Sunday 16 December 2018

7 healthy eating tips to make sure you feel great in that LBD this Christmas

There's just six weeks until Christmas

There's just six weeks until Christmas
There's just six weeks until Christmas
Take on the Irish Independent's Little Black Dress challenge. (Pictured: Taylor Hill. Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Jimmy Choo)
Dietician Orla Walsh Photo: Doug O'Connor

Orla Walsh

Welcome to the weight-loss food plan for our LBD challenge. I will be advising on your meals for the next six weeks in order to complement Siobhan’s exercise plan and give you the best chance at getting in shape. Here are your food rules to get you started

1. Use a smaller plate

Since 1960, our dinner plate has increased in size by over a third. Halving your plate size has been shown to reduce the amount you eat by 30pc. Over time, larger portions have gradually led to super-sized appetites. So perhaps focusing on serving a smaller portion for a while may downsize your appetite.

2. Fill up on veg

Unsurprisingly, increasing the amount of fruits and non-starchy vegetables that you eat was shown to help with weight loss. A study followed the dietary habits and weight changes of over 100,000 people for up to 24 years. They showed that for each extra daily serving of vegetables and fruit you eat, you'll lose a half to a quarter of a pound respectively over a four-year period.

3. Feel fuller with protein

Elaine Crowley wows in a little black dress at the opening of The Amber Rooms. Picture: Patrick O’Leary
Elaine Crowley wows in a little black dress at the opening of The Amber Rooms. Picture: Patrick O’Leary

A large systematic review, as featured in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, looked at the effect of protein intake on perceived fullness. The results confirmed that protein does, in fact, make us feel fuller. To help prevent hunger when trying to lose weight, include lean protein with every meal.

4. Drink water before eating

Researchers have shown that drinking a large glass of water (500ml) 30 minutes before eating may aid weight loss. Over a 12-week period, those who drank the 0.5 litre of water before all three main meals reported weight loss of approximately 9.5lbs over 12 weeks. The beauty of these findings is in the simplicity.

5. Eat more pulses

Eating one daily serving (three-quarters of a cup, or 130g) of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils could help you lose weight. Pulses provide low GI carbohydrate and are a source of plant protein. Eating them daily has been shown to increase the feeling of fullness by 31pc, which is helpful when trying to lose weight. The other benefit is that one serving each day can reduce "bad cholesterol" by 5pc, therefore lowering the risk of heart disease.

6. Eat slowly to naturally eat less

Waiting 30 seconds between bites of food may help you realise when you're no longer hungry, thus reducing the risk of overeating. This trick is simple, inexpensive and easy to follow. Your stomach needs about 15 minutes to get the message to your brain that you're no longer hungry. This is often referred to as the "satiety reflex''. When those that left a gap between mouthfuls were compared to those that didn't, the results were striking. In those that left the gap between mouthfuls, weight decreased by 2pc to 5.7pc after six months.

7. Soup for starters

A study showed that those who ate a first course of soup before their meal reduced their total calorie intake by 20pc. Low-calorie broth-based soup (100-150kcal) is filling regardless, but there is some evidence to suggest that chunkier soup may be the most filling. So when making your soup, increasing the thickness or the amount of chewing required may help with weight loss.

Dietician Orla Walsh Photo: Doug O'Connor
Dietician Orla Walsh Photo: Doug O'Connor

Online Editors

Life Newsletter

Our digest of the week's juiciest lifestyle titbits.

Editors Choice

Also in Life