (for pre-ops) when you eat and you will automatically eat less, no matter what you are having. Your brain still thinks you are having a big meal because the plate is full so it’s a winner! The sectioned plate will also ensure you eat food in the correct proportions.
11. Ditch diet drinks: Yes, I know diet drinks are calorie-free but research has shown that the artificial sweeteners in these drinks still encourage you to eat so cutting them out will increase your chances of weight loss. Try water with a twist of lemon instead. I’m not just talking fizzy diet drinks (avoid the soda!) but also still diet drinks too. Can you blow your surgery with fizz – check here.
12. Water: Staying hydrated is important to prevent fluid retention and weight gain. You need to drink about 1.5 – 2 litres of water a day to help your body function properly so this is an important diet tip. Your metabolism will work more efficiently and you are less likely to feel hungry if you drink water through the day.
13. Cut carbs: While low-carb diets are very popular, you need a certain amount of carbs in your diet to get all the nutrients you need. Not all carbs are created equal so swap ‘bad’ carbs such as white bread, rice, pasta and sugary foods for ‘good’ carbs like whole grains, beans, pulses and vegetables. Get your daily carb allowance this way and you will quickly reduce the ‘belly bloat’.
14. Don’t snack: In the last 30 years, people’s eating habits have changed from the standard ‘three meals a day’ pattern to snacking or ‘grazing’ through the day. However, we’re not cows so we don’t need to be constantly eating. Returning to regular meals and cutting the snack habit will make a huge difference. Try it and see!
15. Permanent change: Many people see weight loss as a temporary or ‘quick fix’ phase even after surgery. Once they have achieved their goal, they can sometimes return to poor eating habits of old. Don’t be one of them – make your new regime eating and these tips part of you new permanent lifestyle and it will be easier to maintain your ideal weight.
Some reportage courtesy of Tesco (tescohealthandwellbeing.com)