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How to lose weight

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2015 is just around the corner and it is almost that time of year again where after much Christmas indulgence, people will be making New Year’s resolutions.

One of the most common resolutions made is to lose weight. Did you know being overweight can lead to health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke? Making sensible changes to your levels of physical activity as well as your diet will make a difference.  Losing weight will not happen overnight and it will take time.

Drastic fad diets and exercise regimes that result in rapid weight loss are unlikely to work for long since these types of lifestyle changes are difficult to maintain.

So what can be done to lose weight? Sally Abbott, dietician at Solihull Hospital, says: “The healthy body mass index (BMI) is a measure of whether you have a healthy weight for your height. If your BMI falls into the overweight range, aim to achieve a weight that puts your weight in the healthy range. If your weight is in the obese division, set yourself a target of losing between five to ten percent of your starting weight. Click here to check your BMI.

“Find ways of increasing your levels of physical activity. Try to get off the bus one stop early on the way home and walk the rest of the way. During your lunch break you could even take a walk to the shops. You do not have to spend several hours at the gym and being regularly active can help you to maintain weight loss. The right amount of physical activity depends on your age. It is recommended that adults between 19 and 64 get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week.

“Asians tend to add butter/ghee to improve the taste of Asian dishes. As an alternative, you could use rapeseed oil. Rather than having a heavy meal in the evening, it is better to have smaller meals throughout the day.

“Cutting down on foods that are high in saturated fat and sugar such as cakes, biscuits, pastries and pies can make a difference. Try to eat less salt as well. Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink will allow you to control your weight.

“Aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. A glass of 100 percent unsweetened fruit juice counts as one portion. Why not try chopping various fruits over your breakfast cereal? Go easy on the carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and rice and keep an eye on your portion sizes.

“Stay motivated, stick to healthy eating and think positively.”

If you are worried about your weight, contact your local GP or talk to a dietician for advice. You can also visit the NHS Choices website (www.nhs.uk) for more advice on how to lose weight.

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