In order to lose weight you need to create a calorie deficit by ensuring the calories consumed is less than the calories used up. It is believed an average male needs 2,000 – 2,200 calories a day, and an average woman needs 1,800 – 2,000 calories a day in order to maintain weight. Therefore, if an average man eats more than 2,000 – 2,200 calories he will put on weight and if he eats less than 2,000 – 2,200 calories he will lose weight. Similarly, if an average woman eats more than 1,800 – 2,000 calories she will put on weight and if she eats less than 1,800 -2,000 calories she will lose weight.

This is fine in theory but what is an “average” man or woman? Each and every person is different and all of us have the optimum amount of calories required to maintain weight and this optimum can vary greatly. As such the average calories required need to be treated with a bit of caution.

Before you embark on any weight loss program it is advisable to go and have a discussion with your local doctor. Many people will dismiss this and simply start a diet on their own however there are many benefits in seeing the doctor in the first instance. By taking a series of measurements and carrying out a series of simple tests your local doctor will be able to accurately determine how many calories you need to maintain your current weight. From this you will be able to accurately determine how many calories you need to consume to lose weight.

Your doctor will also advise you what the ideal weight someone of your build, height and physical make up should be, which will help you to set your weight loss goals. Many people think they should lose more than they actually need to, and whilst it is often easy to lose the weight in the first instance it is a real challenge keeping at a weight lower than the ideal weight.

Your doctor will also be able to help you devise a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet that will ensure you reach your goals in a safe and controlled manner. Fast weight loss is not the best solution as it is very difficult to keep the weight off, and more often than not people losing weight this way will become disheartened and put the weight back on, plus some more. Your doctor will help you lose weight gradually over time and you will find this is more sustainable and manageable in the future.

Many people do not know how to diet and lose weight properly. These people will often cut out a specific food group in order to lose the weight. For example, some people consider carbohydrates to be “bad” and will cut these out to lose weight. An example of a non-existent carbohydrate diet is the Atkins Diet.  Other people consider fats to be “bad” and will cut these out to lose the weight. Cutting out a specific food group will help you lose weight, however it is not healthy. Losing weight by cutting out a specific food group is often unsustainable and the weight will go back on when you start eating the food group that was cut to lose the weight in the first instance.

In order to lose weight and keep it off you need to continue to eat a balanced diet. This means you need to eat all food groups including fats, carbohydrates, protein and all the other vitamins and minerals the human body needs. The key is to eat in moderation and reduce portion sizes to achieve the calorie deficit to lose weight. Moderating portion sizes is not easy and it is something that many people struggle with when dieting.

It is important that portion sizes fill you up but are not large enough to create a calorie surplus. The body actually needs less food than many people think so you need to train your eyes and mind to deal with smaller portion sizes. Many people argue reduced portion sizes don’t fill them up, and this will be the case if you don’t actually chew the food. Many people eat so fast their mouth doesn’t even know it has had some food put in it. The secret is to slow down. And chew every single mouthful. Food is there to be enjoyed so take your time, and enjoy the flavours, textures and smells. Slowing down the eating process will help you feel full on less food.

Many people mistake dehydration for hunger, therefore another way of making your body feel full before you have eaten too much is to have a sip of water between every single mouthful. After each mouthful put your knife and fork down, chew, swallow and take a sip of water. Then, repeat the process.

So, when losing weight;

i) You need to ensure you are creating a calorie deficit. See the doctor to identify the amount of calories you need and reduce it accordingly.

ii) Ensure you eat a balanced diet containing all food groups. Never cut out a food group.

iii) Control the quantity you eat by reducing your portion sizes

iv) Eat slowly and chew every mouthful to trick your body in to thinking it is full, even on less food.

v) Take a sip of water between each mouthful of food.