Achievable weight management tips — and praise for overnight oats


Weight is always a hot topic in the world of health and fitness. After I had both my babies the question I was asked the most was about getting back to my pre-baby weight. 

The honest answer is that I simply didn’t, I’m heavier now than before I had both my kids but I’m also quite happy with that. I know I’m at a healthy weight for my life. I think it’s important to be realistic with goals regarding weight and be mindful when chatting to people. This week I’m sharing the weight management tips that I consider important.

To celebrate World Porridge Day today, I am going to share my overnight oats recipe — one of my favourite breakfast options.

1) Hit your protein targets

I aim for 20-30g at each meal (a chicken breast, a scoop of protein powder or 2 eggs for example). This is important because adequate protein can help prevent muscle loss and maximise fat loss when losing weight. It’s also satiating so can help keep you feeling fuller. To work out exact portions for you it’s important to consult with a professional — dietitians do a great job with clients.

2) Focus on good food sources

People often aim for a calorie deficit when losing weight but consider where your calories are coming from. By swapping high-sugar, high-fat processed foods (which tend to be hyper-palatable and easy to over-consume) for wholefoods higher in fibre and protein you may feel fuller for longer and have more energy. This in turn can make adherence and creating a calorie deficit a little bit easier.

3) Aim to move more

NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) is a key area to focus on. It can account for anywhere from 15-50% of our total energy expenditure each day and includes all activity outside of planned exercise like parking further from the entrance or getting off the bus a stop earlier. I monitor this every day with my tracker. I aim for 10,000 steps a day which is no easy task!

4) Quality of life matters

Diets only work if you can stick to them. If someone gives you a plan that you can’t see yourself doing long-term, then it’s pointless. Build in things you love to make the healthy changes more enjoyable and sustainable. If a diet or a plan is very restrictive on activities you love then you’ll find it tough. I love to eat out so I always work this into my approach to food. Try to move away from the idea of a diet and onto a ‘healthy lifestyle’.

5) Look at the big picture

Factors like sleep and stress can have a huge impact on how we function. They can make our overall diet and lifestyle conducive to weight loss. Sleep deprivation increases hunger levels and makes it more difficult to make healthy choices when we eat. Stress can trigger certain responses to food choices. Keeping a food diary and recording mood around eating habits can be very helpful in identifying your ‘triggers’.

The take-home message from the above points is that weight loss isn’t an easy road for most. My advice would be: do not pick a diet that doesn’t suit your lifestyle or preferences. The only thing more important than a calorie deficit is consistency. Don’t get disheartened with the process, you’re in it for the long term.

A final point is to invest in one-to-one expert advice if you have been hitting loads of roadblocks — it is hard and you need support. There are amazing doctors and dietitians that can put you on a great path to long-term weight success.

Fitness Tip: Move for 20 minutes — it will make a big difference. Twenty minutes is so much better than nothing. Go out for a walk on your lunchtime or in the evening.

Wellness Tip: Enhance Your living space. This was the Wellness Tip of the Week for my HIIT Reset Challenge on Derval.ie. You can enhance a room in many ways — simply decluttering, adding some nice candles and picture frames around the room, re-organising (e.g. swapping pillows from different rooms). I always feel calmer after a bit of a de-clutter.

Overnight Oats

This is my favourite way to enjoy porridge. It is one of the simplest breakfast options and nutritious too as it’s packed with slow-release energy and fibre.

Prep time: 1 minute (and overnight in the fridge)

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

240ml milk
60g porridge oats
30g frozen raspberries
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp nuts (pecans work well)
1 tsp agave syrup/honey/maple syrup

Method:

Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.
Cover and leave overnight in the fridge.
Next morning, top with the nuts, syrup/honey and serve.

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