We tend to use the word diet in association with a certain title such as the Slim Fast, Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Atkins the list is endless. The fact of the matter is that we eat is a diet. The food we eat is a diet, whether you eat chocolate and crisps every day or whether you munch on a lettuce leaf or just sat in the middle and eat a mixture of both. Whatever it is it’s a diet. So, when someone says they are going on a diet what they mean is they are changing their current eating pattern in favour of a different one. This is how the dictionary describes a diet.
‘diet’ – noun
noun: diet; plural noun: diets the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. The activities, past times, etc in which a person or group habitually engages, a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.
Reasons to avoid fad diets
Many diets, especially crash diets, are geared to dramatically reducing the number of calories you consume. They can make you feel very unwell and unable to function properly, because they are nutritionally unbalanced, crash diets can lead to long term poor health. Its best to have a look at reducing your calories without reducing you nutrients that your body needs. For a female you would need to reduce your calorie intake to around 1200 where for a man its is 1500, apps like MyFitness Pal are a great help to keep you on track and to check all the nutrients you are having.
Low-carb diets may be low in carbs but chances are high in fat. Carbohydrates speed up your metabolism and burn more calories, the less carbohydrates you have the slower your metabolism will be. Some diets, such as the Atkins diet, are very low in carbohydrates (for example, pasta, bread and rice), which are also a very important source of energy. While you may lose weight on these types of diets, they’re often high in protein and fat. This can make you ill. Low carbohydrate diets can also cause side effects such as bad breath, headaches and constipation. The high protein content in the diet dampens the appetite and feelings of hunger but to much protein can turn into fat. these diets allow you to eat foods high in saturated fat, such as butter, cheese and meat. Too much saturated fat can raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Detox diets are based on the idea that toxins build up in the body and can be removed by eating, or not eating, certain things. However, there’s no evidence that toxins build up in our bodies. If they did, we would feel very ill. Detox diets may lead to weight loss because they involve restricting calories, cutting out certain foods altogether, such as wheat or dairy, and eating a very limited range of foods. Detox diets do not work, they are, in effect, a form of modified fasting. Which is not good for the mind, body or soul.
Cabbage soup, blood group, the 5:2 diet and other fad diets are often far-fetched
Some fad diets are based on eating a single food or meal, such as cabbage soup or raw foods. Others make far-fetched claims, such as encouraging people to cut out certain foods from their diet based on their blood type. Intermittent fasting, which includes the increasingly popular 5:2 diet, is a pattern of eating where you eat normally five days a week and fast on the other two days. Fans of the 5:2 diet say it can help you live longer and protect you against disease. Often there is little or no evidence to back up these claims, and it can be difficult to keep to in the long term.
If followed over long periods, these diets can be very unbalanced and bad for your health, you may lose weight in the short term, but it’s much better to lose weight gradually and to be healthy. The best way to lose weight is to get yourself a bit of a healthier lifestyle.
Plan Your Meals
Planning meals ahead of time is one of the easiest things you can do to set yourself up for success. It not only curbs the last-minute pizza delivery and fast food drive thru but will also help you save time, calories and money. It might even inspire you to introduce new meals into your daily routine. When we talk about preparing meals a lot of people feel they don’t have the time to do this. But preparing a meal is just as quick and easy as any other meal and while one meal is cooking you can prep yourself a meal for the following day, it is all about habits and getting yourself out of the bad habits of just throwing a pizza in the over or ordering one to for the next day is easy. For example: when doing your food shop make sure you have prepared a list of what you want before you go or have it beside you when you are ordering online to get it delivered, so that when you get your shopping it does two important things, first it means you will only buy what you want and it will stop you from getting side tracked down the aisles of the confectionery. I am not saying you can’t have the odd bar of chocolate or the odd packet of crisps but if you avoid buying them on the shopping then you won’t be tempted by them when you are at home.
Practice Mindful Eating
Multitasking while eating, munching in front of the TV, snacking while writing emails or constant “sampling” while cooking makes it a challenge to be aware of what you’re putting in your body. Mindful eating is being aware of the taste, texture, smell and your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Knowing your cues as you can feel hungry when you are dehydrated and instead of it being food that you need you will find it is a drink. It is important not to confuse hunger for dehydration if you feel like a snack, try having a drink first, such as a glass of water or cup of tea. Often, we think we’re hungry when really, we’re thirsty. Swapping drinks high in calories for lower calorie alternatives that means drinks that are lower in fat, sugars and alcohol. Swap a sugary fizzy drink for sparkling water with a slice of lemon. Don’t forget that alcohol is high in calories, so cutting down on alcohol can help you control your weight. Mastering the art of patience and mindfulness is the secret to losing weight for good and keeping it off.
Burn Those Calories (Exercise)
Reducing how many calories you eat is the best way to lose weight as well as burning more calories through exercise. Just simple changes can make the difference, changing a short drive to a walk maybe, book up a fitness class maybe even try a short workout at home You Tube is great to have a look at. These are great places to start, regular exercise can boost metabolism, making a calorie deficit easier. You may be surprised, but the simple changes can be enough to lose weight and get in shape.
If you’re trying to set yourself up for success, keeping treats such as crisps, chocolate and biscuits around isn’t doing you any favours. So, have a look at what we discussed in planning your meals. I always think if you have got to go out and get your treat you are more than lightly not to going to get it. Give your kitchen cupboards and fridge a little makeover to stay on track with your goals. Remove that temptation. Something that is a good idea and what I do on the day that I get my food shopping I will prep salad, just simply cut up my cucumber, wash and shred my lettice. Tomato’s I tend to leave because it is just easy enough to throw them in a salad uncut. I will put them all in different clippie boxes in my fridge so that it makes it easy to put a salad together you just need to throw other ingrediencies into a box with the salad for example: Tuna, Pasta, chicken etc.
Keep a food diary
A common strategy for losing weight is to monitor your food and beverage intake in a diary, wearable tracker or phone app. Listing your foods can be beneficial for more than weight loss it’s also a common tool used to identify food allergies and gastrointestinal problems, missing food groups and lack of nutrients. When writing a diary, tell the truth. If you want to reap the benefits of a food diary, make sure it is a real reflection of what and how much you’ve consumed. A great food diary app is My Fitness Pal, this app gives you the opportunity to scan the barcode of the food and it is simple enough to just get a set of scales pop on them item on and weigh them or if it’s the whole packets. It also breaks down your intake of all the vitamins which is great to know, it will alert you to anything that you are deficient in.
How food is cooked can make a big difference in your calorie intake whether it is fried, boiled, baked or steamed also it is the extra condiments, garnishes, sauces and sweeteners that make the difference when choosing food on the meal deal section of a super market what looks like a great choice may turn out not to be due to the sauce or extras it has on it, for example a salad may look like a good choice but if it covered in mayonnaise then it may not be the greats of choices. Make sure you look at the contents before you buy.
Some simple changes.
You can reduce the amount of fat you eat by trimming the fat off meat and grilling food that can be grilled such as bacon and substitute that fried egg for poached or scrambled. Drinking skimmed or semi-skimmed milk instead of full fat, also choose the reduced or low-fat spread, and replace cream with low-fat yoghurt. Wholegrain foods, such as wholemeal bread, brown rice and pasta. They’re digested more slowly than the white varieties, so will help you feel full for longer. Don’t skip breakfast, breakfast will give you the energy you need to start the day. Try eating at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day.
Stop Eating After Dinner
Late night eating is usually high calorie, large portions or snack eaten mindlessly out of enjoyment to unwind from the stress of the day. It’s a recipe for weight gain and disaster. When your evening meal is done, draw a line under that as that is the days food intake done for the day, because what happens is you will snack after dinner and when you have done it once you will do it again and then before you know it, it then will become a habit, it is these habits we are trying to break
Consider Non-Scale Victories
Your weight is determined by a variety of factors, including hydration, climate, when you last ate, bathroom habits and exercise. In other words, weight fluctuation is common, so if you spend your time jumping on the scales every 5 minutes you will see it fluctuate. This is why scales are classed as the sad step because you become obsessed with what they say. Focus on other number crunching like how far you have walked, how many steps you have done, how quick you walked round the block compared to when you last did it. This is positive number crunching and one that athletes thrive on. Its call your PB (Personal Best) everyone has one and something everyone is driven by beating it so give it go.
Set Tangible Goals
Photos are my favourite method for tracking progress. You can compare the photos side by side to really see the changes. Choose a spot in your home and each time you take a photo use the same spot, make sure you’re wearing a similar outfit, standing at the same distance from the camera, using the same lighting and setting the camera at the same angle. Measurements can also be done use on any area of the body. The most common spots are calves, thighs, hips, waist, shoulders and arms. Measure every two weeks and keep a log. With this method you will see that you are losing the weight. Whether it’s photo’s or measurements, try to record progress every two to three weeks, every week you won’t see much of a change.
Keep It Real
A goal should be something challenging yet attainable and quantifiable. A solid goal provides us with an endpoint and helps us develop a plan to get there and when you get there you have a great sense of achievement and it inspires you for the next challenge. Without a solid goal and plan, it’s like you’re hopping in your car and expecting to somehow reach your destination. The thing is this is a lifestyle change that should fit into your everyday life, that will change from day to day. If you tell yourself that you’re on a diet and that you can’t eat certain foods the first thing you will want to do is eat it.
Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep is undervalued. Getting enough quality sleep is holistically tied to your health and weight loss goals. Sleep offers our bodies a chance at restoration and rejuvenation. When we’re sleep deprived, we tend to eat more, exercise less and make poor food choices. Make sure you drink plenty and well as eat healthy as well as giving your mind, body and soul a chance to wind down. When you have mastered all of that you can reek the rewards.
If You Slip Up
It’s ok to have a treat, but in moderation, the fact is if you take away all the pleasures in life then what are you left with. It is important to know that you’re not restricting your diet you are changing it for the better. So, what if you have a treat every now and again it just needs to be in moderation, and not over excessive. So instead of having a big slice of cake have a small one, instead a big glass of wine have a normal size glass. When you are ordering food and they ask you if you want to go big just say no thank you. It’s the same with crisps and chocolate, why have a big bag of crisps have just a normal bag, it’s the same with chocolate why have the big bar that’s £1 when you can have a smaller bar. You get the idea.
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Many Thanks and Stay Safe