If I had a penny for every time I saw a new weight loss trend, I would be a millionaire by now. For someone who has done her fair share of fad diets, it's official, I know all the best ways to NOT lose weight. So I am going to tell you about the healthy and realistic ways to shed those pounds, which don't put your body at serious risk, like a lot of silly diets out there today.
Firstly, aim to lose weight if your BMI is too high- if it's within the healthy range, you are doctor approved, which is exactly where you want to be and your BMI is still a good indictor of this. For those of you who are dipping into the overweight or obese BMI area, then some changes can be made to get you within an approved bracket. Not to frighten you but you are at risk of any of the following if you carry around some extra baggage and I don't mean the emotional kind:
Aches and pains
Type 2 diabetes
High blood pressure
Coronary heart disease
Cancer (endometrial, breast and colon)
And another pearl of wisdom before we begin - forget the celebrities, don't worry about what your friend is eating or what diet your mum's on- focus on you and your needs. We are all different so don't be a diet sheep and tailor your weight loss goals to YOU and your body.
Water- Is your friend. It has no calories and keeps you hydrated, headache free and clear skinned. Try to ditch the fizzy pops that are full of chemicals and lose the copious amounts of fruit juice- it's still sugar at the end of the day. It rots your teeth just the same as other sugar-laden junk can. Just stick to the shrinking juice. Your skin will thank you if it could. You should be aiming for at least 2 litres per day and whenever you go out, order it without thought. No one needs to calorie count their drinks when they have food to worry about.
Snacks- The bottom line is if you eat something sugary as a snack you are going to feel great for a little while and then feel like crap when it wears off. Think of them like little edible hangovers- you might have a good time eating them but you will feel like sleeping afterwards.
Eat things that will sustain your energy levels so you don't crash and burn in the afternoons- hummus and raw veg is a personal favourite of mine and celery with nut butter is another indulgence. Protein and fibre are way better for your body than sugar, fat and empty carbs. Trust me.
Treats- If you eat healthy most of the time, when you have a treat, it tastes so much better. Your palate is cleansed and your taste buds are in overdrive because they aren't coated in chemicals and artificial flavours. Once a week for your favourite treat will make you appreciate it much more and you will be able to taste it better than ever before.
Clean out your pantry- Get rid of everything that's bad for you in your cupboards, you don't need the temptation. If it's there you will inevitably eat it or torture yourself so get it out the house and only stock things that are nourishing for your body. The test is when you go for the fruit over the chocolate- that when you know you've made it!
Pace yourself- It might not come off as fast as when you did the cabbage soup diet and trumped your way out the door every day, but it will happen. It takes time, and the weight you lose will stay off. Any fad diet means you pile the weight back on once you eat normally- if you make your new diet the norm you won't feel the need to binge.
Portions- If you usually eat enough for small army, it's time to get out the side plate and reduce those portions down to what you need and eat until you're full. You are more inclined to eat more than what you need if it's there, even if you are no longer hungry. Start small and give it time to feel the effects of being full - you can always make a second batch if you're starving half an hour later. Trust me, you won't.
Balance your diet- You can split your diet into thirds to make life far more manageable. One third can be bread, rice, pasta, potatoes and other starches and a third fruit and vegetables every day. Your other third is comprised of milk, dairy, fats, sugars, meat, fish, eggs and beans. Basically, lots of fibre will keep you regular. Yes poop talk is on the agenda, because you need to keep your system flowing and fibre carries all that food cleanly and efficiently through your body. If you eat too many refined foods, your digestive system grounds to a halt because it's unnatural and your body needs to think harder about what to do with it.
Exercise- You might not see it on the scales right away as you build muscle but it will tone up those loose and flabby bits from the weight you have lost. And do something that you enjoy or you don't have hope in hell's chance of sticking to it. Simple exercises like walking up the escalator can make a difference, or a class with your mates. If you need support, get them on board - who doesn't need some more movement in their life?!
Think about it- If you are someone who eats when they are stressed angry or upset- take a step back- what else could you be doing right now? Call your friend or your family, write your feelings down in a diary, go and do anything else but eat- do some washing, paint your toe nails, read a book- anything. Chances are the craving will pass once you feel more composed. If not, drink some water as more often than not you're thirsty rather than hungry.
Frequency- How often do you eat? If it's three times a day but huge meals at each meal time- then look at having six smaller meals in a day instead. Start off by splitting your sandwich in two and have some at lunchtime and some in the afternoon. Or have your cereal in two halves throughout the morning. Or eat some of your evening meal when you get in and then some later on. Once you get into the routine, mix it up. This will keep your energy levels stable and you won't go hungry in-between meals.
These are our basic starting stone tips. We have even more so if you're looking to lose weight, visit our HealthClinic for help.