Whilst it’s great to keep an eye on one’s health, there’s a lot of pitfalls you can fall into with all the conflicting information floating around about dieting and fitness these days. We’ve put together some proven ideas about how to diet sensibly that will make the journey to your ideal weight that much easier.
1. Pick The Right Diet
There’s a wealth of diets out there, and you need to find the right one for you. The Keto diet, for example, promises fast weight loss by eliminating carbs, but if you have a physically demanding profession or are a heavy gym-goer then such a diet will work against you. Do some research and see what fits you the best.
2. Go Gently
If dieting is making you miserable then chances are you’re not doing it right. Healthy eating habits should be something we’re aiming to keep for the long term. Crash diets can easily lead to burnout and disheartenment. Even if you do reach your ideal weight, these diets can be so extreme that you’ll eventually just put the weight back on. Take things easy and make little changes where you can.
3. Pick Your Fats
All fats were not created equal. The saturated fats you find in processed foods are much more dangerous than their polyunsaturated equivalents like coconut and olive oil. Try and cook with healthy fats whenever possible, as fats themselves are not inimical to a healthy diet.
4. Avoid Processed Foods
This is good sense, regardless of the diet you’re pursuing. The further ingredients are removed from their original state, the further their shorn of their innate nutrition. Try not to buy products with more than five ingredients where possible.
5. Eat Whole
Following on from our last point, try and eat whole foods wherever possible. They tend to be much healthier, more filling and even have a better carbon footprint than processed goods. Though with today’s hectic pace of life it can be tempting to pick the quick-and-easy option, the nutritional benefits of convenience foods are often dubious.
6. Dump The Soda
One of the easiest ways to cut your calorie intake is to drop soda: it’s loaded with sugar and has zero nutritional benefit. Even juices are a questionable choice given their high sugar content. Better to eat the actual fruits themselves.
7. Drink Water
It’s cheap, it’s everywhere and it may actually be filling: often our hunger pangs can be thirst misinterpreted. Try and have at least a pint of water with every meal and carry a refillable bottle with you when out and about.
8. Cut The Booze
Alcohol can be tremendously calorific, beers and ales being the worst offenders. People can often be more likely to indulge in junk food when inebriated. As with all things, moderation and good sense are the key.
9. Snack Wisely
Snacking can have its place in a healthy diet. Just avoid the junk food and try a handful of unsalted nuts with some dried cranberries or raisins. Just make sure to exercise portion control.
This one’s a bit of a no-brainer, but exercise will help you feel proactive about your weight loss. Did you know that larger muscle mass burns calories to maintain itself even when you’re lying on the sofa? Find a routine that works for you, whether it’s a sport, weightlifting or a jog around the block.
11. Stay Active
Try an incorporate physical activity into your routine where possible. If you can learn to walk or cycle to places you’ll find yourself burning calories without even thinking about it.
12. Get Carb-Savvy
Whenever you eat carbs consider their glycemic index rating. The lower the rating, the longer your body takes to digest them and the fuller you feel. Ditch the white bread and stick with brown rice, quinoa and sweet potato instead.
13. Plan Ahead
Formulating meal plans can help structure your diet and keep temptation at bay. Pack a nutritious lunch to have on the go, or, even better, take one evening to cook nutritionally balanced meals for the week ahead so a healthy meal is always at hand.
14. Control Portions
If you can get used to smaller portions you can eat more of the sorts of foods you want. A neat trick is using smaller plates to serve yourself food on: it might sound silly but these small changes can have a psychological impact on your dieting.
15. More Meals, Smaller Meals
If dieting is proving hard, try having five or six small meals instead of three main ones. As long as you’re not eating a greater volume of food, this can keep hunger at bay and keep you from over-snacking.
16. Eat Leafy
Fruits and veggies are a real crutch when it comes to dieting. Greens like kale, spinach and broccoli can be eaten as much as you like. As well as being super foods they can also help boost your metabolism to help with calorie burning. Fruits are great too but watch your sugar intake.
17. Stay Interested
It’s easy to get into a rut when dieting, so use this opportunity to try some dishes you wouldn’t normally consider. Check out unusual produce for sale in your local market to keep things interesting in the kitchen.
18. Don’t Stress Mistakes
If you lapse in your dieting, it’s not the end of the world. Healthy eating should be a long-term endeavor and there’s bound to be some bumps along the way. Don’t get disheartened, and remember tomorrow’s another day.
19. Watch Out For Fad Diets
A lot of diets offer instant results but can actually lead to bad health. Fasting is not natural and can’t be sustained. Carb free diets might say you can have as much fat as you like but that’ll just lead to clogged arteries and high blood pressure. Look for diets that are reasonable and make sense to you.
20. Dress Around Your Weight
Just because you’re not at your ideal weight doesn’t mean you can’t look great. Find out what looks good on your body type and go with it. If you’re looking to cover a little extra belly weight, try wearing clothes a couple of sizes up that’ll fall on your frame more loosely. Layers can also be a great trick to make you look smaller. Think about what parts of your body your proudest of and dress to emphasise them.