Finding it a struggle to lose weight? Understand how you can manage your weight and lose it the healthy way, by learning more about a balanced diet and getting useful exercise tips to help you get started on a fitness regime.
Trying to manage and lose your weight can be difficult and confusing at first, but once you learn how to get started on a proper exercise and diet program, you will be able to see a big improvement in your health and weight.
Set realistic goals. Aim for weight loss of not more than 0.5 to 1kg per week or 10% over 6 months.
Here are some great starter tips and advice that will help you get on the right track to your ideal weight and fitness.
1) You need to get at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week for optimum weight loss. It is recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week to see an overall improvement on health. Each session of aerobic activity should last at least 10 minutes.
Moderate-intensity activities are those that cause:
- Your heart rate to increase.
- You to break a sweat.
- You to be able to talk, but not sing during the activity.
Examples of moderate-intensity activities:
- Brisk walking (walking pace of 1km in 10-15 minutes)
- Leisurely bike riding on level ground, or with a few hills
- Table Tennis
2) Besides aerobic activity, one should also engage in muscle-strengthening activities (also known as resistance exercises or strength training) that work all major muscle groups (e.g. arms, shoulders, chest, back, hips, legs, abdominals) on 2 or more days a week.
Highly recommended for weight control, muscle-strengthening activities make the muscles stronger by overloading the muscles. Engaging in regular muscle-strengthening activities will increase muscle mass, which helps burn calories.
- You should do 8 to 10 different exercises.
- Adults should aim to do 8 to 12 repetitions for each set of exercise.
- Give yourself a rest period of at least 2 days between each session.
Examples of muscle-strengthening activities:
- Free weights
- Weight lifting machines
- Resistance bands
- Body Weight exercises, e.g., push-ups, sit-ups, squats.
3) Having difficulty starting an exercise program? We’ll provide you solutions to some of the most common barriers you may have.
|Suggestions for Overcoming Physical Activity Barriers|
|Lack of time|| |
|Lack of motivation|| |
|Lack of resources|| |
|Weather conditions|| |
|Family obligations|| |
Busting Exercise Myths
Don’t let exercise myths keep you from reaching your target weight and goal. The sooner you learn the real facts, the closer you’ll be to achieving your ideal weight.
Myth 1: Women who engage in muscle-strengthening exercises will get big muscles.
Fact: Women do not have the level of hormones, which are necessary to create big muscles. Women should do strength training to improve strength, bone health, and tone up.
Fact: Any form of aerobic exercise can help a person get the benefits of exercise. Brisk walking or moderate intensity aerobics are great ways to burn calories.
- More vigorous exercise will burn more calories in a shorter amount of time, but with moderate physical activities, you can go a bit longer to get the same calorie burn.
- The goal is to burn 2000 Kcal per week when trying to lose weight, no matter what the intensity level is. Focus on activities you like and you’ll be more likely to stick to it in the long run.
Myth 3: You need special clothes / attire in order to exercise effectively.
Fact: No special clothing is needed. Safe and effective exercise can be performed wearing comfortable sports shoes and loose-fitting everyday clothes.
Fact: Everything counts when it comes to weight loss. While daily lifestyle activities may not improve aerobic fitness, it still burns more calories than sitting in front of your TV or computer.
- Along with your regular exercise program for weight loss, daily lifestyle activities can help you enhance your weight loss.
Myth 5: I can also lose weight by using vibrating machines.
Fact: To lose weight, one must do 150-300 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. Spot reduction exercises such as vibrating machines or ab machines, do not cause weight loss.
Myth 6: After I lose weight and I am happy with my weight loss, I can cut back on the amount of physical activity I do.
Fact: This is a common mistake made by those who lose weight, and then regain the weight.
- To maintain weight loss, individuals should continue to aim to exercise 200-300 minutes per week, of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.
- It’s important to remember that you are making a lifestyle change, and not just a one-off attempt to lose weight.
How to manage your weight with a healthy diet
The key to managing your weight successfully is by ensuring that the calories that you consume, does not exceed the calories that you use.
Take in fewer calories by controlling the type and amount of food and drinks you have.
You can go for:
- Soupy options and lower-calorie meals offered by participating food courts and restaurants.
- Smaller portions which means fewer calories.
- Healthier choice drinks or switch to plain water.
Be it bread, rice or noodles, natural is best! The less processed your options, the more whole-grains it contains – it also helps you get full fast and for a longer period of time.
When prepared well (i.e. with less fat and sugar), whole-grains, fruits and vegetables are relatively lower in calories. They are also a rich source of antioxidants so you get more goodness in these foods for every mouthful of calories you consume.
Don’t fret about limiting your whole-grains to just bread and rice. Singaporeans can enjoy a wider variety of whole-grain products such as whole-grain enriched noodles, kway teow, mun tou and biscuits.
Consume more HCS products as these are generally lower in fat and sugar and are lower in calories too.
Myth 1: Certain foods, like grapefruit, celery, or cabbage soup, can burn fat and make you lose weight.
Fact: No foods can burn fat. However, fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories and high in fibre. Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet if you’re trying to lose weight is a good strategy as they make you feel full on fewer calories.
Myth 2: I shouldn’t snack between meals when trying to lose weight.
Fact: You can snack and still lose weight, as long as the total amount of calories you consume is less than the calories you use. If you choose to snack between meals, eat smaller main meals and choose healthier snack options (e.g. fresh fruits, low fat yoghurt) to keep your total calorie intake within your allowance.
Myth 3: Skipping meals or taking meal replacements can help to lose weight.
Fact: Our body, especially the brain, requires a regular supply of glucose from food to function optimally. Stick to a regular eating schedule as missing meals may lead to impulsive snacking and overeating and may lower the rate at which the body burns energy. In the long run, such dietary habits may also lead to nutrient deficiencies. (Source: HPB Online).
Fact: Vegetarians, like non-vegetarians, can still make food choices that contribute to weight gain such as eating large amounts of high-fat foods (e.g. deep-fried items) or foods with high sugar content (e.g. soft drinks). Vegetarian diets should be carefully planned to make sure they are balanced. Nutrients that non-vegetarians normally get from animal products but may be lacking in a vegetarian eating plan include iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and zinc.
Myth 5: Cut out desserts
Fact: You don’t need to cut out all sweet foods to lose weight. People who deprive themselves may end up eating more. You can treat yourself occasionally but don’t overindulge – just have a small portion of dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Myth 6: Never eat at night
Fact: It doesn’t matter what time you eat; what’s important is how many calories you consume. If your total calorie intake is less than the calories you use, weight loss will happen.
Myth 7: Meal replacements can be used for weight loss
Fact: Meal replacements can be used for weight loss but only under medical supervision as there are various factors a doctor or a dietician will consider when prescribing meal replacements. They are usually prescribed for a short period as meal replacements are not a long term solution for weight management. They also lack the full complement of beneficial phytochemicals to keep our body healthy.