Healthy eating isn't about starving yourself, yo-yo dieting or cutting out certain food groups. It's about understanding how food works, eating a healthy balanced diet and making long-lasting changes to your activity levels. It's really a simple equation, if you eat more calories than you burn off through your daily energy requirements they can end up being stored as body fat.
Q: Eating spicy food can boost your metabolism and help you lose weight. True or False?
False. Spicy food makes no significant difference to your metabolism.
Wrong! The correct answer is False. Spicy food makes no significant difference to your metabolism.
Achieving your weight loss goals with the alli plan isn't complicated, it just takes practice to get into the new habits. Like most things, once you're used to them, healthy eating and maintaining a higher activity level will simply become part of your daily routine.
Reduce your fat intake
Fat is the most calorie dense food available. One gram of fat has more than double the calories of the same amount of protein or carbohydrate. So eating less fat is a sensible way of cutting calories and making a positive difference to your weight.
A balanced diet includes carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Examples of proteins
Meat, fish, pulses (like chick peas or beans), cheese and eggs. Some of these are higher in fat than others. Lean, skinless meat or fish is a good option. Be aware that cheese is a fatty source of protein and more likely to produce diet-related treatment effects than skinless chicken or turkey.
Examples of carbohydrates
Pasta, bread, rice and potatoes. On their own they are relatively low in fat, it's what you put with them that you have to watch. Choose tomato based sauces or salsas, not the creamy, dairy variety.
Know your portion sizes
Knowing your portion sizes is another important part of losing weight. It's best not to guess the amounts – it could be the difference between a happy moment on your bathroom scales or a disappointing one. That's why we recommend that you have a set of measuring spoons and weighing scales for the kitchen. Electronic scales that can weigh from 5g up are a good option.
The following table is a guide to some of the calories and fat in smaller measures and typical measures of certain foods.
|Food||Measure||Weight g||Fat g||Cal|
|Cooking oils including olive oil||One 5ml measuring spoon||3||3||27|
|Cooking oils including olive oil||One 15ml measuring spoon||11||11||99|
|Butter||Medium spread on 1 slice of bread||10||8.2||74|
|Butter||Thinly spread on 1 slice of bread||7||5.8||52|
|Reduced fat spread (59% fat)||Medium spread on 1 slice of bread||10||5.9||54|
|Reduced fat spread (59% fat)||Thinly spread on 1 slice of bread||7||4.4||40|
|Very low fat spread (20-25% fat)||Medium spread on 1 slice of bread||10||2.0||18|
|Very low fat spread (20-25% fat)||Thinly spread on 1 slice bread||7||1.4||13|
|Almonds||6 whole almonds||13||7.3||80|
|Pinenuts||One 5ml measuring spoon||5||3.4||34|
|Cream (18-20%fat)||One 15ml measuring spoon||15||2.9||29|
|Cream (50%fat)||One 15ml measuring spoon||30||16||149|
|Crème fraiche||One 15ml measuring spoon||15||6||57|
|Crème fraiche, reduced fat||One 15ml measuring spoon||15||2.3||14|
Plan your meals in advance
If you've started planning your meals that's great news – carry on. If not, it's a good time to start.
There's no need to make separate meals for you and your family – reduced calorie, lower fat meals can be tasty so tasty that everyone can enjoy them. The only difference is that those people who are not trying to lose weight or not taking alli can eat bigger portions if they need to.
Eat regular meals and snacks
Eating with alli isn't about starving yourself and going for hours a day without food. You should be eating regularly – three good meals that are reduced calorie and lower-fat, plus 1 snack that are all within your calorie and fat targets.
Take your time
The longer you chew your food, the more you'll notice the different flavours, because it has more time to stimulate a larger number of your taste buds. Eating more slowly can also give your stomach the time it needs to let your brain know that it's full – about 15 minutes. A well-chewed meal helps you to avoid indigestion too.
Try not to shop when you're hungry. You might be tempted by fatty convenience foods and start snacking on your way home.
If you don't already make shopping lists, now's a good time to start: it can help you save time and money in the supermarket; and of course reduce the chances of you picking the wrong foods.
Take control of what goes in your shopping trolley - if it doesn't go in the trolley, it doesn't go in your cupboards or fridge.
Eat a varied diet
The alli programme encourages you to eat foods from all the main food groups. The food plate model shown below shows the proportions of the different food groups you need to eat in order to achieve a balanced diet. Each group plays a role in the diet by providing nutrients and energy.
Milk & Dairy foods
Keep up your calcium
Milk, yoghurt and cheeses or fortified soya alternatives are essential for the calcium they supply. Eat reduced fat versions of dairy products, such as semi-skimmed milk, reduced fat yoghurts and cheeses. Use reduced fat rather than fat free products for important calcium and vitamin A.
Protein rich foods
Pack in less protein
Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, pulses and vegetarian sources of protein should be eaten in small portions. Use lean cuts of meat, removing visible fat. Remove skin from poultry. Beans, lentils and peas are high in fibre. Adding them to meat dishes helps reduce the fat content as less meat is needed. It's recommended that you eat fish twice a week, with one of these being oily fish as this is one of the few sources of dietary vitamin D, and beneficial omega 3 fats.
Fatty & Sugary foods & drinks
Temptation will show on the scales
Foods which are high in fats and sugars should only be eaten in tiny quantities as eating them too often or in large quantities can lead to weight gain and increase your chances of experiencing diet-related treatment effects.Try to avoid: cakes, pastries, desserts, fried foods, chocolates, biscuits, ice creams, mayonnaise, butter, oils, crisps, creamy sauces, salad dressings and some drinks.Fats from oils and oily fish are healthier than those from dairy foods and meats.Some highly processed foods such as biscuits and cakes may also contain fats that are not good for health.
Breads, potatoes, breakfast cereals and other grains
Breads, potatoes, breakfast cereals and other grains should be the most important source of calories in your diet. Have at least one portion of these types of foods every meal. Wholegrain versions provide additional fibre to help fill you up. Some starchy foods have a low glycaemic index which helps regulate your blood sugar and keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Fruit & Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are a really important part of any balanced diet. Aim for a minimum of 5 portions per day. Fruit and vegetables contain fibre and a wide range of different vitamins and minerals.