Lose Weight, Feel Great

Maintaining a healthy weight reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers—lose weight with Dear Doctor.

Your weight can have a significant effect on your overall health and on your self-esteem. Obesity has been linked to several serious health conditions including heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, gout, diabetes, cancer, gallbladder disease and asthma.

If you are wondering whether your current weight is healthy, calculating your body mass index (BMI) is a good starting point. BMI metrics seek to gauge your body fat content using your weight and height. For a more accurate reading, measure your waist circumference so that your body shape is taken into account. Visit the NHS website to use their online BMI healthy weight calculator.

A lifestyle change

For sustainable weight loss, national guidelines recommend that a reduction in calorie intake of roughly 600 per day is needed. This has the potential to trigger a weekly loss of about 0.5 kilograms (one pound). Victoria Taylor, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation believes that ‘the most effective weight loss approaches combine changes to diet with increased physical activity and also address some of your behaviours around food..

Nowadays, there are various popular diets that involve removing or severely limiting specific foods. While these can be effective in the short-term, they can leave the body lacking crucial nutrients—making them unsustainable. Extreme versions of restrictive diets can even lead to lack of energy, fatigue, irritability and dizziness. Instead of choosing a fad diet, make safe and realistic lifestyle changes.

‘While any weight loss will require a change to eating habits, it shouldn’t mean missing out on nutrients or cutting out whole food groups. Aim for regular meals and a balanced diet but also take care with your portion sizes,’ Taylor concludes.

Follow Dear Doctor’s easy steps to losing weight and keeping it off.

Meal plan

Planning a week’s worth of meals in advance is both economical and conducive for weight loss. Carefully strategise your daily intake of calories so that you won’t stray or indulge in something naughty.

Portion control

Many individuals consume a healthy diet overall but struggle with overeating. Measure your portions according to weight and calories. Some people find it useful to eat from a small plate to ensure portions are controlled.

Read food labels

There’s a plethora of salt, fat, sugar and E-numbers lurking on the supermarket shelves. Consuming excessive amounts of any of these categories will hinder your progress. When shopping, check the label to ensure that the products you buy fit into your new healthy lifestyle.

High-fibre foods

High fibre foods are notorious for making you feel fuller for longer—perfect for those wanting to lose weight. Fibre is derived from plants and can be found in fruits, vegetables, oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta, beans, peas and pulses.


A common tendency for individuals trying to slim down is confusing being thirsty with being hungry. Most health associations recommend drinking two litres of water a day in order to keep hydrated and alert.

Eat the rainbow

Nature has an astonishing way of highlighting the nutritional properties of plants: colours tend to signify these properties. By eating an array of colourful fruits and vegetables you can provide your body with all the nutrients it needs.

Don’t skip

Eating regular meals at the same time each day can help dieters avoid unnecessary snacking. Skipping meals will only hinder your good work and prompt the body to store fat when you consume your next meal.

Reduce the booze

Over time, excessive drinking can contribute to weight gain. Alcohol contains a lot more calories than you may think; reducing your intake will, therefore, do wonders for your waistline.

Get physical

It is the combination of a healthy diet and regular, exertive exercise that make for an effective weight loss plan. Choose a pastime that suits your schedule and stick to it. Try to mix up aerobic and anaerobic activities for a well-rounded fitness plan

Healthy food swaps

Swap turkey sandwich (220 calories) for an open turkey sandwich (110 calories)

Swap mayonnaise (2tbsp = 188 calories) for yoghurt (2tbsp = 59 calories)

Swap cheddar (28 grams = 114 calories) for feta (28 grams = 75 calories)

Swap scrambled eggs (2 = 182 calories) for poached eggs (2 = 144 calories)

Swap whole milk (250 millilitres = 155 calories) for semi-skimmed milk (250 millilitres = 83 calories)

Swap white rice (100 grams =130 calories) for cauliflower rice (100 grams = 34 calories)

Swap Coca-Cola (330 millilitres = 139 calories) for Diet Coke (330 millilitres = 1 calorie)

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