Diet and exercise both play an important role in any weight loss journey. As part of the Rosemary weight loss program, we’ll help you develop better eating habits and improve your relationship with food rather than placing you on a strict diet. What you’re eating is a big piece of the puzzle, but there are a few habits you can pick up to help you reach your goals.
While the Rosemary Weight Loss Program suggests prioritising whole foods like vegetables, fruits and lean proteins that may not necessarily come with nutrition labels, a large portion of your groceries and pantry staples will. It’s always best to choose items that are minimally processed, that is, they contain as few ingredients as possible, with minimal additives and preservatives. One good habit is to always check the nutrition labels to see what you’re eating.
Nutrition labels will always have a serving size and tell you how many servings come in the package. From there, you’ll see the calorie and nutritional values for an individual serving. You might use a food scale or measuring cup to figure out how much a serving is - this will help you determine what a serve of that particular food is and provide some understanding of what you’re putting into your body.
When comparing similar products, choose the one with the fewest ingredients. A good rule of thumb is to aim for products with 5 or fewer ingredients, as this indicates they are minimally processed.
The above nutrition label is for a packet of almonds. There are two columns.
Column A shows the nutritional information for one for their suggested serving size of 30 grams and Column B shows the nutritional information for 100 grams of almonds.
Both columns show the energy in kilojoules and calories as well as the protein, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, carbohydrate, sugar, dietary fibre, sodium and vitamin E quantity.
The energy is the total amount of kilojoules or calories that are released when food is used by the body. Protein, fat, carbohydrate, dietary fibre and alcohol all provide energy (i.e kilojoules). Some Australian nutrition labels will list kilojoules as energy rather than calories. To convert kilojoules to calories, multiply by 0.24.
Studies have shown that higher protein intake helps with feelings of satiety and, in turn, can help with weight loss.
This is the total of the saturated fats, trans fat, polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats in the food. The amount of saturated fat in the food must also be listed separately.
Carbohydrates listed in the nutrition information panel include starches and sugars. Sugars are a type of carbohydrate and are part of the carbohydrates as well as being listed separately. The amount of sugars includes naturally occurring sugars, such as those found in fruit, and added sugar such as honey or maple syrup.
Fibre helps you feel full, leading you to consume less and lose weight.
Sodium, or salt, affects health with high levels linked with high blood pressure and stroke, which is why it is included in the nutrition information panel.
Depending on the food you’re eating, you may see a variety of vitamins and minerals listed on the nutrition label. You’ll see the percentage of the recommended daily intake you should have each day for your health. In this case, Vitamin E is listed as a nutrient.
Have you ever been to the cinema and accidentally eaten the whole tub of popcorn before the movie started? That’s one example of mindless eating. Paying attention to what you’re eating and how much you’re eating is a great way to build a healthy relationship with food and create structure for yourself during your weight loss journey.
We often unconsciously overeat when we’re eating too quickly, multitasking or snacking outside of regular meals. Your body may already be full and satiated before your brain recognises it, which is why it’s important to practice mindful eating and slow things down.
Now that you’ve started to take notice of nutrition labels and serving sizes, it’s time to become a portion master. At the beginning, we recommend using measuring cups or food scales to measure out individual servings of foods you eat often so you can get a feel for what a portion should look like.
At Rosemary, we don’t want you to feel hungry or feel like you’re on a strict diet. However, we do want to help you build a healthy relationship with food and understanding what it feels like to be satiated and satisfied after a meal.
Start by eating three healthy main meals per day. If there is more than 4 hours between meals, or you are doing more than 2 hours of exercise in a day, you may find you get hungry in between your main meals. If so, include a healthy snack to tide you over until your next meal time.
One study found that eating a high-protein breakfast between 6am and 9:45am helps reduce the risk of body fat gain and makes you feel less hungry throughout the day, compared to those who skipped breakfast.
Try to eat lunch before 3pm - one study found that people lost about 25% less weight if they ate the bulk of their calories after 3pm
One study found that consuming more calories at breakfast and fewer calories at dinner helps overweight and obese women with greater weight loss. It’s also been shown in other studies that restricting nighttime eating and snacking after 7pm results in eating 244 fewer calories per day.
A healthy snack is a great option if there is more than 4 hours between meals or you are doing more than 2 hours of exercise. Or, if you find you are truly hungry between meals then enjoy a high-protein snack to tide you over until the next meal.
Sometimes people can snack from habit, rather than hunger. So do check your hunger levels and see if your are experiencing hunger, or if the desire for a snack is due to something else, like boredom, or wanting to take a break from work
Get those steps in! Going for walks after meals has been shown to help promote weight loss. Walk at a brisk speed for 30 minutes after your meal where possible. Staying active throughout the day is a great way to help kickstart your metabolism.
Reading and understanding nutrition labels, practicing mindful eating, taking control of your portions, creating a schedule for your meals and walking after meals are just a few ways to start developing good habits and building a healthy relationship with food.
The doctors at Rosemary Health have significant experience helping people to lose weight and keep it off. They are committed to supporting you throughout your weight loss journey – from the moment you first consider losing weight through to helping you maintain a healthy weight in the long term.