Finding it a struggle to lose weight? Understand how you can manage and lose weight the healthy way through a balanced diet and exercise regime.
How to lose weight healthily?
Trying to manage and lose weight can be difficult and confusing at first, but once you get started on a proper exercise and diet program, you will see a big improvement in your health and weight. It is important to set realistic goals. Aim for a weight loss of not more than 0.5 to 1kg per week or 10% of your body weight over 6 months.
Here are some great starter tips and advice that will help you get on the right track to your ideal weight and fitness.
Make sure you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week for optimum weight loss.
It is recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week to see an overall improvement on health. Each session of aerobic activity should last at least 10 minutes.
What are Moderate-Intensity Activities?
With moderate-intensity activities:
- Your heart rate to increases.
- You break a sweat.
- You can talk, but not sing during the activity.<
Examples of moderate-intensity activities:
- Brisk walking (at a walking pace of 1km in 10-15 minutes)
- Leisurely bike riding on level ground, or with a few hills
- Table Tennis
Besides aerobic activity, one should also engage in muscle-strengthening activities (also known as resistance exercises or strength training) that work all major muscle groups (e.g. arms, shoulders, chest, back, hips, legs, abdominals) on 2 or more days a week.
Muscle-strengthening activities make the muscles stronger by overloading the muscles – this is highly recommended for weight control. Engaging in regular muscle-strengthening activities will also increase muscle mass, which helps burn calories.
- You should do 8 to 10 different exercises.
- Adults should aim to do 8 to 12 repetitions for each set of exercise.
- Give yourself a rest period of at least 2 days between each session.
- Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include:
- Free weights
- Weight-lifting machines
- Resistance bands
- Body Weight exercises, e.g., push-ups, sit-ups, squats
Having difficulty starting an exercise programme? Here are some ways of overcoming the barriers you may have.
|Suggestions for Overcoming Physical Activity Barriers|
|Lack of time||
|Lack of motivation||
|Lack of resources||
Busting Exercise Myths
Don’t let the myths about exercise keep you from reaching your target weight and goal. The sooner you learn the real facts, the closer you’ll be to achieving your ideal weight.
Myth 1: Women who engage in muscle-strengthening exercises will get big muscles.
Fact: Women do not have the level of hormones which are necessary to create big muscles. Women should do strength training to improve strength, bone health, and tone up.
Myth 2: In order to get into shape or lose weight, I have to run or do other vigorous exercises.
Fact: Any form of aerobic exercise can help you gain the benefits of exercise. Brisk walking or moderate intensity aerobics are great ways to burn calories.
- More vigorous exercise will burn more calories in a shorter time, but with moderate physical activities, you can go a bit longer to get the same calorie burn.
- The goal is to burn 2000 Kcal per week when trying to lose weight, no matter what the intensity level is. Focus on activities you like and you’ll be more likely to stick to it in the long run.
Myth 3: You need special clothes / attire in order to exercise effectively.
Fact: No special clothing is needed. Safe and effective exercise can be performed wearing comfortable sports shoes and loose-fitting everyday clothes.
Myth 4: Daily lifestyle physical activities such as taking the stairs, standing more than sitting, and leisurely walking makes no difference in my weight loss.
Fact: Everything counts when it comes to weight loss. While daily lifestyle activities may not improve aerobic fitness, it still burns more calories than sitting in front of your TV or computer.
- Along with your regular exercise programme for weight loss, daily lifestyle activities can help you enhance weight loss.
Myth 5: I can also lose weight by using vibrating machines.
Fact: To lose weight, one must do 150-300 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. Spot reduction exercises such as vibrating machines or ab machines do not result in weight loss.
Myth 6: After I lose weight and I am happy with my weight loss, I can cut back on the amount of physical activity I do.
Fact: This is a common mistake made by those who lose weight, and then regain it.
- To maintain weight loss, you should continue to exercise 150-300 minutes per week, based on moderate-intensity aerobic activity.
- It’s important to remember that you are making a lifestyle change, and not just a one-off attempt to lose weight.
How to manage your weight with a healthy diet
The key to managing your weight successfully is in ensuring that the calories that you consume do not exceed the calories that you use.
Go for lower calorie options
Take in fewer calories by controlling the type and amount of food and drinks you have.
You can go for：
- Soupy options and lower-calorie meals offered by participating food courts and restaurants.
- Smaller portions which mean fewer calories.
- Healthier choice drinks – or even plain water.
Switch to whole grains
Be it bread, rice or noodles, natural is always best! The less processed your options, the more whole grain it contains – it also satisfies your appetite faster and for longer.
When prepared well (i.e. with less fat and sugar), whole grains, fruit and vegetables are relatively low in calories. They are also a rich source of antioxidants so you get more goodness in these foods for every mouthful of calories you consume.
Don’t fret about limiting your whole grains to just bread and rice. Singaporeans can enjoy a wider variety of wholegrain products such as wholegrain enriched noodles, kway teow, mun tou and biscuits.
Myths about food
Myth 1: Certain foods, like grapefruit, celery, or cabbage soup, can burn fat and make you lose weight.
Fact: No foods can burn fat. However, fruit and vegetables are naturally low in calories and high in fibre. Incorporating more fruit and vegetables into your diet if you’re trying to lose weight is a good strategy as they make you feel full on fewer calories.
Myth 2: I shouldn’t snack between meals when trying to lose weight.
Fact: You can snack and still lose weight, as long as the total amount of calories you consume is less than the calories you use. If you choose to snack between meals, eat smaller main meals and choose healthier snack options (e.g. fresh fruits, low fat yoghurt) to keep your total calorie intake within your allowance.
Myth 3: Skipping meals or taking meal replacements can help to lose weight.
Fact: Our body, especially the brain, requires a regular supply of glucose from food to function optimally. Stick to a regular eating schedule as missing meals may lead to impulsive snacking and overeating and may lower the rate at which the body burns energy. In the long run, such dietary habits may also lead to nutrient deficiencies.
Myth 4: “Going vegetarian” means you are sure to lose weight and be healthier.
Fact: Vegetarians, like non-vegetarians, can still make food choices that contribute to weight gain such as eating large amounts of high-fat foods (e.g. deep-fried items) or foods with high sugar content (e.g. soft drinks). Vegetarian diets should be carefully planned to make sure they are balanced. Nutrients that non-vegetarians normally get from animal products, but that may be lacking in a vegetarian eating plan include iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and zinc.
Myth 5: Cut out desserts
Fact: You don’t need to cut out all sweet foods to lose weight. People who deprive themselves may end up eating more. You can treat yourself occasionally but don’t over indulge – just have a small portion of dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Myth 6: Never eat at night
Fact: It doesn’t matter what time you eat; what’s important is how many calories you consume. If your total calorie intake is less than the calories you use, you’ll be sure to lose weight.
Myth 7: Meal replacements can be used for weight loss
Fact: Meal replacements can be used for weight loss but only under medical supervision as there are various factors a doctor or a dietician will consider when prescribing meal replacements. They are usually prescribed for short periods as meal replacements are not long-term solutions for weight management. They also lack the full complement of beneficial phytochemicals to keep your body healthy.