General Guidelines for Dietary Therapy for Weight Management

  1. Restriction of caloric intake is the important principle
  2. A reduction in calories of 500-1000kcal/day results in 1-2 lb wt loss /week
  3.  Alcohol provides unneeded calories and displaces more nutritious foods.
  4. Semi-starvation diets can be dangerous and do not guarantee long term weight maintenance.
  5. ‘Low-Fat’ foods are helpful only if they are low in calories and not taken in large quantities.
  6. Food must be balanced (55% Carbohydrate, 15% Protein, 20-30g of fibre/day, 30% FAT: saturated fats 8-10%, polyunsaturated fats up to 10%, monounsaturated fats; up to 15%; cholesterol; less than 300mg/day)
  7. Protein should be derived from plant sources and lean animal protein
  8. Pay attention to adequate intake of vitamins and minerals (Calcium intake should be 1000-1500 mg/day)
  9. Complex carbohydrates from vegetables, fruits and whole grains are recommended as they contain good sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
  10. Avoid eating heavy meals at any time especially at night (reduce portion sizes)
  11. Spread food across the length of day if possible and do not eat anything for at least 3 to 4 hours before you go to bed.
  12. Drinks lots of water
  13. Remember that dieting without increased physical activity is not helpful

General Guidelines for Physical Activity in Weight Management

  1. The best time to exercise is either before meals or 2 hour after eating.
  2. Increased physical activity is key to success must become part of routine lifestyle.
  3. Moderate intensity exercise preferentially utilises stored body fat whilst high intensity exercise utilises mainly carbohydrates.
  4. Exercise type must be aerobic (e.g. Running, cycling etc), started slowly, with gradual increase in intensity and duration.
  5. Exercise that increases your heart rate to 60-70% of your heart rate maximum (calculated as 220-Age) is moderate intensity exercise.  For example, a 25 year old has a maximum heart rate of 195 and 60% of this maximum is 117. Therefore a 25 year old should reach and maintain a heart rate of 117 during exercise.
  6. Examples of moderate intensity exercise
    1. Gardening for 30-45 mins.
    2. Walking 2 miles in 30 mins (15 min/mile)
    3. Stair walking for 15 mins
    4. Running 1½ miles in 15 mins (10 min/mile)
    5. Jumping rope for 15 mins
    6. Playing a game of basketball for 15-20 mins
    7. Swimming laps for 20 mins or
    8. Water aerobics for 30 mins
    9. Cycling 5 miles in 30 mins
  7. Every exercise programme must be start with a ‘warm up’ before and end with a ‘cool down’ after the exercise.
  8. Duration of exercise: 30 minutes cumulative
  9. Frequency of exercise: 5 days a week but preferably all days.
  10. Overall, achieving energy expenditure greater than 1000-1500 calories of food intake daily will guarantee sustainable weight loss.
  11. Effective weight loss is achievable when appropriate exercise is combined with appropriate dietary therapy.