Darren Liddy, 27, has come a long way since 2011 when he embarked on a journey to lose over 7 stone.

He says: ‘Generally I eat healthy, but I seem to be stuck in a rut as far as losing weight/body fat is concerned.

At the minute I weigh 227lbs, I want to get down to at least 200lbs. But I can’t shift my last 27lbs. I’ve been on my own fitness journey for a year now, I started at 294lbs and as proud as I am of what I’ve achieved so far, I’m still not happy. I need to achieve my goal of being 200lbs so I can focus on getting the body of my dreams.’

We’ve asked expert nutritionist Robert Hodson from Nutrition Expert to help Darren reach his goal.

My first thing to say to you would be, don’t lose heart! You have already lost 67lbs which is a fantastic achievement. I know it can be frustrating, but weight loss plateaus are normal and do happen, however diligent you are with your eating & exercise regime. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t things that you can do to help kick start the weight loss once again.

You’ve provided me with your current weight, but I wonder whether you have had your body fat % measured? If you haven’t, I highly recommend you do, as measuring and keeping a record of this will give you a much better indicator of how you’re doing. Simply monitoring your weight does not differentiate between changes in fat, muscle and water. If you are exercising regularly you are likely to be building muscle mass, and as muscle weighs more than fat, you could be burning fat but this not always registering on the scales.

As you lose weight, not only does it become naturally harder to lose, but your metabolism slows down too. Because of this, your daily calorie requirements become lower, so this may be a good time to revisit your portion sizes. I would recommend switching from having 3 large meals a day, to 6 smaller meals. If this seems time-consuming, one idea may be to make your lunch as usual (for example), and split it into 2 portions. Regular eating will keep your metabolism fired up, and it will also make it easier to control your portion sizes and prevent overeating, as you will never be eating when you are really hungry. It is also important that you take time over your meals. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to start to tell the brain that it’s full, so by chewing slowly and pausing between mouthfuls you will become much more in tune with your bodies hunger signals.

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Your current diet looks well balanced, and it’s great that you are getting a good source of protein into dinner every day in the form of fish or meat. Protein is great for satiety (it keeps you full up!) and it also promotes lean muscle tissue, which is beneficial for fat burning. It would be great if you could boost your breakfast with a bit more protein, and here are a few ideas of how to do this:

  • Top your porridge with nuts and seeds (such as almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds)
  • Have an egg-based breakfast e.g. 2 poached eggs on a slice of wholemeal toast or a mushroom omelette
  • Treat yourself to a cooked breakfast at weekends- 2 eggs (scrambled or poached), 2 slices of bacon, grilled mushrooms and tomatoes

For lunches, make sure that your salad or sandwich (always choose wholegrain bread!) includes a good source of protein in the form of lean meat, fish, eggs, beans or pulses. You can also mix this up a bit by opting for a chunky soup- most supermarkets and coffee shops do good options now. Be wary of low-fat yoghurts as they often replace the fat with added sugars (this tends to be the case with many low-fat products).

The healthier option is to opt for natural full-fat probiotic yoghurt, with some fresh fruit.

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At dinner, fill up on vegetables (particularly the green, leafy ones- broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kale) – these should always take up at least half your plate. Try switching your potatoes for sweet potatoes, and try quinoa as a high-protein alternative to rice. Finally, good luck, and keep us posted!

Robert Hobson is a registered nutritionist and qualified trainer for the Royal Society of Public Health. He’s over 15 years experience in consulting people or organisations in food and nutrition. He has a BSc in Human Nutrition as well as an MSc in Public Health Nutrition. He used to work for the NHS promoting healthy eating and has specialised in helping government organisations meet nutritional standards and legislation.

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