Want to lose weight? Here are five golden rules to follow (and five things NOT to do)

Have you tried and failed to lose weight in the past? Ready to have another go, but not sure what to do? Here are five golden rules to follow (and five things NOT to do).

Many of us will have made losing weight or getting fit part of our New Year resolutions but, with lots of conflicting advice and information out there, it can be hard to know where to start.

It might be easy to stick to a new healthy eating routine for a week, but how do you make new habits last and ensure success?

To help, Terri-Ann Nunns, diet expert and founder of the Terri-Ann 123 Diet Plan, has shared the five golden rules you should follow when embarking on a new healthy eating routine and five things you should leave in the last decade to help you achieve your diet and fitness goals.

Five golden rules to follow to lose weight

Want to lose weight? Here are five golden rules to follow.

1) Take exercise outside the gym

Going to the gym can be a great way to boost weight loss as well as being good for your overall fitness and mental health. However, the idea that spending hours in the gym is the best way to get into shape is not true.

When it comes to exercise, quality beats quantity. You can do a really great high intensity workout in half an hour which will be much better than slogging away for three hours on a bike!

Think carefully about what extra activity you could do. Are you able to go to a gym class, or can you increase the amount you walk? When it comes to physical activity, every little helps.  

2) Allow yourself a treat

Some people buy drugs like phentermine over the counter in order to lose weight. But a little bit of a treat now and then will do you good!

Banning foods completely will just make you want them more, and you’ll be more likely to binge. Enjoy a small bar of chocolate on a Saturday night or a glass of wine with a meal with friends. 

Many popular restaurants now offer meals for under 600 calories, so the idea that you can’t eat out when you’re dieting simply isn’t true.

Enjoy a treat lunch with your children or date night with your partner – it’s important to reward yourself and it will make it much more likely that you’ll make your new diet a lifetime habit.

3) Track your progress

It’s really important that you track your weight loss journey as this will keep you motivated and allow you to see how far you’ve come – especially important on days when you feel like giving up.

This could include weighing yourself weekly, taking your measurements, taking photos or simply making note of when you’ve fit back into those jeans.

Keeping a record of your progress also helps to keep you accountable. You can check the LIFE Fasting Tracker on Android and iOS for better results. If you’re not meeting your goals, you can spur yourself on to do something about it. But remember to be honest; it is only yourself you’re cheating.

4) Eat frequently throughout the day 

We’ve all been told from a young age that snacking is bad for you as it can ruin your appetite and spoil your meals but actually, snacking can be a really great way to keep you on track and focused on your weight loss goals.

If you ensure the snacks you eat are healthy and reasonably low-calorie, they can provide your body with a steady flow of energy throughout the day, helping reduce cravings for unhealthier food when it gets to mealtime.

As a general rule, try to stick to snacks of around 100 calories: a yoghurt, a small bag of popcorn, a large boiled egg or a cereal bar are all good options.

5) Always stay hydrated and well rested 

The amount of water you drink and the amount of sleep you get on a daily basis can really impact your weight loss and overall health. Keeping hydrated is really important, especially as it can sometimes be easy to confuse hunger with thirst.

Rest is also really important, as if you sleep for less than six hours each night, you may be more likely to gain weight. Being tired means we have low energy levels so we often turn to food to resolve this, so it’s really important you aim to get at least eight hours sleep each night to stay on track.

Five things NOT to do if you want to lose weight

So what should you NOT be doing if you’re serious about losing weight? Here are five things to avoid.

1) Don’t get sucked in by fads 

With multiple diets and weight loss solutions vying for our attention at this time of the year, it can be hard to differentiate viable ways to lose weight from fads.

To avoid getting sucked in, ask yourself the following five golden questions – if the answer is yes to one or more of the below, it’s best to be avoided:

  1. The only case studies are influencers or celebs who are being paid to promote the product. This suggests it’s highly unlikely anyone has actually lost weight healthily following the diet.
  2. The diet requires you to swap healthy nutritious meals for teas, pills or other replacements, which often means simply buying more of the company’s products.
  3. It makes you completely cut out multiple food groups. A sustainable diet should always be a balanced one with a mixture of protein, carbohydrates and fats.
  4. There is no evidence the diet is supported by an expert dietician or nutritionist. Diets should always be accompanied by some level of expertise.
  5. It severely limits your calorie intake. This isn’t sustainable or healthy and can lead to you being malnourished and lacking in energy.

2) Don’t set yourself unattainable goals 

It’s unrealistic to think you can eat only 500 calories a day, this isn’t sustainable or healthy and will cause more damage than good.

To make sure you are eating enough and still in a calorie deficit (using up more calories than you are taking in through food and drink), set a sensible amount for your daily calorie intake of at least 1,500 calories, never skip a meal and if you are hungry – eat. Don’t deprive yourself of the fuel your body needs!

3) Don’t completely cut out one food group 

There are many claims that cutting out carbs or eliminating fat is the best way to lose weight, but cutting out food groups is very rarely sustainable, and it’s definitely not healthy as you will be missing out essential nutrients.

There are many foods that contain carbs, including fruit and veg, and there are many fats that are good for you, such as avocados and oily fish, so it’s unrealistic to think that cutting out these food groups is the best approach. A balanced diet including all food groups is much more sustainable and healthy.

4) Don’t believe everything you see on social media

Please try to remember that social media is also an edited version of reality. People present themselves in the best light possible and post their most glamourous looking photos – this isn’t always real life!

Don’t feel disheartened when you see a model looking skinny on the beach or a celebrity showcasing their weight loss from the latest tea or pill and let that damage your confidence. Things are edited/photo shopped and not often as they appear.

5) Don’t be so hard on yourself

If your weight loss journey has become stressful or unenjoyable take a step back and take the pressure off. Take some time out to eat and live healthily without the pressure of the scales.

You may find that in a few months’ time the weight has come off much more easily when you take the pressure off yourself.

You will find there are times when it seems hard to lose weight and like you’ll never meet your goals, but don’t forget how far you’ve come and make sure you celebrate all the mini milestones – they’re just as important!

You can find more information about the Terri Ann 123 Diet Plan here.

Photo by Khamkhor