Ask any woman about the number of diets she has tried in her life and the number will probably be close to, or even in, double figures. Part of the problem is our understanding of the word ‘diet’. Study after study has shown that diets simply don’t work. In fact, they may even increase your chances of weight gain because fad diets are often deficient in nutrients you need for sustained weight loss, so as soon as you eat normally again the weight piles back on.
You want to aim for a way of eating that becomes a way of life, rather than thinking of a ‘diet’. A healthy diet contains all the nutrients you need to burn fat and lose weight. However, in addition to eating a healthy diet there is another vital component for successful weight loss and that is the right mindset.
An increasing number of experts, myself included, are beginning to see that what you believe is just as important as what you eat. In other words, staying slim is in the mind. So, if you are sick of dieting my advice is simple. Stop dieting, start eating healthily, get regular exercise and try the following ‘think thin’ techniques:
1) Visualise yourself as a slim person
Create a picture in your mind of what you will look and feel like when you are at your ideal weight and imagine that vision as often as you can. Tell yourself that you do have the motivation to eat healthily and to exercise every day.
2) Know your hunger
There are a number of different types of hunger, but only a few of them actually need food.
Real hunger: If you haven’t eaten for three to four hours choose a delicious, healthy snack or meal and enjoy. To keep your metabolism (fat burning) high, eating every three to four hours is essential.
Dehydration: If you haven’t drunk enough water or have only drunk tea or coffee during the day you will be dehydrated. Many of us misinterpret dehydration with hunger pangs, but all we really need to do is drink more fluids during the day.
Low blood sugar: If you eat a lot of sugar and refined foods your blood sugar levels will drop and when they drop you will feel tired and in need of a pick me up. This isn’t real hunger though; it is low blood sugar hunger. To avoid this cut down on sugar, refined foods and stimulants like coffee, which also send blood sugar levels soaring and then crashing. Eat fresh whole foods, nuts, seeds, fruits, legumes, and vegetables instead, to steady your blood sugar.
Adjustment hunger: You ate about ten minutes ago but still feel hungry and want to load your plate with seconds or a large dessert. Wait for another ten minutes before eating more as it takes around 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full and have had enough to eat.
Emotional hunger: Many of us turn to food for comfort when we feel angry, upset or anxious, but food is never the answer. Try to write in a diary or sit through the emotion instead and remind yourself that you always feel worse after a binge.
3) Observe yourself
When you find yourself craving food when you aren’t really hungry remind yourself that you don’t really need food right now, but when you do you can have something nutritious and it will taste great. Separate yourself from your hunger. This will help you see that you are in charge – and not your need for comfort food. Tell yourself that you are not depriving yourself you are simply changing your behaviour to get the body you want. Accept that changing patterns of behaviour isn’t easy but necessary if you want to lose weight.
4) Banish food bans
Don’t cut out any type of food from your diet – if you do that you admit that it has control or authority over you and not you over it. Stop thinking about food in terms of good or bad; there is no such thing as bad food only food that you need to make sure you don’t eat too much of. Besides, the more forbidden a food is, the more likely you are to crave it.
5) Practise real comfort eating
If you feel tired or run down or really want to eat something, give yourself permission to eat as much as you want. Go out and buy the very best and then sit down and eat slowly. Pause after each mouthful and really savour the food. The more you do this, the more you will realise that you are the one in charge, not the food you are eating.
6) Take pride in yourself
Think about all your other life achievements and give yourself a pat on the back. This will help you see that saying that you’re just not disciplined enough to eat healthily simply isn’t true.
7) Keep a sense of balance
Don’t workout in the gym for hours or cut down on calories in an attempt to shift weight. If you do this your body will go into famine mode and your metabolism (fat burning) will slow down making weight gain more likely. If you keep a balance like this you will stop thinking of food as the enemy and the gym as a chore. Instead, you will think of food as something not only to enjoy but as a way to encourage weight loss – because it keeps your metabolism ticking over, and exercise as time out for you to recharge your body and your mind.
8) Boost your eating and exercise self-esteem
Instead of feeling that you will never be able to eat healthily and exercise regularly, tell yourself that you are the kind of person who doesn’t want or need to snack on junk foods. If you do have the odd moment of weakness, lose the guilt and just enjoy. Remember enjoyment is essential for any healthy eating plan.
If you would like to explore whether a consultation with an expert nutritionist at the Glenville Nutrition Clinic could help you, please contact us on 01892 515 905 or send us an email at email@example.com