Tightening the belt after the Christmas feasts

By Amy Craddock, Student Dietitian

By Amy Craddock, Student Dietitian

Have you had to loosen your belt another notch after Christmas? Or maybe you’re struggling to get that zipper up on those already snug pair of jeans? If you feel you had a few too many mince pies this Christmas, why not make some healthy changes to help you shed a few pounds? Unless Santa worked a Christmas weight loss miracle, it’s now up to you, and you alone, to work some weight loss magic!

The first step is to get active! Wrap up warm and get out for a morning, lunchtime or evening walk. For weight loss it is recommended that you exercise for at least 60 minutes most days. Persuade a friend or family member to tag along and make it a social outing too! If walking isn’t your thing, why not try to find an activity or class you’ll enjoy? January is the perfect time for this as plenty of clubs or sports centres will be starting a new term. If exercise seems daunting, start slowly and work up – every little helps!

Cut out those fats! Sometimes little changes can make a huge difference. Think about cutting down on the amount of butter you add to food, or the oil you use in cooking. Consider switching to a low fat spread to reduce your calorie intake! Also, choose leaner cuts of meat and remove visible fat from meat before you start to cook.

Think about the meals that you have through the day. How healthy is your breakfast? Believe it or not people who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to be a healthy weight so think about having a bowl of porridge, or fibre rich cereal, in the morning is the perfect way to start the day and make sure you won’t be tempted to overeat later in the day. Choose low-fat milk to keep the calories down and watch those portion sizes!

For snacks, forget the chocolate and mince pies; go for the lower fat alternatives like fruit, low fat yogurts, a handful of nuts, rice cakes, whole meal scones or a bowl of high fibre cereal.

Portions, portions, portions! Many of us feel like we’re eating a healthy diet, and yet the weight seems to be creeping up! Perhaps it’s time you looked at your portion sizes? Recommended food portion sizes may be found in the weigh2live booklet that can be downloaded from www.safefood.eu, along with great advice for healthy eating and weight loss.

For more information or for more information on diet and nutrition, please contact:

The Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster Tel: (044) 9353220 or email community.dietitians@hse.ie.