How do I know if I need to lose weight?
You can find out if you are carrying extra weight by calculating your body mass index (BMI). BMI is used to categorise body size. It does so by looking at height and weight. Having a BMI in the overweight or obese weight category can increase the risk of health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. However you can also live in a bigger body and still be healthy. You can check your waist measurement to make sure you are not carrying too much weight around your middle. This can increase your risk of health problems.
Why are you using body mass index?
Body mass index uses height and weight to categorise body size. Body weight is made up of many things including muscle, fat and bone and BMI does not differentiate between these. However, BMI can give a good idea about a person's body size and identify if there are potential health risks due to that body size. While it is not a perfect measure, it is simple to use and is a useful starting point.
How can I lose weight safely?
Using the safefood: Healthy weight for you programme can help you make small changes to your eating habits to lose weight gradually, making you more likely to keep it off. Our safefood: Healthy weight for you programme helps you lose between 5 to 10% of your current body weight. The plan is designed for you to lose weight safely, aiming to lose 0.5kg/1lb per week by following the meal plans, which reduce the amount of calories you eat each day. Regular physical activity may also make losing weight and preventing weight gain more likely. It works alongside having a healthy diet.
Why should I aim to lose 5 to 10% of my weight?
This may seem like a small amount but losing just 5 to 10% of your weight has lots of health benefits and helps to improve your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars. This can lower your risk of developing
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Certain cancers
How often should I weigh myself?
Once a week. Try to weigh yourself using the same weighing scales, at a similar time each week and in similar amounts of clothes. People who weigh themselves are likely to manage their weight better, this is probably because they notice changes early on and tackle them. But only do this if you are happy to, if not consider using your clothes as a guide or focus on other health habits, for example how much fruit and vegetables you have eaten in the past week or how active you have been.
Is there a correct way to weigh myself?
- Weigh yourself at the same time of the day and wearing similar clothing
- Remove shoes and socks
- Place the scales on a firm, flat surface
- Connect to power if required
- Turn on the scale
- Check the weight displayed on the scale is zero before standing on the scale
- Stand on the scale with one foot on each side of the scale
- Face forward with your arms down by your side
- Record your weight
I don’t like some of the foods in my meal plan, can I change them?
Yes, you can swap any meal in your plan by clicking the ‘edit’ button on your meal planner and choosing from a range of other meal options. If you make changes to your meal plan this will change your overall intake of nutrients for the day. Remember it is important to eat a variety of different foods to get all the nutrients your body needs to be healthy. Here’s more about nutrients and the healthy eating guidelines for Ireland and Northern Ireland.
How do I keep myself motivated?
Break down your goal into a set of smaller short-term goals. Smaller goals help keep you motivated and keep your weight loss on track. Get support from friends, family and health professionals. Having a support system helps when you need some extra motivation or a friendly push. Log into to your dashboard for motivational messages and useful articles to inspire and encourage you. Remember sometimes you may not notice a physical difference but eating well and being active has its own health benefits. Make a list of some non-food rewards to mark successes during the day. These don’t have to be expensive, it might be getting a new book, or taking a long bath.
I have stopped losing weight. What do I do?
Losing weight and maintaining weight loss is not always plain sailing. Life can present us with challenges that can send us off track sometimes. This is normal, don’t give up. Check out our advice here.
I have tried and failed at a lot of diets before. How is this any different?
Successful weight loss involves making small changes that you can stick to in the long-term. Our safefood: Healthy weight for you programme is designed to help you lose weight slowly over 12 weeks with simple diet plans and easy recipes.
I have tried and failed at following this plan. What do I do?
Losing weight and maintaining weight loss is not always plain sailing. Life can present us with challenges that can send us off track sometimes. This is normal, don’t give up, you many need more support. You might need to visit a health professional like a GP or a dietitian. Here is a list of dietitians in your area:
What do I do if I am eating out or at a party?
Make a plan in advance and stick to it. For example, you could have one course instead of two, have a starter instead of a main course, or split dessert with a friend.
How do I deal with temptation?
It is best to plan for treats. Trying to completely avoid certain foods can just make you want them more. The key is to find ways to fit in the foods you like, without going to excess. Try finding healthy alternatives for the foods you like and choosing smaller portion sizes. Remember treat foods are occasional foods, not everyday foods.
What to do if you have a bad day?
What’s done is done. There is nothing to gain from beating yourself up over a bad day. Use it as a chance to learn. Take a look at what went wrong and why, then think about what you could do differently next time. This way you can stop it happening again.
I have reached my target weight range. How do I keep within this range?
Well done on reaching a healthy weight range. You deserve major congratulations for what you have achieved. You've, no doubt, learned a lot to make it this far - keep up those healthy habits and you have every chance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eat plenty of low-fat and high-fibre foods, like fruit and vegetables. Keep your treat foods in check. Eat slowly and stop eating when you feel full. Do at least 30 minutes of activity each day.