4 Simple Steps to Regain Control of Your Diet
It is that time of year again, the holidays are a distant memory, the kids are all back at school and dare I say it Christmas is fast approaching!! Yes, I did just mention the C word. As wonderful as the summer months are, it becomes more challenging to stay focused on your diet and exercise regime. We all naturally thrive with good routines and habits. I know I am far more efficient when I’m busy and have some proper structure in my day, as the saying goes “If you want something done ask a busy person”
I try very hard to live a healthy balanced lifestyle. I eat well and exercise daily. However, if I am perfectly honest the holidays have taken their toll on me. I enjoyed a few extra glasses of wine, my food choices were not always perfect and fitting in plenty of exercise was tricky. I knew this was not a long-term issue for me and as soon as I felt ready to get back into my routine I would bounce back quickly because for me I much prefer how I feel on the inside when I’m in control of my diet and lifestyle.
Regaining control for me is not about jumping on the new latest food fad, chugging down carrot juice, meal replacements and food supplements in the hope I drop a dress size in three days, because lets be honest we have all been there and know it doesn’t work! It doesn’t have to be so drastic……
I want to share 4 steps with you on how I get focused in the hope it inspires you to regain control and start to feel more energised, motivated and generally healthier while dropping a few pounds along the way.
Don’t set yourself unrealistic weight loss goals. Be honest with yourself based on previous weight loss attempts. Set yourself short, medium and long-term goals. These goals don’t need to be focused purely on the dream number on the dreaded scales. For example, your short-term goal could simply be to eat a healthy breakfast every day, medium goal, to drop a dress size in 6 weeks and long-term goal to run your first 10k in 12 weeks. Research shows that those who write down their goals in a meaningful way increase their chances of achieving them by 30%, this can increase your success ratio by 60%.
So, get planning and smash those goals!
GO BACK TO BASICS
We have all been there, it is Monday and we have started our ‘diet’ once again! This process normally starts with massively reducing calories, fat intake and signing up to every exercise class possible only to crash and burn within a week. This is due to complete exhaustion, boredom at lack of food choices which ultimately zaps your motivation and makes you give up altogether. Going full throttle like this is so common and is one of the reasons many people have such negative feelings associated with healthy eating and being active because they have failed time and time again.
I recommend rather than making massive changes and going full steam ahead, you make simple easy achievable changes that will make a big impact with minimal effort.
- Drink 2 litres of water a day Hydrate to Lose Weight
- Load your plate with greens
- Consume good lean sources of protein at every meal
- Exercise daily
- Swap the afternoon biscuit for a piece of fruit
- Get some early nights
DON’T OVER RESTRICT
The biggest reason we all fail or give up is we restrict ourselves too much. I’m not saying its ok to carry on eating whatever you like, whenever you like. It is all about balance, 80% good 20% naughty! This can be spread out over the week or saved up for a cheeky curry on a Saturday night, whatever floats your boat. My 20% is a big juicy pizza and a bottle of red!
Too many people in society are tipping the scale in the opposite direction. If you give yourself that treat, own it, enjoy it and commit to making your next food choice as healthy as possible. Don’t let one treat derail your entire weight loss plan, it does not have to be like that. Research shows that banning your favourite treat can cause guilt eating which leads to binging and ultimately more weight gain in the long run. Enjoyment around your food and food choices is essential to lasting weight loss. This strategy is scientifically known as “flexible control.”
Life is too short to never eat cake again!
Lastly – DESTRESS AND MAKE TIME FOR YOU
We all have responsibilities and in this day and age we just don’t stop. We often put our own health and wellbeing at the bottom of our massive to do list, if it even makes an appearance on the it’s at all. Stress is associated with higher cortisol levels, suppressed immune function, decreased sleep, increased consumption of comfort foods, high blood pressure, higher BMI all of these are a massive risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is important when undertaking any changes in our diet and lifestyle to look at all associated factors. Managing stress levels and reducing triggers to ‘self-medicate’ by using foods as a pacifier. Here are some simple tips to reduce stress.
- Undertake some moderate exercise for example go for a brisk walk, do some yoga or take up palates.
- Try undertaking some kind of resistance training which will help burn fat and any fatty acids that are released during times of stress. Increasing the levels of serotonin will also help improve mood and help you relax.
- Sleep is so important you must aim for a minimum of 8 hours per night, a good night’s sleep reduces cortisol levels, boosts the growth hormone which helps burn fat. If that’s not a reason to hit the sack early every night I don’t know what is.!!
- Keep a diary of your emotions, this will help you establish triggers that may result in over eating. Writing down your emotions also helps you release negative feelings while distracting you from your temptations. Getting a good understanding of your behaviours and triggers associated with emotional eating will help you gain some self-control.
As you can see from the above it isn’t just as simple as watching what you eat to lose weight, there are many other factors that come into play. The next time you start a diet remember the steps I have suggested and don’t be so hard on yourself.