Yep… we said it! Diets for weight loss do not work. Here’s why.
Ok, so you may lose weight at first, but a whopping 95% of people regain the lost weight within 1-5 years. What’s more, highly restrictive diets can cause the body to slow your metabolism, not only making weight loss more difficult, but causing you to regain more weight when you stop the diet.
Since diets are, by nature, unsustainable long-term, that lost weight will be regained.
Additionally, fad diets can be harmful if they restrict essential nutrients and can lead to deficiencies, not to mention that they teach us nothing about healthy eating or long-term weight-loss success.
And finally, dieting is miserable and boring! Why take the joy out of food?!
Now that we’ve established that diets don’t work (and they’re boring!), what do we do for weight loss?! The good news is that anyone can achieve a long-term, sustainable healthy weight with the right tools and encouragement.
Here are a few tips.
1. Eat mindfully
Savour…enjoy… eat slowly. Turn off the TV and put your phone away. The key to eating mindfully is to be conscious of every mouthful, pay attention, think about the flavours and textures, and stop when you are full. Put your fork down between mouthfuls and chew slowly giving your stomach chance to signal to your brain that it’s full.
2. Eat what you like!
Don’t deprive yourself of the foods you love, it will only lead to binge-diet cycles. Eat what you like – but in moderation (groan!). The thing is, when you are eating a balanced and varied, healthy, diet you can absolutely afford to eat the not-so-healthy foods you love too.
3. Downsize your portions
Check out recommended portion sizes and weigh your food – it’s incredibly difficult to judge portion sizes by looking and estimating. After time you’ll have enough of an idea of what the portion sizes look like and can start to judge by eye. Serve up a smaller portion than you think you’ll eat, then eat mindfully and if you are still hungry 10 minutes after finishing, you can go in for seconds!
Another clever trick is to serve up your food on a smaller plate, the same portion will look larger than on a bigger plate and trick your mind into thinking it’s more food than it actually is. It works!
Finally, when eating at restaurants, ask for a side plate and divide half of your meal onto that plate. Follow the steps for mindful eating then only top up from your side plate if you are really still hungry. If you are worried about the temptation of having the second plate there, ask your waiter to remove it.
4. Don’t skip meals
Especially breakfast. Skipping meals will lead to binges later in the day, not to mention make you feel tired and agitated. High-protein breakfast’s like Eggs, greek yogurt, or oatmeal made with milk, keep you fuller for longer than carb-dense breakfasts like toast or cereal.
5. Dear diary…
Keeping a journal lets you monitor your progress and also helps you keep a track of those snacks that tend to sneak in. Snacks are important, but they can add up quickly if you don’t track them.
6. Be kind to yourself
Slip-ups aren’t the end of the world, don’t dwell on them too much. In fact, mistakes are an important part of the learning process, even when it comes to losing weight and being healthy, they help you to keep tabs on what does and doesn’t work and adjust our weight-loss strategy. Embrace mistakes now and then, we are only human after all!
7. Lean on me
Surround yourself with people who are supportive and encouraging. Join an online community, or buddy up with a friend or colleague who shares your goal. Praise an encouragement help to keep you motivated, but also provide accountability if you feel tempted to jump ship!
8. Easy does it…
Remember, the only way to lose that excess weight and keep it off long-term, is by making lifestyle changes. Increase your chances of success by taking it one step at a time. Don’t try to change everything overnight, it won’t happen and will just create stress. Decide on your ultimate goal (I want to be within my healthy BMI range, I want to run a marathon in 5 years, etc.) then set your self small, achievable goals that will help you get there:
I will not skip breakfast this week.
I will cycle to work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
I will eat green vegetables with every evening meal this week.
9. Stay positive
Keep your goal in mind and remember your motives. Enjoy the process, you’re giving yourself a great gift! It won’t be long before those new changes become habits and you will be losing weight and feeling fantastic. Praise yourself often, it’s not easy to make lifestyle changes but if you focus on your good qualities rather than dwelling on the bit you don’t like so much, you will have the right mindset for success.