How do you lose weight


January is a time when people start to make their New year resolutions, and often these include losing weight and getting fitter.

At this time of year there are many fad diets advertised in the press, on social media and on TV. Many of them are endorsed by celebrities who make claims and statements supporting their success. The scientific evidence behind many of these diets is very limited and most offer a short-term fix to a long-term problem.

Many of our clients feel like they’re failing when these diets don’t deliver on their promises.

Sustainable weight loss is not a quick fix and should be approached as a long term lifestyle change.

Dietitian Sally-Anne Search, has provided these helpful hints and tips for successful weight loss, that we support at MoreLife.

Paul Gately
So I should avoid fad diets – what is a fad diet?

Fad diets often advise you to follow a very restrictive diet, based on a few foods for a short period of time and result in very rapid weight loss.

The diets are often accompanied with books, products, paid-for memberships or online services that can quickly add up in cost for those wanting to follow these diets.

Some of the fad diets around include:

Raw vegan
Blood type diet
Detox teas and skinny coffee
Slimming sachets
Alkaline water
Drink your own urine
Very low carb/ketogenic diet

In all honesty, many of the diets are not sustainable long-term and can provide nutritionally unbalanced diets on a long-term basis.

The best approach to help you reduce your weight is by increasing your activity levels and adopting a healthy balanced diet.

You could look at the Eatwell Guide, reduce your portion sizes, drink less alcohol and aim to be active where you can every day.

The Eatwell Guide recommends at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day: small portions of wholegrain carbohydrates; lean meat, fish and alternatives like beans and pulses; and low-fat dairy products. There is also an emphasis to cut down on processed foods where your budget will allow.

Try to follow a diet which is evidence based, suits your budget, food preferences and can be followed on a long-term basis. Weight loss can be long journey so make sure you are following a plan you can stick with.

At MoreLife we think food should be enjoyed even when you are trying to lose a few pounds so the dietary advice we give is evidence based and practical, helping to guide and support you on your weight loss journey and achieve your long-term goals in 2022.

Did you know…?

A pound of fat contains 3500 calories, so to lose one pound of fat per week you need to reduce your calorie intake by approximately 500 every day.

(7 days  x  500calories  = 3500 calories = 1 Pound of fat)

Easy swaps

Small everyday changes can make a big difference in the long term.

Have a look below for some swap ideas that you could try to help you reduce your calorie intake.

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Full Fat Dairy Products
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Low fat alternatives
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Replace full fat dairy products with low fat alternatives where possible e.g. milks, yoghurts and cheese. This helps you to reduce your fat and calorie intake. Try to replace full fat spreads with lower fat alternatives or just try to use less full fat spreads on bread, toast and in sandwiches.
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Fatty or processed meat
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Leaner cuts of meat or plant-based protein
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Replace fatty meats/processed meats with leaner cuts of meat or even try some plant-based proteins as an alternative e.g. soya-based products, Quorn beans and pulses.
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Avoid frying foods
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Grill, bake or roast
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Try to grill, bake or roast rather than fry foods. Remember some cooking oils contain healthier fats but they all contain the same number of calories as hard fats e.g. butters and margarines. Swap fried snacks e.g. crisps for baked alternatives.

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High calorie snacks
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Snack on fruit or vegetables
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Try to cut down on snacks in-between meals, try swapping high calorie snacks for fruits and vegetables.
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If you enjoy take-aways, which are often high in fat and calories try to make your own home cooked “fake-aways” as an alternative.
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Non-alcoholic drinks
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Remember alcohol contains lots of calories so try reducing your weekly intake of alcohol by swapping to non-alcoholic alternatives when you can. You could think about alternating an alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink helping you to drink less. Also the government advice is that both men and women should not regularly drink more than 14 units a week to keep health risks from alcohol low.
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Fizzy drinks
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Drink water or low fat milk or fruit juices (in moderation)
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Full sugar fizzy drinks contain lots of sugar and no nutrients. Low fat milks and fruit juices are good choices in moderation however nothing is better than water (still or carbonated) as it helps you feel fuller, so you don’t snack and contains zero calories.
MoreLife’s Top Ten Handy Hints for Losing Weight


Choose two or three small changes you want to make and start with an action plan and some goals you would like to achieve in the next few months.

Remember just losing 5-10% of your body weight can result in really positive health benefits for you.


Try and prevent hunger between meals. Increase your intake of low energy dense foods, this will help you feel fuller for longer. Low energy dense foods contain fewer calories per gram and are often high in water content some examples include soups, fruits and vegetables, boiled pasta and rice.

For example, compare the following meals:

2 slice white bread cheese sandwich vs Jacket potato with low fat cottage cheese and a mixed salad

They both contain similar calories but the meal containing the jacket potato would leave you feeling fuller and satisfied for much longer, helping you to not snack in-between meals.


Don’t let yourself feel like you’re missing out on the food you enjoy. Try adapting some of your favourite recipes by lowering the fat and calorie content of some of the key ingredients or spice things up with herbs and spices where you can.


Aim to plan what you’re going to eat before you go out for a meal. This is a great way to ensure that your diet is balanced healthy and helps you stay within your calorie limits Have a look at the menu on line and try to decide what choices you could make which will help keep you on track. Remember to ask for what you want, for example salad dressing on the side or vegetables without butter. If you are in a fast food restaurant you can always order a kid’s meal as an option. Avoid supersizing any of your meals or drink.


Watch the amount you are drinking, the amount we drink can have an impact on our weight. Alcohol contains lots of calories and doesn’t fill you up. For example, a pint of bitter contains the same number of calories as a medium slice of pizza.

You could try replacing full sugar mixers with slimline alternatives to cut calories.

Another option is to swap every other alcoholic drink for a low-calorie soft drink or carbonated water, as this will reduce the amount of alcohol you drink and also make you feel full.

Too much alcohol can also make you feel hungry, so you may feel like eating and drinking more than you had planned to if, for example you are at a party, or on the way home.


Check your hunger and fullness levels before eating. Try to eat when you are hungry and recognise when you are full. Once you start to recognise when you are full you can stop and going forward reduce your portion sizes accordingly.

Recognising hunger infographic

Remember to slow down when you are eating, giving yourself the opportunity to recognise when you are full.


Think about your portion sizes. Portion sizes of foods have increased considerably over the years, so we are probably eating more than we realise. Keeping to the recommended portion sizes for food and drinks can enable you to manage your weight. Use a smaller plate whenever you can to help you reduce your portion sizes.


Try to keep active when you can. Doing more everyday helps you burn more calories but can boost your mood too. This can include, shopping, being out with the family for a walk, washing the car and taking the kids to the park. Remember cleaning burns calories too and gives you the satisfaction of seeing your home gleam.


Avoid any detox and celebrity diets. In a recent statement the British Dietetic Association stated “Over recent years we have been excited to see people’s interest in food, health, fitness and ‘wellness’ increase. At the same time, however, there has been an equally large jump in the number of faddy, factually incorrect – and at times dangerous – diets out there supported by celebrities and claiming to be the secret to a new, healthier, more attractive and energetic you.”


When doing your shopping, think about those healthy choices you can make. Try online shopping to reduce the temptation to buy any BOGOF offers, as these are often offers on high sugar or high fat products, such as biscuits and crisps.


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