​If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is 23 kg/m2 and above, losing 10-15% of your current body weight at a rate of no more than 1 kg a week will benefit your health tremendously. 

But don't start starving yourself or become an overzealous exercise fanatic because these measures are often not sustainable in the long term. Your weight loss journey should be enjoyable because weight loss is not only about shedding kilos, but keeping them off in the long term. But we must first understand the basics of weight loss.

Weight loss 101

Caloric balance is the key to managing your weight. The recommended calorie intake for an average man needs about 2000 kcal/day while an average woman needs about 1600 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. 

To keep track of your caloric intake, you can download the Mobile Diet Tracker​ to find out the caloric content of local commonly eaten foods. It can also help to calculate your personal recommended calorie intake.

Like the saying "knowledge without action is futile", your next step is to translate knowledge into actions! Here are two strategies to help you lose weight without feeling deprived and feeling hungry.

Budget your calories

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. 

For example, you could choose to eat your favourite high calorie food but make up for the excess calories by having lower calorie choices at the next meals. As a general guide, lower calorie dishes are soup noodles, porridge and salads with less dressing.

Fight the hunger pangs

When trying to lose weight, it is inevitable that you will eat less than usual. However, you don't have to feel hungry as there are proven strategies to help reduce hunger pangs.

Abandon the refined grains! Switch to wholegrain foods
  • 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.
recommended calorie intake: healthier choice symbol
Never skip breakfast
  • Studies suggest that people who eat breakfast are less likely to suffer from hunger pangs.
  • Make a better breakfast by having wholegrain foods such as wholemeal bread, oats or wholegrain cereals with low fat milk!
Up your fruit and vegetable intake
  • Fruit and vegetable 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.
Include lean-protein foods
  • In addition to the above strategies, always make sure you have lean protein foods at each meal because studies suggest that protein may help stave off hunger longer; hence 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.

So Remember....

  • To lose weight, eat fewer calories than what your body burns.
  • You can eat your favourite high calorie food as long as you eat within your caloric allowance.
  • Switching to wholegrain foods, eating breakfast, having more fruit and vegetable as well as including lean protein during main meals are effective strategies to fight hunger pang.