Not sure about how to diet, or of the best way to lose and maintain your weight? Well, here are a few do's and don'ts to help you on the road to fitness.
- Eat regularly
Re-fuelling when you are hungry is a good idea, but make sure that you snack on the right things. Good snacks are fruit, vegetable sticks and low fat dips, scones (watch the butter), sandwiches, toast, smoothies and low fat or diet yogurt.
- Take a walk at lunchtime
Just small changes make a big difference over time. Offer to make the coffee at work or wash up, just walking over to the kettle every day for a few weeks counts! Or could even exercise at your desk.
- Go shopping with a list
There is nothing worse than standing in the chocolate aisle with a growling stomach, it makes it all the more tempting to grab foods that are high in fat and sugar. Make sure you do your food shopping with a list — and not when you are hungry too.
- Don’t be conned by marketing
Low fat does not necessarily mean low calorie; many manufacturers lower the amount of fat in dessert foods and increase the amount of sugar to compensate. Make sure you read the labels on food stuffs so you know exactly what you are eating.
- Get support
This is really important if you are to succeed at losing weight in the long-term. Being surrounded by people who will eat the same foods and encourage you along the way is a good idea. Find a ‘buddy’ or someone in your family to boost your morale. This can really help if you are taking up a new exercise regime; it makes backing out much harder to do!
- Watch your portion sizes
Next time you go out, look at the amounts that your friends eat; you may be surprised at how much you consume in comparison to others. It is important to get your meal portions correct so try to eat more fruit, vegetables and starchy foods and less of the protein, dairy products and fatty and sugary foods.
- Set yourself achievable goals
This is important as you have something to aim for and if you make it achievable then you feel good when you reach the goal, rewarding yourself perhaps with a nice hot bath or a night out to the movies.
- Tackle problems and don’t rely on food as a comfort
A large number of us use food as a way of relieving stress and as a way to unwind when we are not even hungry.
- Remember that there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods, only ‘good’ or ‘bad’ diets
This means that you can have treats; it is really important to be able to have what we call ‘flexible restraint’ and pick and choose when you have foods such as chocolate and chips.
- Do monitor your food intake and physical activity
Using a diary or blog to record what you eat and how much you exercise is an excellent start. This helps you to understand where are your ‘danger periods’ on a daily basis, such as in the evenings when you relax in front of the TV. Once you have found out when you are most likely to waver it is easier to find ways to help yourself e.g. going for a walk instead of watching TV or having a bath, reading a book etc.
- Don’t rely on just changing your food intake to lose weight
Research has proven that a combination of both exercise and altered eating habits is the best way to lose and maintain weight loss.
- Think a fad diet will be the answer to your weight issue
This is a sure-fire way to head for the junk food. Many fad diets promise great weight loss but are unbalanced, and only make you crave the foods that it advises against. Life is for living and we should try to have a sensible and realistic approach to weight loss!
- Don't miss breakfast!
A classic way to think you are cutting back is to miss the most important meal of the day. By missing breakfast you are more likely to go for a snack mid-morning and it may not always be a healthy one you reach for!
- Don’t become obsessive about your food intake
If you feel you are permanently on a diet, ask yourself why. There is no point going out for a meal and feeling deprived, think of coping strategies to make such occasions as enjoyable as they should be. Why not cut back the day before you go out for that meal or even the day after?