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Habits that make you fat: Not moving

Many people over-estimate how much they move or do in a day and under-estimate how much they eat in a day.

To help get back into the habit of regular activity, keeping a food and exercise diary can start to give you an idea of the 'sneaky kilojoules' getting into your day via food, and how much or how little you're really exercising.

A pedometer is a great gadget. It is a non-intrusive device that shows a person exactly how little they are moving. An adult should be aiming for approximately 10,000 steps a day for health and a child should be aiming for 15,000 steps. Visit the Official 10,000 Steps website for more information.

If you can think like a lean person and adopt their habits, you may be able to become a successful 'weight loss maintainer.'

In addition to including more movement in your day (take the stairs, walk to the local shops instead of driving, wander round the park, go to the beach for a swim, etc), try these simple changes:

  • Eat breakfast every day. Breakfast has the potential to be the meal that's the lowest in energy, yet highest in fibre and complex carbohydrates. Eating breakfast helps start the body for the day and keeps you feeling full so that you don't crave high-energy, high-fat snacks mid-morning.

  • Eat a diet lower in energy with reduced portion sizes. Understand that the 'new' way of eating is the right amount of energy for your new body and is not about restriction. This allows you to achieve long-term compliance and avoid feeling deprived.

  • Eat a diet lower in fat. Become familiar with label reading so you can make informed decisions about food. This helps you choose lower-fat alternatives.

  • Cut down on snacking. Decrease the number of eating opportunities and only snack at defined times. This avoids all-day grazing and all the incidental kilojoules that can 'sneak' into the day.

  • Self-observation of body weight and food intake. Keep a food diary (I advocate that my clients keep a diary for at least 50% of the time between consultations) and monitor your weight about once every 2 weeks. This helps to correct behaviours before there has been a dramatic lapse.

  • Make simple swaps in everyday eating. You can really save on energy with these simple swaps and you won't even notice the difference:
Swap: With: Saves:
standard mayonnaise lite mayonnaise 1/4 cup can save over 1100kJ
high-fat dressing reduced-fat dressing 2 tablespoons can save 240kJ
standard sour cream reduced-fat sour cream 1 tablespoon will save 60kJ
standard mince beef extra lean mince beef 100g can save 450kJ
streaky bacon lean bacon 2 rashers can save over 700kJ
standard milk low-fat milk 1 cup can save 210kJ
canned fruit salad in syrup fresh fruit salad 200g can save 380kJ
butter low-fat spread 1 tablespoon can save 220kJ
vanilla ice cream frozen yoghurt 2 scoops can save 190kJ
cream reduced-fat cream 2 tablespoons can save over 200kJ



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