Rapid weight loss can lead to problems: a decrease in the amount of muscle tissue, the formation of gallstones, nutrient deficiencies, etc.
The Ministry of Health notes that losing a significant number of kilograms in a short period of time often leads to repeated weight gain. Whereas people with gradual weight loss (from 400 to 900 grams per week) are more likely to maintain the result than those who lose weight quickly.
According to the STEPS study conducted in Ukraine in 2019, 59% of Ukrainian adults are overweight, and almost 25% of them are obese. This means that most Ukrainians have a high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases or other diseases related to excess weight, according to the Ministry of Health.
“Losing 5-10% of body weight has a positive effect on health”, – they say in the ministry. They gave advice on how to lose weight safely.
Conduct an “audit” of eating habits
The Ministry of Health recommends starting the weight loss process with monitoring your eating behavior: how, where and how many times a day you eat; do you set aside time for lunch or eat “on the go” or in front of the TV.
“Keep a food diary and for several days in a row write down (or even better – photograph) absolutely everything you drink and eat, as well as in what quantity. Sometimes the result of such monitoring can be very surprising.” – the Ministry of Health says.
Analyze your lifestyle
As a next step, the Ministry of Health urges you to think about what might be preventing you from losing weight.
“How do you feel? Do you skip lunch/breakfast? Do you finish everything on your plate, even after you are full? Do you move enough during the day? The answers to these and other questions will come in handy and help you make a further action plan” , – they say in the ministry.
At this stage, it is recommended to contact a doctor for support.
Define a goal that will become your motivation
Specialists of the Ministry of Health advise to create a plan to achieve the defined goal of losing weight. It should be written down on a piece of paper and periodically reread. And when drawing up a plan to achieve the goal, it is recommended to use the tactics of small, but specific and realistic goals.
“For example, “I will do more sports” is not the best goal, but “I will walk for 15 minutes every night before bed” is. Don’t try to change all your habits at once, do it gradually. Remember that sometimes there may be obstacles in your way It’s okay to fail. But it’s important not to give up.” – they write in the Ministry of Health.
Learn to distinguish physical hunger from emotional hunger
“Often we eat when we’re bored, sad or anxious. It’s important to learn to eat when we want to eat, not when we need comfort. Try to stop eating a little before you feel full, because the brain needs about 20 minutes to process the signals from the stomach about saturation”, – the Ministry of Health advises.
Be careful what you eat
Doctors urge to tune in not to a short-term diet, but to a gradual change in the amount of food, giving preference to healthy products, dishes and drinks in order to improve eating habits and lifestyle.
“Give preference to foods that give a feeling of satiety and contain a lot of fiber: vegetables and greens, whole grain products, nuts, berries, beans, lentils; protein animal products (fish, poultry, eggs). Focus on seasonal products. Drink water when you feel thirsty” – listed in the ministry.
They also emphasize the importance of realizing that changes in diet and lifestyle must be permanent – otherwise it is futile to count on stable results.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Often, in the desire to achieve results, people drive themselves into strict limits. Often this leads not only to breakdowns, but also to a return to old habits and feelings of guilt.
“So leave some room for a few indulgences. For example, don’t give up dark chocolate, but eat a few small pieces instead of half a bar.” – offered by the Ministry of Health.
Treat change as a contribution to overall health
For the process of losing weight to be effective, a person must enjoy the changes.
“Treat them as steps to a healthier you. Walk, dance, do yoga, run, clean your room – find activities that you enjoy and do them as often as possible.” – they call on the Ministry of Health.
Experts also advise learning self-help skills for stress, because mental health also affects physical well-being.
Eat slowly and thoughtfully
Doctors advise to enjoy the process of eating instead of combining it with other activities.
“Find time to eat calmly, to appreciate the taste of the food, to feel satiety. At least 20 minutes should be allocated for the main meals. It is worth limiting the number of meals to the three classic ones – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Remember that each snack adds calories to your energy balance”, – the Ministry of Health explains.
The ministry also notes that scientific studies confirm the usefulness of limiting the time of eating during the day for weight control. That is why they recommend having breakfast later and dinner earlier: “This will help you see better results in your weight loss efforts”.
Review your goals periodically
The last piece of advice from the Ministry of Health is to return to the list of defined goals and evaluate one’s own successes.
“If something goes wrong, think about what you can change and update the list. Add new ones to those goals you have already implemented so that you don’t stop at achievements. Praise yourself for your successes! Small rewards (not food!) will keep you motivated” , experts say.
The Ministry of Health also reminds that the advice “just eat less” does not work for everyone and not always, because many factors affect a person’s ability to lose and maintain weight.
“There is no universal “diet” for everyone. However, you will have to change your lifestyle. It’s not easy to change habits formed over the years, but you don’t have to do it immediately: it’s enough to take small steps every day – and everything will definitely work out!” – summarized in the Ministry of Health.
Read also: When you really need to lose weight and how to understand it