The problem with most diets is they are too complicated or too boring to stick to. The result is a series of failed diets. You have probably experienced it, you start a new diet, and you probably have some success. But then you start to feel continuously deprived, or you go out with friends and break the diet or you just get plain fed up with counting every calorie you eat. Before you know it you are off the diet and piling the pounds back on and then some.
The answer to this universal problem is to forget diets completely. Cutting back on the amount you eat is not complicated and by incorporating a new healthy style of eating into your life you could soon be shedding that weight without making food an unbeatable demon.
Here are ten healthy food choice tips that will get you well on your way
1. Hydration. The very first thing you must do is to make sure you are well hydrated. By far the majority of the population are continually slightly dehydrated. Your body has great difficulty distinguishing hunger and thirst, so if you are beginning to feel like eating try drinking a glass of water and waiting at least half an hour. Water will also make your body work more efficiently, flushing away toxins and leaving you feeling energised.
2. Fiber. Fiber is such an effective weight loss aid that a whole diet plan was built around it in the early 1980’s. The F Plan is still a popular diet today, but you don’t need to follow that diet rigidly. Simply in crease the amount of fiber you eat. Make sure you eat both soluble (oats, vegetables) and insoluble (whole grains, brown rice) fibers to get the full benefits. Both will keep your digestive system working well and leave you feeling fuller for longer and soluble fibre will absorb unhealthy fats and remove them from your body.
3. Protein As you start to reduce the amount your eat make sure you maintain good levels of protein. Without protein you body could start using your muscles as a source of food. This will mean poor muscle tone and as muscle burns calories this can lead to lower metabolic rate and slower fat burn. Eat plenty of good proteins in the form of lean white meat, low fat dairy produce, eggs and beans/pulses.
4. Frequent Meals. If you eat smaller meals but have them more frequently you will keep burning fat for longer. Your body sees frequent meals as a sign that there is plenty of food, if you miss meals or leave long intervals between eating your body sees this as a sign of famine and starts to store fat.
5. Portion Size. This is the simplest way to reduce the amount you eat. Notice what you currently eat, and then gradually start to reduce your portions. Cut from 3 potatoes to two, Restrict your chocolate bars to the weekend, reduce the sugar in your tea. If you do most of these things gradually you will easily adapt to the changes without feeling deprived.
6. Healthy Choices. You don’t need to be a dietician to know which foods are good for you and which are indulgent treats to be enjoyed occasionally. By switching to healthier choices you can cut hundreds of calories form your daily diet.
7. Healthy Fats. Yes there are healthy fats, really. Many animal derived fats are not very healthy so cut back on fatty meats and full fat dairy products. But fats and oils from fish and nuts/seeds are vital for healthy cell function and they are also great for the brain. Make sure you are getting plenty of the omega oils which you will find in oily fish and flax seeds
8. Read Labels. Ideally you should be making your meals from fresh healthy fruit and vegetables but modern life is busy so we turn to convenience foods. It is absolutely vital you read the labels before you buy. Very often manufacturers will pack food with one unhealthy ingredient so they can advertise it as free from another. If the food is proclaimed “fat free”, check the sugar content. Check for high levels of saturated fat or hidden ingredients.
9. Whole Foods. Wherever you can, go for fresh ingredients that are high in fibre and low in sugar. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Choose wholemeal products rather than processed white breads and grain.
10. Be aware of what you are eating, it may help to keep a food diary for a week and record everything. You will be surprised at how much you may be eating without registering it. Those chocolates you eat as you pass the box, the piece of cheese you eat as you are cooking. Calories count even if they don’t come off your plate!
Start making healthy choices by following these tips and you may not need to put yourself on a complicated and boring diet. Remember you will also have to raise yor level of activity to burn those calories.