WE’VE all been there, it’s time to put on your favourite pair of jeans and they feel a little tight around the waist or the thighs.
While many people have revelled in exercise plans during the coronavirus lockdown, others may have over indulged.
Researchers from the University of Oxford have now set out a foolproof plan for you to shed the pounds.
Professor Susan Jebb and Dr Kerstin Frie previously set out what makes dieters lose their mojo and go back to sneaking cakes and sweet treats.
After building on results from the first trial, they found that people who weighed themselves each day were more likely to stick to their diets and therefore were more likely to obtain their goals.
Now writing in the British Journal of Health Psychology they outline the results of a new “Prevail” programme.
The trial gathered data from 100 participants and found that the key to losing weight was “to remain in control”.
The researchers highlighted seven basic steps to kickstart your weight loss journey as well as the situations and foods you should avoid.
1. Get studying
By now we’ve all got used to checking the traffic light labels when shopping in the supermarket.
The researchers said that green is best when it comes to studying the labels.
Foods that have the green traffic light sticker contain less than 3g of fat per 100g.
Front of pack labels usually give a guide as to the fat content, energy, saturated fat content, sugar content and salt content.
How can I tell if my food is high in fat?
NHS England offers a comprehensive guide as to high and low levels of various groups in your pre packaged food
High: more than 17.5g of fat per 100g
Low: 3g of fat or less per 100g
High: more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g
Low: 1.5g of saturated fat or less per 100g
High: more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g
Low: 5g of total sugars or less per 100g
High: more than 1.5g of salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium)
Low: 0.3g of salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium)
2. Eat your five-a-day
Government guidelines recommend that you must eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Despite this Public Health England says most adults manage just 4.2 portions per day.
Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your five-a-day and using these as part of your main meals are a great way to make your plate look full and to keep your tummy fuller for longer.
The NHS states that 80g of fresh, canned or frozen fruit and vegetables counts as 1 portion of your five-a-day.
This is while 30g of dried fruit also counts as one portion.
3. Throw out the fat
The Oxford experts say that physically removing the fat from any meat you are going to consume will help you shed the pounds.
Taking the fat off is a great way to cut unnecessary fat from your diet.
Avoiding processed meats will also help and these include bacon, sausages. hot dogs and canned meats.
Processed meat is any meat that has been preserved by canning, smoking, salting or curing it.
4. Cut the carbs
While you should never completely cut out a food group from your diet, experts say lowering the amount of carbohydrates you consume can help your weight loss efforts.
The Oxford experts recommend replacing the pasta or potatoes you would usually have with your meals with vegetables.
The government recommends that over a third of your diet should be made up of starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, rice and pasta, and over another third should be fruit and vegetables.
Carbs are important as they give you energy and help contribute to healthy levels of fibre in your system.
5. Halve it
The Oxford experts state that you should make half of your meal salad or vegetables.
Not only is this a great way to limit the amount of calories you have but it will also help you fulfil your five-a-day goal.
However the experts highlight that potatoes don’t count as half a plate of vegetables and that you should stick to small portions of these foods.
They also recommend using salad dressings made from low fat yogurt or lemon juice in order to give your vegetables and salads a little bit more flavour.
6. Look for low sugar
By now you should be used to checking the food labels on your packets and experts say you should try and eat foods that are low in sugar if you want to lose weight.
Again the Oxford experts recommend that you should only eat foods that have green markings when it comes to sugar intake.
This means they contain 5g or less of sugar per 100g.
The NHS states that adults should have no more than the equivalent of seven sugar cubes a day while children aged seven to 10 should have no more than six.
7. Snack attack
We are all guilty of reaching for the biscuit tin when we feel those mid morning hunger pangs in our stomach.
While the experts don’t completely rule out snacking they say you need to keep an eye on what snacks you are eating in between meals.
They recommend snacking on vegetables.
This they say will also keep your fibre levels high while keeping you full in between meals.
What to rule out
If you want to lose weight the experts also highlighted what you need to completely ditch in order to succeed in your weight loss journey.
They said that fried foods were a no no and also stated that crisps, biscuits, cakes and sweets should also be ditched.
They added that these should not even be eaten as part of your three meals a day.
Checking portion sizes was another top tip from the experts and they claimed that tracking apps that come with wearable devices and other popular apps such as MyFitnessPal can help you reach your goals.
In conclusion to their study the experts said people lost more weight when they used the guide, especially in the short term.