The lazy person’s guide to weight loss

If you find yourself wondering, ‘Why can’t I lose weight?’ You might be pushing too hard. A simpler, more realistic approach could make all the difference.

The idea of losing weight can seem daunting, and the reality is that it’s not an easy journey. However, it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as what you might think. People often fall into the trap of going to extremes – think: crash diets or skipping meals – which is unsustainable in the long run, says accredited practising dietitian Jaime Rose Chambers. The good news is you can lose weight without dieting – small tweaks to your lifestyle can be enough to shift kilos, allowing you to feel good about the journey.

“It’s a very common response when someone wants to lose weight to feel as though they have to turn their whole world upside down to get any kind of success,” she says. “This is usually not the case at all – most people already have many positive health habits but perhaps a few bad ones have crept in that are holding them back. By making a few minor changes, working on one or two at a time until they’re well-established, new healthy habits is often all it takes to lose weight.”

Remember, although many people tend to focus on losing weight fast, if you lose weight more slowly you’ll be better able to maintain that loss over time. A healthy goal is to lose 0.5 to 1kg a week – which is doable with a few easy shifts.  

Healthy eating – the realistic way

Here are some simple tweaks to get you started on a weight loss journey:

  • Prepare and cook dinner at home more often than you get takeaway. “This can be effective because you’re more likely to eat fewer calories - you can control what you put in the meal and your portion size,” Chambers says.
  • Start walking to work if you can rather than driving or taking the bus. Or, try getting off public transport a few stops early. “Limited time is a common reason for not exercising so including it as your form of transport can make it easier to slot in,” she says. You only have to do 30 minutes of exercise a day, most days of the week, to hit healthy targets – and you can break this up into three blocks of 10 minutes across the day if that’s what you can manage.
  • Clean out your environment. “People who are successful at weight management don’t necessarily have better motivation or determination, they are usually good at controlling their environment so they can make better choices,” Chambers shares. “Make sure your work colleagues keep the chocolate bowl in another room, don’t go into the kitchen at work where there’s the cookie jar, clear your cupboards of biscuits and chocolate and replace them with healthier snacks – by doing this, it makes it much easier to not eat the junk food and feel satisfied by the alternative.”
  • Avoid eating after your dinner meal and at least two to three hours before bedtime. “This is the worst time of the day to eat as our body is getting ready for sleep and isn’t equipped for processing food,” she says.

Remember – sometimes the smallest changes make the biggest difference.