Nutritional Health For All

Getting in Shape for New Year

Many of us over indulge at Christmas - which is all part of the fun - but it usually leads to a few extra pounds gained over the holiday season. Many people start trying to lose weight in the new year and this fact sheet will give you some tips and tools to help you achieve your goals.

What to eat?

  • Try not to be tempted by the variety of fad and detox diets out there. Instead go for a more sensible approach. Check out our factsheet on fad diets and dietary supplements for more information.
  • Start by downloading the food diary and fill it in for a few days. It will give you a picture of exactly what you are doing but it will also help you to think about why you are eating.
  • Look for small, simple changes you can make that will give slower results, but will last longer. In the end you will lose more weight, and even better, you will be able to keep it off.
  • Compare your diary with the food pyramid for guidelines on a healthy balanced diet and to see where you can make changes - remember: no other diet plan has more research or studies behind it than the food pyramid.
  • See how often you are eating foods from the top shelf of the food pyramid - these foods are high in fat and/or sugar and usually have few other nutrients. Go for foods from the lower shelves.
  • Make sure you are eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and wholegrain foods such as wholegrain bread and cereals, all of which are high in fibre. A high fibre diet helps you to lose weight and you need 5 portions of fruit or vegetables every day.
  • Choose lean meat, fish and chicken and grill, boil or bake it instead of frying. Go for sauces based on fruit or vegetables such as tomato based sauces instead of creamy sauces.

Exercise

Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Apart from helping to lose weight it improves your mood and helps to prevent diseases such as heart disease.

  • We need about 30 minutes exercise, 5 days a week at a moderate intensity. This means you should feel warm and be breathing a little faster when you exercise - breathless but not speechless - you should still be able to talk while you exercise.
  • Always remember to check with your doctor before you start an exercise program if you have not been active for some time or you are unwell.
  • Visit www.getirelandactive.ie for top tips on getting your body moving.

Alcohol

  • Alcohol is high in calories and will make a big difference to your weight.
  • Keep alcohol to sensible levels. Women can have 14 standard drinks and men 21 standard drinks every week, although if you want to lose weight, drinking less than this will help.
  • One standard drink is ½ pint of beer, a small glass of wine or a standard measure of spirits.
  • Remember, drinks should be spaced over the week, and never in one sitting.
  • Always have at least one alcohol free day per week.
  • Visit and for further details.

Waist Circumference

  • Even more important than weight, the size of your waist can show you have good health.
  • Women should have a waist size that is less than 32 inches (82cm) and men should have a waist size that is less than 37 inches (94cm), even if you are a healthy weight otherwise.
  • If you have a waist that is higher than these figures, your chances of getting diabetes and heart disease go up.

If you would like further advice, check out the other healthy eating and weight management factsheets on our website or to make an appointment with a dietitian in your area, click here. 

Created by members of the weight management interest group, May 2016

Review date: May 2019.

© 2016 Irish Nutrition and Dietetics Institute, INDI. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in its entirety provided the source is acknowledged. This information is not meant to replace advice from your medical doctor or individual counselling with a dietitian. It is intended for educational and informational purposes only.

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