· Get your care team involved: Your first stop is your GP, who can help you design a weight-loss program that incorporates any changes you may need to make to your medications or insulin. A dietitian is also an essential ally, as they can identify what changes you need to make in your diet. It’s also a good idea to see an exercise physiologist, especially if you have mobility issues, injuries or are new to exercising.
· Set realistic weight loss goals: The experts agree that losing between 500g and 1kg each week is more sustainable, and better for your health than attempting to shed larger amounts of weight in a short period.
· Find your motivation, whether it’s the desire to go for a walk without getting breathless, wanting to take fewer medications, or simply to live longer. Having a personal motivator can help to carry you through the days when you feel like giving up.
· Eat a healthy, balanced diet: Aim to eat foods that are rich in nutrient-dense wholefoods. Choose foods from the key food groups – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lean protein – following the serving sizes recommended by your GP and/or dietitian. Take a look at our Food section for extra inspiration.
· Limit treats, including chips, lollies and sweet biscuits, which have little nutritional value. But don’t deprive yourself altogether of the foods you love, as having an ‘all or nothing’ mentality isn’t sustainable – or enjoyable – in the long run.
· Get in touch with your appetite: Learn to recognise when you are genuinely hungry. Eating slowly will help you stop when satisfied rather than over-full.
· Exercise regularly, even if it’s for only for 10 minutes a day. Gradually increase the duration and intensity over time. Aim to reach an hour of moderate-intensity exercise most days – the amount that research suggests most of us need to lose weight and keep it off.
· Increase incidental activity by getting up and walking for five minutes every hour. By the end of a seven-hour working day, you will have clocked 35 minutes of walking. And avoid sitting for long periods of time. Even if you exercise each day, spending the rest of the day sitting is still a risk factor for your health and will slow down weight loss.
· Keep a food and fitness diary: This will help you keep track of how much you move, as well as hunger and satiety levels. It is a great way to ensure you are not eating more than you need or for reasons other than hunger. Discuss your findings with your care team.
· Take pride in your successes: Reward them by doing something you enjoy! And, on the flip side, be kind to yourself if you’ve had a setback, like gaining a few kilos, or falling off the ‘good-eating’ wagon. Put these moments into perspective by reminding yourself how far you have come, and how worth it the journey is.
· Don’t be afraid to call on a trusted friend, family member or your care team if you’re finding that you’re struggling and need some extra support.