If you think you have tried every diet there is, and still failed to maintain a healthy eating regime, the following might help you focus on where you are falling down. No more fad diets – now is as good a time as any to overhaul your day-to-day eating habits, and become healthier for life.
1. A healthy diet is a lifestyle change, not an immediate fix.
If you think you can change your diet for a short period of time, drop some pounds, and return to how you used to eat, well, think again. To keep weight off, and to feel your best, changes to your diet should be long term. That’s why weird diets don’t work – how long can you exist on cabbage soup, before gorging out on fatty foods? Balance, balance, balance.
2. Eat as close to normal as possible.
Don’t think you will eat only lentils and lettuce if you never have before. Put time and effort into discovering healthy recipes, using foods you like. That way you are closer to succeeding. Food is to be enjoyed, not endured.
3. Count calories – keep a journal.
You will be surprised at what you learn. You might think you have a healthy diet, but the odd cookie, or soda, really does add up. I’m not suggesting eliminating these things completely from your diet, but by keeping a food journal for a short period of time, you definitely become more conscious of what you are eating, and how frequently. This in turn will help you develop healthier habits.
4. Monitor portion sizes.
This is the most underestimated diet tip. You are not going to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, if you are a chipmunk eating like a lion, now are you? Sure, you might be eating unrefined carbs, or salads, but even healthy foods can build up the calories, if you eat too much of them. Listen to your body, and note when you feel full. Often times this is after less food than we think, but we usually don’t give our stomachs time to catch up with our brain. Eat slowly, enjoy your food, and understand how to recognise signs you are satisfied.
5. Drink plenty of water.
Many people mistake thirst for hunger. Drinking water regularly throughout the day will help take the edge off your appetite, ensure you stay regular, and is good for your complexion. Oh, and its calorie free!
6. Do NOT try and lose weight quickly.
The feeling of satisfaction gained from swift pound loss, is a large price to pay for certain long term failure. If you lose weight quickly, homeostasis, or the bodies ability to regulate itself, kicks in. This function is designed to resist sudden weight loss, and causes a slow down in metabolism if the body starts to lose weight rapidly. Usually sudden weight loss is caused by restricting calorific intake, which is something we cannot sustain. So the minute you revert to your regular diet, BANG!, your now slower metabolism causes weight gain.
7. Don’t stay off the bandwagon, once you have a fall.
I think most people can relate to this. We feel guilt when we break a diet, and then think whats the point of continuing healthy eating, now that you have scoffed that pizza/cake/beer. Tomorrow is another day. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and recognise your dietary blip for exactly that – a mere blip. Then return to your healthy ways! I am a big believer in treating yourself every now and again – otherwise life gets a bit boring, and a controlled break tends to eliminate spontaneous pig outs!!!
8. Exercise, exercise, exercise.
You know it makes sense. It will tone your body, help you feel great, and best of all, burn calories.
9. Do not allow yourself to be dictated by your weighing scales.
If you follow Step 8, you will build muscle. Muscles help to keep our metabolism up, which with a healthy diet, can lead to weight loss. However, muscles weigh more than fat. Therefore, do not be a slave to your weighing scales. If your weight looks to be going upwards, or you are not losing as much as you would expect, you are probably replacing useless fat with very useful muscle. I like to give myself goals, like fitting into a pair of jeans that were a tad too tight, or being able to kiss bingo wings goodbye, rather than simply hitting a figure on my weighing scales.
10. Be realistic.
Its probably taken a few months/years for you to put on weight and feel sluggish about your eating habits. That’s not going to change overnight. Do not throw in the towel, if you do not see immediate results. Remember, you are not partaking in a fad, you are making changes for life.