How many weight-loss diets have you actually enjoyed doing? A few? One? My guess is none.
The reason diets are so miserable is that in order to lose weight, we have to keep resisting the foods we want to eat and are used to eating. We can only do this for so long until we finally cave and eat those foods we are supposed to be avoiding. It doesn’t help that the diet industry constantly feeds us misinformation – foods labeled ‘light’, ‘fat-free’, and ‘diet’, that contain a lot of hidden sugar, certainly aren’t weight loss friendly. It is well documented that sugar calories increase fat storage and hunger. But food manufacturers are very clever at disguising it in the ingredients lists (you can read more about that in this very useful article by Hungry For Change).
The more we diet, the more difficult it becomes to lose weight. We become more attracted to food and think about it more often. We need more food to fill us up and we get hungrier more frequently. So not only is dieting miserable, it’s fighting a losing battle too.
Losing weight doesn’t need to be like that! In fact, the only way to make weight loss stay off, is to make small lifestyle changes you can stick to without too much difficulty.
So, on to the meat and veg. Ditch the diet and follow our simple steps for making losing weight less bloody miserable:
Eat REAL food
Always go for whole foods whenever possible. Fancy yogurt? Buy greek yogurt and add some fresh fruit and honey for flavour. It will fill you up for much longer than a low fat, sugary yogurt. You’ll need to eat less of it to feel full and it tastes much better. General rule of thumb is the less ingredients on the package, the better. Learn about the ingredients on food labels so you can spot the nasty stuff and hidden sugar.
Better still, go for the stuff that has no packaging; preparing and cooking your own food is the best way to learn how to properly nourish your body. You know exactly what’s going into it, and will avoid all those havoc reeking nasty ingredients in diet foods.
This applies to snacks too; skip out on the sugary cereal bars and go for nuts, fruit, veg and a bit of dark chocolate.
Hang out with healthy people
The habits of the people we spend time with rub off on us and vice versa. You know those times you’ve been strictly following your diet, then go out with some friends and after some gentle persuasion, say ‘F*** It!’ and fall off the weight loss wagon? Spend as much time as possible with people who have healthy habits and you will naturally adopt some of those habits without even consciously doing it.
Eat a PROPER breakfast
So many of us skip out on breakfast when we’re trying to lose weight. But doing that will completely sabotage our efforts. Always eat breakfast – and we’re not talking about a handful of berries and half a banana! Eating a filling breakfast that includes fat and protein, such as eggs, greek yogurt, or oatmeal made with milk (not water!), will give you a kick-start in the morning and more energy through the day. That means you’re less likely to overeat later in the day! If you don’t have time to make breakfast in the morning, prepare hardboiled eggs or overnight oats the night before.
Alright, you’ve heard it a few million times before but we really can’t overstate this – drink water if you want to lose weight. The feeling of hunger and thirst are very similar and we often confuse them. Avoid overeating by drinking water throughout the day, having a full glass before starting a meal, and sipping throughout meals. If you often forget to drink water, keep a bottle or flask with you all the time so you won’t have to keep getting up to refill a glass. Having a bottle in clear sight and within easy reach will significantly increase the amount you drink without you having to think about it much.
Up your day to day activity
If starting a new exercise regime seems like a mammoth task, aim for upping your day-to-day activity. Here are some examples:
- Set up a timer on your phone to get up from your desk and have a walk around every 30 minutes.
- Walk around while talking on the phone.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Dance in the shower.
- Move about while watching the TV.
Any little bits of extra activity you can get it will add up.
Eat more veggies
Try to eat vegetables with every meal, pile up your plate with them and snack on them throughout the day. Try to make veggies at least half of your dinner and lunch meals. You be fuller and likely to eat less of the heavier stuff. You will also be getting plenty of fibre which is essential for weight loss.
There’s been a lot of talk about mindfulness on the internet in recent years. It really does live up to the hype! When eating a meal, put your phone away, turn off the TV, and tune in to your food. Eat slowly and savour the flavours and textures, putting cutlery down in between mouthfuls, and paying attention to chewing thoroughly. Eating consciously, or mindfully, increases your enjoyment of your meal and it also makes it much easier to gauge when you are full and avoid overeating.
Have a bit of what you fancy
There’s no need to avoid any food completely. If you are following the tips we’ve listed and mostly cut out overly processed foods, you can eat some not-so-healthy foods and still lose weight. In fact, we encourage it because the only way we can maintain a healthy weight is if our lifestyle is sustainable. That means not relying on willpower. Go ahead and have a slice of cake, packet of chips, or English breakfast now and then. Just don’t make it a habit!