Lose weight permanently and healthily – without dieting

Woman wants to lose weight healthily and makes herself a full breakfast

Many diets – from Atkins to low carb to the stone-age Paleo diet – promise rapid weight loss in a short period of time. A healthy diet and plenty of exercise helps to lose weight in the long term.

Contents at a glance

BMI: What body weight is healthy?

Whether a person’s current body weight is still healthy can be determined on the basis of a certain parameter, the so-called Body Mass Index (BMI) determine. It applies to adults from about the age of 18. The weight of a person should be measured at the age of 60 and the ratio of body weight to height should be determined. For those who work or train hard physically, such as bodybuilders or heavy lifters, it is best to seek advice from a doctor or nutritionist regarding weight loss. For all others, the BMI is suitable. It can be calculated as follows:

Body weight in kg : (body height in m)²

Alternatively, the German Federal Center for Health Education (BzgA) offers a BMI calculator for free on its website.

BMI table

BMI chart with different colors showing if underweight, normal or overweight

  • Gray: Your weight is very low, you should by no means continue to lose weight.
  • Green: Great! Your weight is in the normal range.
  • Yellow: You are slightly to moderately overweight. From a health point of view, this is not yet a concern, if your blood values and blood pressure are fine. Be careful not to gain any more weight. Losing a few kilos is advisable from a health point of view.
  • Red: Your body weight is significantly above the normal weight. For your health, it would be good if you try to lose weight, because you have a higher risk of diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes or even a stroke. Talk to your doctor about how to reduce your weight in a healthy way for the long term.

Not recommended: A flash diet

Especially around the turn of the year they are again proverbial in all mouth: flash diets. They promise a high weight loss in a short time, but can easily lead to malnutrition due to their one-sidedness. These include Especially mono diets that focus on one food. Even some trendy diets have their pitfalls. They often contain strict rules that do not take individual preferences and lifestyles into account.

Diets that are not recommended thus include, for example, diets with one food, such as the potato, egg, or cabbage soup diet. They are too one-sided and not suitable for the long term.

Short-term diets rarely have a lasting effect. It is characteristic of diets that people who want to lose weight lose a lot of weight quickly. After the diet, however, they put on weight again just as quickly, sometimes even more than they had lost, as soon as they fall back into old eating habits (so-called yo-yo effect).

Someone wants to lose weight in a healthy, long-term way, so they go for zoodles instead of pasta

© iStock / Daniela Baumann

10 tips for losing weight with the right diet

The DGE recommends long-term weight loss based on a combination of dietary changes, behavioral changes and an increase in physical activity. A wholesome diet and 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day help regulate weight. With these 10 rules you do something good for yourself and your body:

1. Eat a varied diet

Combine all food groups, i.e. plant and animal foods as well as fats. Vegetable foods in particular have few calories, but are full of vitamins, minerals and satiating fiber.

2. 5 times a day fruit and vegetables

The vitamins, minerals and satiating fibers contained in fruit and vegetables give you energy for the day. By the way, this also includes legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, beans and unsalted nuts. The DGE recommends: at least 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit a day.

3. Whole grains instead of white flour

Pasta, bread and co. from whole grains provide you with healthy nutrients, fill you up for a long time and reduce the risk of many diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus or colon cancer. Potatoes are also a healthy source of carbohydrates.

4. Animal foods in moderation

Daily milk and dairy products provide the body with valuable calcium. With fish you may access once or twice a week. Enjoy meat and sausage rarely. Between 300 and 600 grams per week are ideal. Eggs may be, but also in moderation, so should not be daily on the menu.

5. Fat is important

But please mainly vegetable oils from, for example, rapeseed, walnut, soy or olive. In addition, prefer vegetable fat spreads instead of butter. Fats such as coconut fat, palm oil or palm kernel oil can have an unfavorable effect on health.

A woman puts oil in a pot to cook

6. Less sugar and salt

Sugar is found mainly in processed foods and sweet drinks of all kinds. It is therefore best to cook fresh and Drink plenty of unsweetened beverages such as water and tea. How to save calories and reduce your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus and tooth decay.

Salt in high quantities increases the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. It is often found in foods such as sausage, bread, cheese and especially processed foods. Try to cook once with little salt and Not to add salt at the table. This way, the individual foods taste much more natural.

7. Drink, drink, drink – and drink the right thing

1.5 liters of water or unsweetened teas quench thirst and leave blood sugar untouched. Cravings don’t stand a chance. If you need flavor, you can mix juice spritzers with a ratio of 3 parts water to one part juice. Refrain from sugary foods and alcohol.

8. It all depends on the preparation

To preserve nutrients and save fat, steaming and stewing food is the best way to do it. The rule is: eat as long as necessary and as short as possible. Meat and fish, however, should always be cooked through to avoid foodborne infections.

9. Take your time

If you enjoy your food and eat slowly, you get more out of it. Because the feeling of satiety sets in only after about 15 to 20 minutes. So you never eat too much and even support your digestion with thorough, slow chewing.

10. Exercise is the key

In addition to a balanced, healthy diet, body weight can be controlled through regular exercise. By the way, this also includes everyday activities such as cycling and climbing stairs.

About 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity a day is recommended. If you exercise, you automatically increase your calorie consumption and the muscles you build up also burn calories while you sleep. In addition, regular exercise reduces the risk of many diseases, such as cancer, type 2 diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, stroke and osteoporosis.

Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE):

German Society for Nutrition e. V.:

Oberritter, H. (2004): Healthy weight loss. Word-and-Picture Publishing.

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