How to plan your diet with weight loss? - Halley Medical Aesthetics

“I eat healthily and go on a diet, why am I still not losing weight?!”

Does this sound familiar to you or the people around you? Indeed, dieting is one of the steps to weight loss, but you may not realise what has gone wrong.

The most important concept of weight loss is to understand what and how to achieve the “caloric deficit” for your body. This means you intake lesser calories than you burn. So the very first step is to understand what your body needs.

 

Understand your body needs

halley medical aesthetics, dr. terence tan, weight loss, weight management, weight loss method, weight loss medication, exercises, coolsculpting, fat reduction, fat removal, hifu, lose weight, calories

Let us put this in perspective using numbers.

If you are a male adult, you will need around 2,100 kcal a day to maintain a healthy body weight. If you are a female adult, you will need about 1,800 kcal a day. This daily requirement varies according to factors such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Activity level

If you have a deskbound job, you’ll need fewer calories than a salesman or waiter who is often on the move. Hence, if you’re a male and you eat more than 2,100 kcal a day, you’ll need to burn off the extra calories or you will gain weight.

Understanding what you really eating

halley medical aesthetics, dr. terence tan, weight loss, weight management, weight loss method, weight loss medication, exercises, coolsculpting, fat reduction, fat removal, hifu, lose weight, calories

You may like to think that you are eating healthily, as per advertiser’s claims. However, the food we perceive as “healthy”, may be far from it.

Let’s take a look at Subway, the fast-food chain that is positioned as a healthier choice. Their set meal that comes with a sandwich, a drink, and two cookies is a popular choice amongst the office workers.

However, when you take a closer look at the calories these items provide, it actually adds up more than 1,000 calories! This makes up half of your required daily calorie intake. Bear in mind that this is only one meal.

Food item Energy (kcal)
Oven roasted chicken on multigrain bread with cheese & mayonnaise 437
Coke (300 ml) 139
Chocolate chip cookie 209
Peanut butter cookie 216
Total 1,001
 

How to cut down on your calorie intake?

Now, let’s look at the results when we change the food choices.

Food item Energy (kcal)
Oven roasted chicken on multigrain bread with honey mustard 323
Coke Zero 0
Chocolate chip cookie 209
Total  532

This way, you’ve successfully cut down your calorie intake almost by half! By making simple changes to your food choices, you can save a lot of unwanted calories.

In this example, you are cutting out 469 kcal daily, which is equivalent to losing about 46g of fat.

At one glance, it might not seem significant. However, if you multiply that by a month, you can potentially lose 1.3 kg. In a year, you can lose more than 15 kg!

 

“Is there an easier way to lose weight?”

halley medical aesthetics, dr. terence tan, weight loss, weight management, weight loss method, weight loss medication, exercises, coolsculpting, fat reduction, fat removal, hifu, lose weight, calories

The truth is, diets are an integral part of weight loss. However, what you can do to ease this seemingly arduous task is to make small changes in your daily diet. This will help you stay within your daily caloric requirement. More importantly, it will help you achieve sustainable weight loss.

Here is a chart to elaborate on the example I have given above to show how much calories you can remove just by making simple changes to your food choices.

Instead of: Replace with: You cut:
Subway Club sandwich with cheese 317 kcal Subway Club sandwich without cheese 278 kcal 39 kcal or 4 g of fat
1 tbsp mayonnaise 107 kcal 2 tsp mustard 7 kcal 100 kcal or 10 g of fat
16.9oz Coke 201 kcal 16.9oz Coke Zero 0 kcal 201 kcal or 20 g of fat
Starbucks Venti latte 300 kcal (of which 140 kcal comes from milk) Americano:
  • with no sugar 0 kcal
  • with 1 tsp sugar 16 kcal
 
  • 300 kcal or 30 g of fat
  • 284 kcal or 28 g of fat

While milk is healthy, it also contains a lot of fat. By removing milk and sugar from your coffee every day, you can potentially lose close to 1 kg a month or 12 kg in a year!  These small changes amount to significant fat loss over time.

Giving up our favourite foods like fried chicken, creamy pasta, and ice cream is a big sacrifice! Here’s the good news: you don’t have to stop eating them completely.

You just have to cut down the total caloric intake by making small sacrifices on a regular basis. That way, you can still enjoy these high caloric foods occasionally. However, that doesn’t mean binge-eating! You still have to eat in moderation and maintain a caloric deficit to achieve weight loss.

Other than diet, medications are your greatest helper in weight loss.

halley medical aesthetics, dr. terence tan, weight loss, weight management, weight loss method, weight loss medication, exercises, coolsculpting, fat reduction, fat removal, hifu, lose weight, calories

It is hard, especially when you are just embarking on the weight loss journey and you need to sacrifice what you are used to eating. In fact, Dr. Terence Tan, the medical director of Halley Medical Aesthetics, shared with us about his thoughts on using medication for weight loss:

“From my experience, I believe short-term weight loss medications can help many people, even if the experts tell us that based on their studies, medications are only for people with a body mass index (BMI) of above 30. Firstly, doctors in Singapore hardly see many patients with a BMI of above 30. Secondly, results are based on big medical trials done by experts to prove pre-conceived theories. In this case, the studies are designed to compare the risk of taking medications to the complications associated with being overweight. How about societal concerns of being overweight? Do they measure the risk of taking weight loss medications to achieve societal acceptance, to find a job, a girlfriend or a boyfriend if one is not overweight? No medical trial measures that stuff. These studies have no means of measuring intangible things like that. If that is the case, are we still so sure that we should not be helping more people lose weight with medications?”  

When is the best time to introduce weight loss medications?

Phase 1: Ease initial weight loss pains with medications 

The journey to achieving sustained weight loss is generally divided into two phases. Phase 1 is the active weight loss phase.

Many consider this as the most difficult and painful phase. This is when your diet is heavily restricted and you have to exercise far more then you used to. During this phase, I believe that it’s crucial to use weight loss medications.

It helps you to cope better with your hunger pangs. Furthermore, weight loss medications allow you to see rapid weight loss. Rapid weight loss is a great motivator. Motivation is the single most vital driving force in any weight loss journey.

Phase 2: Weight loss maintenance 

By this stage, you would have achieved your ideal weight. The goal now is for you to maintain a caloric balance. If you’ve achieved your desired weight, you should stop or cut down on your medications.

Reason being, there’s no need to maintain an ultra-low calorie diet any more. This means you’re now able to eat more than what you could in phase one. It might sound like a relieve, but many people who have successfully lost the extra weight feels that they are losing ground.

You should be motivated by the fact that you have already lost all the weight you need to. You just need to maintain it.

How about weight loss treatments? Does it work?

Firstly, there are beauty salons who sell weight loss programmes. They provide a range of services such as machine treatments, meal replacements, and even counselling.

Secondly, there are some clinics that prescribe medications that curb appetite or ‘block’ fat.

Last but not least, there are aesthetic and plastic surgery clinics. They help you with weight loss through performing invasive or non-invasive fat reduction treatments.

While there are many reputable clinics and salons who have successfully help some patients slim down, I feel that not many offer a full suite of services that address all aspects of slimming.

Understanding your weight loss concerns

When I talk to my patients, there are a couple of concerns that I hear all the time. They want the process to be:

  1. Fast
  2. Easy
  3. Safe

Those who want it fast would go to beauty salons. Those who want it safe would go to GP clinics for medications and those who want it easy would go to aesthetic doctors or plastic surgeons. What about those who want all three? There are not many places that they can go.

What are the key principles that contribute to a successful weight loss programme?

To me, a successful programme is one where you’ve lost enough weight to be self-motivated to maintain a healthy weight for the rest of your life independently.

Weight loss treatment principle 1: Go big or go home

You should undergo a full-body check-up.

It should include a full-body examination, body fat analysis, BMI analysis, waist circumference measurement, and blood pressure measurement.

From there, your doctor will work with a nutritionist to customise a weight loss plan. They will be able to determine your optimal weight, optimal daily calorie intake, and craft a nutrition strategy.

You’ll also get insights on dieting, healthy eating, exercising, and lifestyle, as well as discuss common misconceptions on dieting and nutrition. This plan must be safe and promises realistic results.

Many of you need to see rapid weight loss at phase one to be motivated to continue the fight for weight loss.

This is why weight loss medications are recommended at the start of a proper weight loss programme. They can help suppress appetite and prevent fat from being digested by the body.

How about weight loss treatments? Does it work?

Firstly, there are beauty salons who sell weight loss programmes. They provide range of services such as machine treatments, meal replacements, and even counselling.

Secondly, there are some clinics that prescribe medications that curb appetite or ‘block’ fat.

Last but not least, there are aesthetic and plastic surgery clinics. They help you with weight loss through performing invasive or non-invasive fat reduction treatments.

While there are many reputable clinics and salons who have successfully help some patients slim down, I feel that not many offer a full suite of services that address all aspects of slimming.

Understanding your weight loss concerns

When I talk to my patients, there are a couple of concerns that I hear all the time. They want the process to be:

  1. Fast
  2. Easy
  3. Safe

Those who want it fast would go to beauty salons. Those who want it safe would go to GP clinics for medications and those who want it easy would go to aesthetic doctors or plastic surgeons. What about those who want all three? There are not many places that they can go to.

  • Meal Replacement

  halley medical aesthetics, dr. terence tan, weight loss, weight management, weight loss method, weight loss medication, exercises, coolsculpting, fat reduction, fat removal, hifu, lose weight, calories

This is prescribed only by doctors for people who may not need weight loss medications but require a low-calorie diet. It’s also for people who prefer not to consume weight loss medications.

Nestlé’s Optifast®, for instance, is a meal replacement product dedicated to clinic-use. It needs to be consumed under the guidance of a qualified nutritionist or doctor.

Although individual results vary, based on studies, the typical patient on a full Optifast diet loses an average of 22 kg in 26 weeks. It is a clinically-proven meal replacement product to help overweight patients lose excess weight, improve health, and lower weight-related health risks.

 
  • CoolSculpting

Halley Medical Aesthetics, CoolSculpting, HIFU, fat removal, fat reduction, weight loss, fat removal, body contouring, skin firming, lose weight, medication, calories

CoolSculpting is for body contouring, not weight loss. This no downtime, non-invasive fat reduction treatment is good for removing stubborn fat that still lingers on despite a lot exercise.

It uses a cooling temperature to remove fat in the double-chin, arms, armpit area, abdomen, love handles, thighs, back or bra fat, knee and other areas.

While not all weight loss patients require a CoolSculpting treatment, it will certainly help those who desire a more sculpted body shape. The results from CoolSculpting can be considered as more long-lasting. This treatment is cleared by the US FDA, and is safe.

halley medical aesthetics, dr. terence tan, weight loss, weight management, weight loss method, weight loss medication, exercises, coolsculpting, fat reduction, fat removal, hifu, lose weight, calories

Weight loss treatment principle 3: Sustainability 

Weight loss treatments need to be sustainable. You need to be committed and keep going at it until you see results. Once you see great initial results, you’ll be hungry for more. Trust me, after this hurdle, your weight loss process will only get easier!

By the time you’re able to self-motivate, you wouldn’t need the help from a doctor anymore.

 

Conclusion

Weight loss is a lifelong journey and you need to make it sustainable for you and your body. Therefore, make small changes in your routine to your desired goal. Weight loss is also not just for your beauty, but also for your health.

Always keep in mind: your weight loss journey needs to be safe, other than being effective. Don’t be afraid or shy to consult the doctor when necessary as doctors have the expertise and knowledge to help you get on the right track.

Start your journey to a healthier you, today!