Copyright © Ministry of Health Singapore. All Rights Reserved.
Many people want to find the quickest possible way to lose weight. However, these methods are often not effective in the long run. A healthy lifestyle is the best long-term weight management strategy to lose weight permanently and healthily.
When it comes to losing weight, it's best to do it the healthy way.
Weight management is a lifestyle that incorporates the principles of healthy eating and active living. Here are simple things you can do every day that can help you achieve permanent weight loss because we don’t want to lose weight, only to gain it back the next day.
Caloric balance is the key to managing your weight. You do not have to give up your favourite foods just because they are high in calories.
The recommended daily calorie intake for females on average is about 1600 calories per day (kcal/day). An average man needs about 2000 kcal/day.
When you eat more calories than what your body uses or “burn off”, these extra calories will be stored as fat in your body, leading to weight gain. If you want to lose weight, the number of calories you consume must be less than the number of calories burned through physical activity.
To balance your calorie intake you can try one of the following:
Exercising portion control by reducing your food intake can help you lower your calorie intake so that you do not consume more calories than you burn. Some things you can try are using a smaller serving plate, sharing desserts and packing home leftovers if you can't finish your food.
If your favourite foods are high in calories, you do not have to give them up just because you need to lose weight. Furthermore, studies suggest that avoiding your favourite foods altogether often make them irresistible and may cause you to give in to food cravings and perhaps overeating. What you can do is to include them but make sure you eat within your caloric allowance. If you choose to have a high-calorie meal, choose a lower-calorie option for your next meal so that your total energy intake does not exceed the number of calories you need in one day. If you are meeting your friends for a buffet in the evening, try to have a healthier meal for lunch, and eat more fruits and vegetables instead.
Healthy food does wonders for the body. Be mindful of the food choices you make and
select healthier options whenever you can. Here are a few simple rules to bear in mind:
Whole grains can help you manage your weight as they help you feel full faster and keep you feeling full longer. This is because wholegrain foods are higher in fibre, which provide bulk. In addition, they are generally digested at a lower rate; hence prolonging the feeling of “fullness”. You can include a wide variety of wholegrain foods (e.g. wholemeal bread, brown rice and oats) in your diet. Be sure to look out for the Higher in wholegrain Healthier Choice Symbol when shopping for groceries.
Cutting down on high-fat foods will reduce your intake of daily calories and promote weight loss/prevent unnecessary weight gain. Did you know that 1g of fat contains 9 calories while the same amount of protein or carbohydrate only contains 4 calories?
When you cook:
When you're eating out:
Sugar supplies calories with no nutritional value. These empty calories can spoil your appetite and increase calorie intake. Diabetics in particular need to be careful with their blood sugar levels. Here are some tips to reduce your sugar intake:
Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories and high in nutrients and fibre. So increase your intake to provide bulk to fight the hunger pangs! Be sure to prepare vegetables with healthier cooking methods such as blenching, steaming or stir-frying with less oil.
In addition to the above strategies, always make sure you have lean protein foods at each meal because studies suggest that protein may help increase your metabolic rate and stave off hunger longer. Hence, it may aid in weight loss. For example, have a tub of low-fat yoghurt or low-fat milk during breakfast and a palm size of poultry without skin/lean meat/fish/beancurd during your main meals.
Physical activity is an essential part of any
effective weight-loss programme, as it burns calories that we have consumed over the day. To prevent weight gain, you should accumulate between 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week while being mindful of your diet. Exercise also helps with fat burning, and it will reduce the excess amounts of body fat we have stored in our bodies.
You should start slow and gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts. When you feel ready, try incorporating 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intesntiy aerobic physical activities and even change up your routine to include 2 to 3 muscle-strengthening sessions per week.
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity causes a slight increase in breathing and heart rate.
Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity causes a large increase in breathing and heart rate.
As a rule of thumb, 1 minute of vigorous-intensity physical activity = 2 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity. You can try a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic activity to get the necessary amount of physical activity each week.
Strength-building activities provide additional health benefits. They can help you to lose total body fat while also improving bone and muscle strength. It is recommended that you do muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week and involve all major muscle groups including the legs, hips, abdomen, back, chest, shoulder and arms.
To build muscle, you need to repeat an action. A repetition is one complete movement of an activity, like an arm curl or sit-up. During weight lifting, you should aim to complete 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. Some examples of muscle and bone strengthening activities are hand-held weights, resistance bands, callisthenics, strength training equipment, and rock climbing walls.
Some diet plans suggest you skip meals in order to cut calories but it is actually unhealthy to do so. Skipping meals can cause you to snack more often or binge-eat which can lead you to consume even more calories. Some tips to remember are:
One last tip before you embark on your healthy journey to lose weight naturally and healthily. It’s important to get enough sleep as studies have shown that sleep-deprived people tend to experience an increase in hunger and appetite, so get a good night’s rest each night if you haven’t already been doing so.
Download the HealthHub app on
Google Play or
Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.
Read these next:
This article was last reviewed on
Thursday, June 24, 2021
Benefits of Fruits: Fun Fruity Facts for Health
Eating Light At A Hawker Centre Is Possible
Getting Your Caffeine Hit
What is a Healthy Weight?
How Much Calories Do I Need A Day?
View More Programmes
Here are some simple ways for you to maintain your calorie intake.
Screen for Life (SFL) is a national screening programme that encourages Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents to go for regular health screening and follow up.
Stroke is an emergency. Early detection and treatment will help to improve outcomes. Learn how to spot a stroke and more with these tips below.
Browse Live Healthy