Diets are often short term (restrictive) solutions whereas healthy habits are with you for the long haul. When you introduce any change it can be tricky at first. You may need to really focus on the new behaviour to make it stick but eventually it will feel like second nature. It diets are the hare then healthy eating habits are the tortoise. You will cross the line and win in the long run and have achieved a new normal pattern of behavior that helps you sustain a healthy weight through the decades.
How much mindless eating do you do? It’s shocking how much food you put into your mouth without really thinking about it. The antidote is to pay attention. Mindful eating is all about creating space to evaluate what is on your plate.
- Eat without distraction. It is important not to watch TV or wander around picking up snacks or eating food from the fridge whilst standing in the kitchen. Sit down with food on your plate at a designated time without catching up on your favourite box set. TV dinners tend to result in more food and mindless snacking will rack up your calorie count without you really noticing.
- Consciously taste your food and chew thoroughly.
- Slow down your eating to determine whether you are full. Your body is about 20 minutes behind your brain in registering fullness so give yourself time to pick up on the signal.
When we find ourselves confronted with unhealthy choices it can be a real strain on your willpower. This becomes much worse in the evening when we experience the issue of decision fatigue. In social situations it doesn’t take much to revert back to old habits (and feel guilty for it later). If you are meeting a friend at the coffee shop already decide what you will have. In a restaurant check the menu beforehand and choose before you arrive. When you plant the seeds ahead of time you are less likely to deviate from the plan in the moment when tempted by an array of unhealthy choices.
Diets can be confusing and often put people off through their testing regime. A good solution is to eat natural foods. If its processed in any way don’t touch it. If it doesn’t look like the original version of the food don’t eat it. Vegetables, fruits, beans and wholefoods are high in fibre and studies show that high fibre foods can help you lose weight and keep it off.
Avoid added sugar
Especially from fizzy drinks, sweets and cakes/biscuits. They are empty calories that do not fill you up and our excess sugar consumption has real links to heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Walk every day
Just 30 minutes a day of walking can have a real impact on our weight loss. Wherever you live simply open the door and walk to the park, shops or around the block.
It prevents purge and splurge and stops your blood sugar dropping too low and causing an impulsive attack on the biscuit tin.
Sometimes we eat when we are thirsty. When we are cutting down on calories water also helps to fill us up and hydrated people are happy people.
Why am I eating?
Every time you feel the urge to eat stop and question your motivation. Accessing ‘your why’ will drastically improve weight loss goals. Are you hungry or bored, upset or tired? Address those issues directly without feeding them with a buttery crumpet. It is your mind that instigates comfort eating so stop and listen to your body.
Ditch the all or nothing thinking. If you know that your daily wine habit is contributing to the expanding midriff, try 2-3 dry days per week. Attempting to abstain completely only to fail and reach for the bottle will quickly put you in that downward spiral. Similarly, if you have a sweet tooth opt for a pudding once a week and enjoy that treat on a Friday night instead of every night.
When you prepare, even the simplest meal you have control over the nutritional value. Healthy, fresh ingredients always taste better and you avoid many of the concealed nasties in processed and packaged foods (this includes so called diet foods). Keep it simple and preparing fresh foods doesn't have to be time consuming.