Losing weight


Remember, losing weight is as much about what you eat as what you don’t eat – a healthy body needs a balanced diet. Avoid fad diets. Don’t skip meals. Set achievable aims, say, up to 1kg per week. And stick to them. Keeping healthy snacks (like fruit, yogurt and plain nuts) to hand will help you to stay on the straight and narrow. Or should that be the straight and skinny?


  • Body fat has important roles and dropping too low can have negative health effects. Remember that females require a higher fat percentage than men.
  • Losing weight too quickly is unhealthy and can result in a loss of muscle as well as fat, which is undesirable. Be patient and aim for an achievable 0.5-1 kg per week (Marianne’s later blog on how quickly we can lose weight can be added here as a link).
  • Beware of fad diets as these are generally extreme and difficult to stick to. Avoid skipping meals and follow a balanced diet to ensure nutrient needs are met.
  • Being organised and planning ahead are key. Bring healthy snacks to school, work or when travelling (e.g. fruit, yogurt, plain nuts) to avoid unhealthier impulse decisions when hungry.
  • Be aware that alcohol also provides calories (1g= 7 kcals). As examples, a pint of beer contains about 210 kcals; while a small glass of wine provides about 85 kcals.

Fat – do we need it?

Fat is essential for our health, with a number of important roles including brain function, cell structure and the absorption of certain vitamins. However, including the right type and amount of fat in the diet is important.

General ranges for percentage body fat

Source: American Council on Exercise

 Some tips:

  • As fats and oils are high in calories try to use these sparingly. When cooking with oil choose oils such as olive, sunflower or rapeseed.
  • Try steaming, baking, boiling or grilling as alternatives to frying.
  • Opt for lean meat, poultry and fish instead of processed meats such as ham, bacon and sausages.
  • Choose foods with healthy fats such as oily fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel), nuts, avocados. Limit foods that contain less healthy fats such as biscuits, cakes, chocolate, crisps and fried foods.

Fat Fact: While carbohydrates are used as the main energy source for high intensity exercise, during low intensity and prolonged exercise fat stores can play an important role in providing energy. With training the body’s ability to use fat as fuel improves. This can be beneficial as carbohydrate stores (glycogen) are in much shorter supply than fat stores – allowing us to spare glycogen and delay fatigue.