Donna Peters column: Lose weight without counting the calories...

On a whole food diet, two to three portions of fruit per day are recommended.
On a whole food diet, two to three portions of fruit per day are recommended.

It’s officially Spring. The nights are getting lighter and the weather (should be) getting warmer, so now is the time to take action if you want to lose a few pounds before summer. There’s 12 weeks until July, which is enough time to sensibly lose 10-14lbs.

Forget the fad diets that leave you feeling hungry and deprived – they don’t work. The majority of people regain the weight and are more likely to become ‘yo-yo’ dieters; which is detriment to your health. Instead, choose real, wholesome food that will nourish you from within and support your overall health. When you start eating food without labels, you no longer need to count calories. Weight loss is usually a natural side effect, along with improvements in energy levels, mood, hair and skin, as well as reducing your risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Our bodies need a good supply of nutrients to function to their optimum. This includes the macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fats), as well as over 40 micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids). Each has an important function in the body and depletions/deficiencies can negatively impact our health.

A healthy, balanced diet should consist of mainly whole foods, ie foods with only one ingredient.

They tend to be lower in calories and higher in nutrient content compared to processed foods; therefore, they also have benefits for weight management and general health.

Keep processed foods, refined sugars and trans fats to a minimum; they have little nutritional value.

Whole foods:

l Unprocessed meat and fish

l Eggs

l Nuts and seeds

l Grains

l Beans and legumes

l Fresh fruit and vegetables

Learning how to transform these whole foods into tasty dishes is key. Firstly, choose your protein and use this as the basis for 
your meal, then add 
natural flavours such 
as garlic, fresh herbs and spices, lemons, chilli, healthy oils and fruit/vegetables. Don’t just grill your salmon; whilst it’s good for you it’s not very exciting! 
Experiment and add some fresh herbs, lime and ginger with a drizzle of olive 
oil – it makes such a 
difference.

A diet high in whole foods is not only beneficial for your overall health, 
but is great for weight loss too.

So ditch the processed foods, refined carbohydrates and trans fats, and see how much better you can look and feel in just 12 weeks…