Essential tips to lose weight healthily

PHOTO: The Straits Times

The promise of quick weight loss is always attractive but the effect does not last.

Besides, losing too much weight too quickly is bad for our health.

Dr Liu Han Ping, an aesthetic doctor at Thomson Well Women Clinic, said: "For most people, the initial weight-loss target should be a 10 per cent reduction from the baseline body weight over a period of about four to six months."

Healthy weight loss should not exceed 0.5kg to 1kg a week, he said.

"The best diet is one that is low-fat, high in complex carbohydrates and high in fibre."

Dr Liu added: "This also includes avoiding food with a large amount of calories, such as oily food, sweetened drinks and alcohol."

Furthermore, it is important to have an appropriate exercise plan to preserve lean body mass and increase daily energy expenditure.

This involves gradually increasing a simple aerobic regimen from 20 minutes, three times weekly, to 30 minutes, five times weekly and, finally, to 45 minutes, five times weekly, said Dr Liu.

Here are a few tips from him.

Plan all meals and snacks

Ideal planning of meals means that you should not feel hungry most of the time.

Some ways to achieve this include snacking on low-calorie drinks, consuming fruit and raw vegetables, such as carrot sticks.

A good way to reduce our staple food intake of rice and noodles is to switch to brown rice or eat more servings of vegetables and fruit during meals.

This helps to slow down digestion and absorption, which allows you to remain full for a longer period of time.

Don't forget to drink enough water

Hydration is important in optimising the body's metabolic rate and, hence, its energy expenditure.

The average recommended daily water intake is eight to 10 glasses of 250ml each.

But listen to your body too. If you feel thirsty because of hot weather or after an exercise session, for instance, drink more water.

Avoid alcohol

Alcoholic drinks are high in calories. Biochemically, the drinks also suppress fatty acid oxidation, the process by which fatty acids are broken down by various tissues to produce energy.

Do not skip breakfast

In today's fast-paced world, the most common method that people use to lose weight is to skip breakfast. However, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

When we do not eat breakfast, our body goes into starvation mode and tries to protect itself by conserving energy.

As a result, the body's metabolism is not at an optimal rate. We will tend to snack before lunch or overeat during the next meal. Our moods will get affected.

All three meals of the day should not be missed.

We must listen to our body and eat a healthy meal when hunger strikes. A successful weight-loss programme should minimise hunger and fatigue.

This article was first published on August 11, 2015. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.