We've all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day however when attempting to lose weight, that may be the single thing slowing you down. When you wake up from sleep, you are naturally in a fasted state (since you don't eat while you sleep). When your body is fasted, it begins to use the most readily available source of energy which is fat so the more activity you do on a fasted stomach, the more calories you burn. If the first thing you do upon rising is stuff your face with a thick bowl of oatmeal, eggs and a side of orange juice, your organs will now spend the next 4 hours trying to digest the food and in doing so, slow you down. Now when you go to exercise, your body is using the food as fuel and it isn't until it goes through all of the food that it then begins to target that beloved body fat.
Eating at regular times during the day helps burn calories at a faster rate. It also reduces the temptation to snack on foods high in fat and sugar.
Fruit and veg are low in calories and fat, and high in fibre – 3 essential ingredients for successful weight loss. They also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Being active is key to losing weight and keeping it off. As well as providing numerous health benefits, exercise can help burn off the excess calories you can't cut through diet alone.
People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. You can end up consuming extra calories when a glass of water is really what you need.
Foods containing lots of fibre can help keep you to feel full, which is perfect for losing weight. Fibre is only found in food from plants, such as fruit and veg, oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta, and beans, peas and lentils.
Knowing how to read food labels can help you choose healthier options. Use the calorie information to work out how a particular food fits into your daily calorie allowance on the weight loss plan.
Using smaller plates can help you eat smaller portions. By using smaller plates and bowls, you may be able to gradually get used to eating smaller portions without going hungry. It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it's full, so eat slowly and stop eating before you feel full.
Don't ban any foods from your weight loss plan, especially the ones you like. Banning foods will only make you crave them more. There's no reason you can't enjoy the occasional treat as long as you stay within your daily calorie allowance.
To avoid temptation, try to not stock junk food – such as chocolate, biscuits, crisps and sweet fizzy drinks – at home. Instead, opt for healthy snacks, such as fruit, unsalted rice cakes, oat cakes, unsalted or unsweetened popcorn, and fruit juice.
A standard glass of wine can contain as many calories as a piece of chocolate. Over time, drinking too much can easily contribute to weight gain.
Try to plan your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the week, making sure you stick to your calorie allowance. You may find it helpful to make a weekly shopping list.