Beginning to lose weight can be difficult and intimidating. If you are struggling with your weight and diet, here are some easy steps you can take to make healthy and sustainable changes.

Everyone who wants to make a change for the better is always afraid of failure, which is why they don’t start in the first place. Firstly, I would tell anyone who is wanting to start a weight loss program is not to fear failure. It’s almost impossible to go through life without experiencing some kind of failure. During this time, it is important that they are surrounded by a strong support network, which might be made up of family, friends, colleagues, health practitioners and/or personal trainers. By having this network in place before they start can help the individual with their motivation, beliefs and self-esteem.

Another important point I like my clients to know is that one “bad day” won’t ruin your results to date. A lot of people trying to lose weight might find that they revert back to old habits and feel guilty about it or almost expect it to happen. This self-fulfilling prophecy is very common in people who have struggled with their weight or have gone on numerous diets and exercise programs in the past. What needs to be communicated is that old habits are hard to break and that behaviour modification will take some time. Health practitioners such as dietitians and psychologists can assist in this process.

Thirdly, it’s important to point out that even the smallest changes can make a big difference to your health. You don’t have to overhaul your lifestyle to lose weight. Setting realistic expectations is critical to reducing the intimidation that often comes with a weight loss plan. If you see improvements in fitness, sleep, mood, energy, diet then it is something to celebrate as it’s all part and parcel towards a better and healthier life.

How can you approach losing weight and healthy eating in a relaxed, sustainable and balanced way?

First and foremost, I think it’s important to take the approach that you are adopting and developing a new lifestyle, rather than looking at it at as something you have to do in order to be a certain weight or to be healthier. This lifestyle will include a change in attitude towards the way you consume food and participate in exercise so that you develop a more positive relationship with them both.

Setting specific, measurable realistic and achievable short-term, and long-term goals is a vital part in any sustainable weight loss program. These goals will differ between individuals and can be used as motivation and a reminder as to why you are starting a weight loss journey in the first place.

Everyone is different, but in most cases if you are too strict with yourself and you divert from your health plan then you are setting yourself up for failure. It’s important when you’re starting out to have a “everything in moderation approach”. This takes the fear out of “the need to achieve everything at once”. This approach allows for a more balanced, realistic and stress-free approach to a new weight loss program.

10 steps you can take to slowly move towards a healthy diet? 

  1. Gradually remove processed foods, refined carbohydrates and sugary foods from your diet – swap white breads, pastas and rice for wholemeal options.
  2. Eat whole fruit instead of drinking fruit juice.
  3. Eat at the table (and be present) rather than in front of the TV.
  4. Drink more water throughout the day and make it your preferred beverage.
  5. Make sure your main meals are mostly filled with vegetables (including mostly green leafy vegetables)
  6. Consume as many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as you can by choosing colourful fruit and veg (think: Eat a rainbow a day).
  7. Try to cook more meals at home and make more to have as leftovers rather than buying takeaway.
  8. Use healthy cooking methods e.g. steaming, poaching, grill, stir fry, roasting etc.
  9. Start eating meat or fish with plenty of vegetables for dinner.
  10. Swap butter or margarine with avocado.