by Kate Dullaghan,


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Kate Dullaghan is a nutritionist and physical activity researcher who loves endurance events and cooking up a storm with homegrown produce.

But she didn’t always lead such a healthy lifestyle – as she explains in this blog post, as a youngster she was very overweight, but has since made several healthy changes.

Here, Kate shares her 7 top tips for losing weight and keeping it off in the long-term.

Kate suggests starting with just one or two changes and making them habits before adding in more – they’ll add up over time!

  1. Know your 'why'. That is, why do you want to lose weight? Is it because you want to be active with your kids without getting out of breath? Or maybe you’re sick of not being able to find clothes that fit? Perhaps you’re worried about developing type 2 diabetes or having a heart attack because your parents did, or just don’t like the image that gazes back at you from the mirror? Whatever your ‘why’ is, it has to come from inside you and not from others (e.g. your partner/mum/friend says you’re overweight). Use your ‘why’ to motivate you on a day-to-day basis (e.g. save it in your phone) and when the going gets tough refer to it to help keep you on track.
  2. See everything as an opportunity to move. Take the stairs, wash the dishes instead of using the dishwasher, park at the furthest point from the supermarket or just walk instead, choose the furthest printer in the office to collect your printing, get off the bus a stop earlier and walk the rest, play on the equipment with the kids instead of just watching, get up to change the channel instead of using the remote. All of these little bits of (incidental) movement add up to help you burn excess energy and save you from having to take up running or slogging it out in the gym day after day (although if you enjoy them, you can do these too!).
  3. Get excited about food! Be curious, try something new, such as that exotic looking vegetable, weird fruit or pulses and look up new recipes and experiment. Healthy eating shouldn’t be dull or boring! Set yourself the challenge of going for 2 and 5 every day – that is, 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables. While you’re at it, eat a rainbow – the more different colours you eat, the more variety in nutrition you receive. Reaching 2 and 5 a day can be made easier by incorporating fruit and vegetables with each meal, making vegetables the centrepiece (viewing meat as just another ingredient), eating seasonally when produce is at is cheapest and freshest, or even trialling Meat Free Mondays. As an added bonus, you should find yourself feeling more satisfied whilst your food bills and waistline decrease.
  4. Keep in mind that value for money doesn't always mean value for health. Just because something costs less (e.g. two for the price of one or supersize for an extra 50c) doesn’t mean it will be cheaper in the long run. Studies show that the more food there is, the more you eat, so while it might be good for your hip pocket, buying more of something just because it’s a ‘bargain’ generally means you’ll eat more of it, too. Over time, this can affect your health and quality of life, and end up costing you more – physically, mentally and financially. When presented with a ‘bargain’, ask yourself: Will the value you see help you achieve your longer term health goals?.
  5. Never give up – every decision counts! Sometimes it can feel like you’ve ‘blown it’ and you might find yourself thinking ‘what’s the point?’ But instead of giving up (whether that be just for the rest of today or entirely) remember that every little decision counts. Just because you ate that whole block of chocolate doesn’t mean that you must punish yourself or are worthless or any countless number of negative things! What’s done is done and cannot be undone and whilst it might not have been the best decision with regard to your health, it’s just one of hundreds of decisions you’ll make in your day. Instead of giving up, focus on making the next decision you’re faced with a positive one for your health. A good rule of thumb is 80:20 – try to make health your focus 80 per cent of the time.
  6. Prioritise healthy sleep patterns. It might seem counter intuitive but getting enough sleep can actually help you to reach a healthy weight. When you’re feeling sleepy, it’s easy to be tempted into reaching for sugary snacks to pep you up and you’re also more likely to forgo extra activity such as walking home or cooking dinner from scratch. But did you know that the hormones that regulate your appetite are also disrupted when you’re sleep-deprived, making you hungrier? Setting yourself a sleep routine – such as going to bed and waking at the same time each day – and then following it until it becomes habit, can make a world of difference.
  7. Get organised. As the old saying goes, no one plans to fail, they just fail to plan. Being organised can help you both lose and keep off excess weight. Try setting aside a time where you plan out the week’s meals in advance. You can then write out a list of ingredients you need and, when you stick to this list when shopping, you’ll be less likely to spend money on other impulse items. You’ll be more likely to cook from scratch, which is associated with healthier body weight and it makes dinner time easier as you’ll already know what you’re having and be less likely to get takeaway or graze mindlessly. It’s also a great idea to cook up more than you need and freeze a few additional portions in individual containers for work lunches or nights when you don’t feel like cooking – just be sure to portion them up at the same time as you dish your own meal up so you’re not tempted to go back for seconds!

For more practical advice, check out LiveLighter’s top tips for a healthy lifestyle.

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