Are you a chronic dieter? Have you tried every diet going – Dukan, fasting, low-fat, low-carb and everything in between? And yet here you are again, desperate to lose weight. Well, you’re not alone. Before you grab a last cake and embark on yet another punishing regime, read our best diet tips and make this the very last time you feel this way!
Diets are often doomed to failure; we all know the statistic that most people put back on all the weight they lose within two years. But that’s because we think of it as a ‘diet’ – a temporary fix that we endure for a few weeks or months before we get back to ‘normal’ life. Instead, shift your thinking.
This is the start of a new way of life; one that will help you feel healthy, energetic, and full of vitality – while excess pounds gradually fall away.
So, are you ready to begin a new way of eating that will become a habit for life?
1. Eat real food!
Make a resolution – your food will be as natural and as minimally processed as possible. Wasting calories on sugars, refined carbohydrates and processed foods makes us feel sluggish, unsatisfied and will ultimately lead to failure.
Clear out your fridge and cupboards of biscuits, sweets and any ‘diet foods’, and instead fill them with healthy, nutrient-rich foods – vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, chicken. Save any treats for when you are out – make the vast majority of what you eat real foods that will nourish you.
2. Track your food, at least at first
Tracking your food – whether using an online site or an app, or simply writing everything down in a notebook, will make you more ‘mindful’ of what you are eating. It will also help you spot patterns – do you reach for the biscuit tin when you are bored? Do you eat when you are lonely? Train yourself to pick up the phone, a book or a pair of trainers instead.
No-one wants to be tied to either calorie-counting or tracking for ever, but do this for a couple of weeks and you will begin to forge new habits as well as get a much better idea of your personal pitfalls.
3. Protein is important
Protein-rich foods are digested more slowly which helps stop cravings and reduce hunger. Make sure you have a little protein every time you eat – particularly with breakfast, and with any snack.
Think vegetarian proteins such as nuts, seeds and beans, as well as a little dairy, meat and fish. The average woman only needs 45g of protein a day, while the average man needs about 55g – but spreading this out can help both your energy levels and your feeling of satisfaction.
4. Fats make you feel full
Cutting out all fats is not only difficult to stick to; more importantly, it’s extremely unhealthy. Yes, a gram of fat has more calories than a gram of protein or carbohydrate – but fat makes you feel satisfied and stops you bingeing later. Think about including small amounts of healthy fats – oily fish; a salad dressing made of olive oil and lemon juice; a small handful of seeds, a few nuts.
5. Vegetables are your friends
Vegetables are nutrient-dense, but not calorie-dense. You can eat a huge volume of vegetables for very few calories – combine them with protein (think prawn stir-fry for example) and you have a healthy, satisfying dish.
Frozen, ready-prepared vegetables retain their nutrients and are incredibly quick and easy – buy a few bags of different types and keep them in the top drawer of your freezer ready to throw into the pan.
6. Get enough sleep
The hunger hormone ‘ghrelin’ increases if you are tired; your body wants more calories to stay awake, so you crave food, particularly carbohydrates and sugars. That’s why many of my women clients find it so difficult to lose their ‘baby weight’ – broken sleep genuinely does make you hungry. Get an early night, and if possible, schedule in a power nap when you can.
7. Don’t put your life on hold
When it comes to making positive changes – anything from applying for a new job, to starting an exercise class or buying a new dress – it’s tempting to think: ‘I’ll do that when I’m thin’. But doing those things right now will give you the confidence and motivation to carry on with your new, healthy way of life.
So make this the very last time you start yet another diet. Make permanent changes to your eating habits and feel the benefits of renewed energy and vitality within just a couple of days. You will find that you lose that excess weight along the way. For good.