Weight loss diet plans
If the idea of losing weight and following a strict diet is overwhelming, you’re not alone. Dieting can be stressful and make you feel miserable about your body.
The best way to follow a weight loss diet is to make it enjoyable for yourself. That’s right, enjoyable! Following a diet doesn’t mean restricting yourself to the point that you hate eating. You can lose your motivation, which won’t help in the long term. The best weight loss diet is the sustainable one.
A healthy weight management plan starts with listening to your body. Making healthy choices will change your lifestyle, not just your meal plans.
In this guide, we’ll discuss:
- What is the best weight loss diet for me?
- How do I lose weight?
- What is the best diet to lose weight?
- Top tips for healthy weight loss
- What foods should I include in my weight loss diet plan?
- How to set my weight loss goals?
- How can LloydsPharmacy help me to lose weight?
What is the best weight loss diet for me?
The best weight loss diet for you helps you achieve your goals while still being enjoyable.
Whichever diet you pick, try to follow these basic guidelines:
- Exercise more, even taking the stairs instead of a lift can help
- Eat whole, unprocessed foods to get the most out of the nutrients
- Avoid refined carbs, which are carbohydrates that have been stripped of their nutrients
Healthy eating can seem overwhelming if you’re trying to do everything at once. To break it down, try to follow one or two tips for a couple of weeks, get used to the new routine and then gradually add more. You can check out our detailed healthy eating guide to find out more.
Your doctor or dietitian may talk to you about your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI is a measure of your weight relative to your height. You can work out your BMI using our BMI chart.
Remember that BMI does not consider your age, sex, lifestyle or other medical conditions. It also does not differentiate between fat and muscle.
If you’re unsure which diet is best for you, speak to a registered nutritionist or dietitian for more advice.
How do I lose weight?
Weight loss happens when you eat fewer calories in a day than you burn.
A calorie is a unit of energy, and you need this energy for your cells to work. When you don’t burn this energy through exercise, it gets stored in your body as fat. This means you’ll put on weight.
You need to eat a certain amount of daily calories to stay healthy. The NHS recommends that:
- Men should eat around 2,500kcal a day
- Women should eat around 2,000kcal a day
Try to avoid a weight loss diet that suggests you eat less than this recommended amount unless recommended by a dietitian or doctor.
You don’t need to calorie count to lose weight. For some, calorie counting can be pretty stressful. Knowing which foods are higher in calories is better, so you know not to overeat them.
Focus on the quality of your diet rather than only the quantity. Be mindful of your choices, such as not going for an extra packet of crisps. Include more quality foods in your meal plans for a nutritious and tasty meal.
Calories are not the only factor when it comes to weight loss. Certain health conditions can slow down your metabolism. This can cause you to gain weight and can happen with conditions like hypothyroidism.
Some prescription medications can also make you gain weight. Speak to your doctor if you feel that your medication may be affecting your weight.
Exercise is an integral part of losing weight. Even if you’ve got the perfect diet, you won’t lose much weight until you start to move your body more. But this doesn’t mean you need to be in the gym five days a week!
Try to find an activity that interests you, like going for a run or a long walk or taking a dance class. The goal is to get your heart pumping for at least 150 minutes a week (two and a half hours).
Vigorous exercise will burn calories that lead to weight loss. You can check out our exercise guide for more information.
Top tips for healthy weight loss
Listen to your body
Listening to your body is like learning a new language. Instead of reaching for a snack on autopilot, take a pause and think. Are you hungry right now? Eat something if you are. If you’re not hungry, try to avoid eating.
You might be thinking about why you’re snacking so much. Are you stressed? Try to combat the stress first before resorting to food.
It can even go deeper than this: what are you hungry for? Is it a complete meal with protein and carbs? Or is it a ‘sugar’ craving? Can you satisfy this sugar craving with a healthier option, like a bowl of fresh fruit?
Being mindful of your body’s signals is a great way to adapt a diet to work for you.
Stock up on whole foods
Whole foods are unprocessed foods that retain their nutrients. Flavourings, preservatives and extra sugar and sodium can add calories to your diet. You may not even be aware of these extra calories.
Eating processed, refined foods can also take away some nutrients you need from your diet. This includes fibre, vitamins and minerals.
You can incorporate whole foods into your diet by choosing whole grains instead of refined grains. Whole grains include brown rice, bulgur wheat and oatmeal. While white rice is a grain, some of the nutritious elements of the grain are removed during processing which turns the colour of the rice white. Brown rice retains the bran and germ parts of the grain, though it can make it slower to cook.
Try to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. There are many ways you can cook vegetables for a diverse, healthy and enjoyable meal. Try to make vegetables the focus of your main meal instead of meats and carbs. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat protein or carbs, but try not to make it the star of your plate.
Take it one meal at a time
Initially, preparing your meals can take time and energy, especially if you’re not used to doing it yourself. You don’t need to plan all your weekly meals in one go. Try to tackle one meal a day and be consistent for that one meal. This can be as simple as eating porridge with fruit for breakfast or including more veggies on your dinner plate.
Once you build up consistency with one meal, you can expand this to the rest of your diet. This makes a more sustainable and enjoyable way to introduce healthy dieting to your lifestyle.
Successful weight loss involves healthy weight management. Healthy weight management has more factors than just your diet, including:
What foods should I include in my weight loss diet plan?
Breakfast isn’t the first thing on everyone’s mind, especially if you’re rushing to get to work! Skipping this important meal can impact the rest of your day. Try to fit a healthy breakfast into your schedule.
Here are some healthy breakfast meal plans:
- Porridge with fruit (don’t add extra sugar!)
- Scrambled eggs with avocado and toast
- Poached eggs with mushroom hash browns
- A herb-filled omelette
Eggs contain many nutrients, like vitamin D, protein and fat. They help you feel satisfied and full, so you won’t have those hunger cravings throughout the morning. This makes eggs ideal as a breakfast ingredient.
Healthy lunch ideas are endless. If you find planning a week’s worth of lunches overwhelming, try some of these simple ideas:
- Salmon salad with quinoa
- Lentil and butternut squash soup with buttered toast
- Avocado and chicken wraps
- Baked potato with cheesy tuna and sweetcorn, with a side salad
Make it your own by adding a bit of what you enjoy but remember to use whole ingredients. Specific diets will encourage you to add more vegetables, seafood and less red meat to your diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.
Not many of us want to cook up a big meal when we return from work. With meal prep, you can make a batch of meals in one go and freeze the extra portions, so you’ll always have a nutritious meal ready when you need one.
Some healthy dinner ideas for weight loss include:
- Roasted summer vegetables with chickpea salad
- Chicken and veg pasta bake
- Seafood spaghetti
- Roasted cauliflower with quinoa
You can always add your choice of lean meat, such as chicken or fish, to any meal. If you don’t eat meat, there are plenty of vegetables that contain enough protein for your daily amount.
Dinner doesn’t need to be boring or a chore. You can make simple and fun meals by including plenty of seasoning and fresh ingredients.
Everyone loves a good snack! Many snacks nowadays are full of added salt, sugar and preservatives. Too much snacking can lead to weight gain and other health problems if you're not careful. These include high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.
Having a healthy snack means you can still beat that snacky craving. Some healthy snack ideas include:
- Sliced carrots and cucumbers with hummus
- Mixed nuts
- A bowl of fresh fruit
- Crackers and cheese
- Olives and feta cheese
- Roasted chickpeas
You don’t need to give up tea or coffee to lose weight, but consider reducing how much sugar you have in your hot drinks.
How to set my weight loss goals?
An effective way to set weight loss goals is by setting SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. It’s a method of planning and achieving your goals.
The SMART method can be used in any area of your life, from personal development to your career.
When it comes to weight loss, aim to create goals that you can achieve, not what someone else thinks you should. It doesn’t matter if the goal doesn’t look like an ‘impressive’ one. Building up your goals over time as you achieve them is a much more sustainable way of losing weight.Here’s an example:
By following the SMART method, you can create focused, realistic and achievable goals. Achieving even one of your goals, no matter how small, can boost your confidence in your weight loss journey.
Starting your weight loss journey
A successful weight loss journey starts with you. Take some time to think about what weight loss means to you and what goals you’d like to achieve. Get used to listening to your body’s signals and cues. This way, you can become in sync with what is truly healthy for your body.
You may consider weight loss medication if you struggle to lose weight independently. Medication should not be a substitute for eating healthily and getting regular exercise.