It's every woman's wardrobe nightmare; you're dressing for a special occasion and the outfit you've chosen is too tight.
If your pants are a little too snug and some extra kilos have crept on, with some determination the experts say you can drop a few kilos within weeks.
Edge Fitness personal trainer Clare Pickersgill said the first step was to set yourself a goal and a time frame so you had something to work towards, and then get serious about exercise.
"Try to train three to four times a week for 60 minutes, with approximately 30 to 45 minutes at a high intensity," she said.
"On the days when you aren't doing the high-intensity training, make sure you are always still keeping active.
"Find the time to do 30 minutes of moderate exercise."
Ms Pickersgill said cardio and interval training were best for weight loss.
"Find something you enjoy and stick to it, whether it is running, boxing or a team sport," she said. "You can get a great cardio workout in Kings Park doing Jacobs Ladder, Kokoda Track and DNA Tower."
Dietitians Association of Australia spokeswoman Sonya Stanley said when the kilos crept on, it was time to clean up the diet.
First step was to cut back on foods high in added sugars or fats such as soft drinks, chocolates, cakes and biscuits.
"Pay attention to your food and drink portions and don't forget to balance a healthy eating plan with regular physical activity," she said.
Ms Stanley said it was important not to lose weight too quickly or use the wrong methods.
"On a restrictive diet when very little food is eaten, the body usually loses water and lean muscle in the short term, with very little effect on body fat," she said. "In the long term, losing muscle mass can make it easier for the body to gain fat so people can end up putting on weight.
"Focus on a healthy eating and activity plan which you can maintain in the long term."
She said a weight loss of about half to one kilogram a week was usually recommended as a sustainable rate.
Dietitian Mary Slater said snacks could unhinge a “drop five” plan.
“Always ask yourself ‘Am I truly hungry?’ before you snack,” she said.
“Eating just for the sake of it is often a reason why people struggle to maintain a healthy body weight. If you are hungry enough for a snack, eat as natural as possible.”
Dr Slater said fruit was the best snack, with other good examples being low-fat dairy products such as natural yoghurt, cottage cheese with vegies or a fruit smoothie made with one cup of skim milk and half a cup of berries.
“Or have a handful of raw nuts — which is only about eight nuts,” she said.
“Although nuts contain many good fats, they are still high in energy density so be careful not to overindulge. Air-popped popcorn, a small can of baked beans and two to three wholegrain crackers (like Ryvita) with some homemade chickpea dip are other great snacks.”
WATCH THE DRINKS
Dr Slater said it was not just your food you needed to keep an eye on if you wanted to lose a few kilos — drinks could easily cause you to consume too many kilojoules, even though some, like fruit juices, may have some healthy qualities.
“Cut back on juices, beverages with added sugar like cordials, flavoured water, energy drinks, sports drinks and alcohol,” she said. “Although it’s a liquid, alcohol is very high in energy density and sometimes its very difficult to exercise moderation.”
Personal trainer Amy Heslop, who specialises in weight loss, said enlisting the help of a personal trainer would improve your chances of shedding a stubborn five kilos.
She recommended trying out a trainer before you sign up.
“Meet the trainer in person,” she said. “First impressions count for a lot. Ask them about their past experience with clients, who they usually train and why they are in the fitness industry. You need to see passion and drive in them — their eyes should light up when they talk about their career and clients.”
She said a good trainer would go the extra mile to help you strive towards your own weight-loss goals.
- Swap high-fat biscuits and cake for a piece of fruit if you need a snack between meals.
- Switch to a low-fat or skim milk to save calories without cutting out calcium.
- Ask for a salad instead of chips when eating out.
- Try a low-fat or skim milk hot chocolate for a choccy fix instead of a calorie-laden chocolate bar.
- For a savoury snack, serve up crunchy vegie sticks with low-fat dip like hommus instead of high-fat crisps.
Source: Dietitians Association of Australia spokeswoman Sonya Stanley