You’ve all been there. You look in the mirror and sigh, try to pull on a pair of jeans or skirt you haven’t worn for a while and mysteriously can’t get the zip done up no matter how hard you tug. “That’s it, I’m going on a diet” you say. On a Diet, those three words sum up the problem with diets and the reason they just don’t, won’t, can’t work….not in the long term anyway. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Atkins, the Cabbage Soup or the Caveman diet, ultimately they will fail and you will gain back any weight you lost. Why? Well because the whole phrase going on a diet implies that at some point you will come OFF of that diet, and what happens then? Inevitably the bad habits come back and the weight starts to creep back on.
Also the whole psychology behind dieting creates a negative mindset. It’s all about denial. Denying yourself the foods you’d like to eat, being hungry all the time, forcing yourself to do something you aren’t mad keen about in a desperate drive to lose some weight. If you have that mind set how does it make you feel. Anxious? Depressed? Stressed? At some point you are going to crack. No matter how much will power you have you can’t keep that up for the rest of your life.
Wouldn’t it be soooooo much better to feel positive about your food, what you eat and how you eat? Wouldn’t it be better to east tasty, fun foods, eat decent sized portions and also NOT to feel guilty or beat yourself up when you occasionally tuck into something bad like a sticky toffee pudding with cream. “What, how can i eat that on a diet?”. Well on a diet you can’t, but if you follow what I’m about to say you CAN!
What you need to do is change your whole outlook and attitude to food. You need to change how you eat and what you eat FOREVER. You aren’t going on a difficult diet, you are going to change your lifestyle and become a HEALTHY EATER. This really isn’t rocket science, in fact it’s absolute common sense and to be honest our grandparents generations and the ones before that did it as a matter of course.
It’s really really simple to do. Basically you just need to eat fresh food. That’s it. “It can’t be that simple?” Well actually it pretty much is with a couple of rules. The key is to avoid processed and packaged produce as much as you possibly can. Avoid sweet or packaged snacks as much as you can and avoid fizzy or sweetened drinks as much as you can, and cut back slightly on Carbs such as potatoes, bread and pasta. That is pretty much it. Other than that you can still eat 2 to 3 meals a day and for your main dinner you can eat pretty healthy/large portions.
So what do i mean by processed foods? Again it’s simple. Anything that comes in a packet or packaging that has a list of ingredients needs either to be avoided or the label carefully studied. ALL ready meals, most childrens meals, ALL fizzy drinks, anything that has lists of chemicals, sweeteners or E numbers on the label. “Hmmmm, so what can i eat?” As i said, basically it is fresh stuff. Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs, Beans, Nuts and Vegetables / Salad / Fruit. Within reason you can eat as much of these as you like. Throw in some exercise and you will either lose weight (if you are currently overweight), or maintain a healthy weight (if you are not really that overweight).
Is it a bit more difficult, less convenient in this busy modern world. Yes it is slightly but would you prefer the slight inconvenience of having to buy and prepare fresh food and healthy meals that you can eat a lot of and enjoy, or suffer the misery of continually being on a deny yourself everything type diet?
So what does this mean in practical terms? The best way to illustrate that is probably to tell you what I’m eating at the moment. I am on a drive to lose some weight and strip some blub from around my middle area. I’m not overweight at all really. I was about 12 stone 5 pounds and want to get down to about 11 stone 10 if possible. Why? Well because as I’ve already told you I’m vain and would love once in my life to have some proper 6 pack abs. So I’m training quite hard and want to lose some weight but at the same time don’t want to lose any muscle and therefore need to eat well and decent portions. So here is what i ate yesterday and will eat today.
Yesterday: Went to the Gym first thing. When i got back i had a medium bowl of Greek Yoghurt (the real stuff, not Greek style) with a large handful of blueberries thrown in and a drizzle of honey over the top. This was washed down with a double scoop protein shake. Late morning i had a Banana. At lunch i had 2 eggs, simply cracked into a bowl, salt and pepper and microwaved for 1 minute. Mid afternoon a large handful of mixed nuts. Then for dinner we sat down as a family and smashed into 3 beautiful lamb cutlets (with the lovely crispy fat as well) and a large salad. The salad was mixed leaves, loads of tomato’s, red pepper, spring onion and a large avocado. It took ten minutes to make the salad and about 7 minutes to cook the chops, what’s hard about that? I was full and very happy.
Today is a no Gym day. So far I’ve had the same bowl of Yoghurt, Blueberries and Honey plus one banana. For lunch i plan a couple of Ryvita’s smeared in delicious Nut butter, probably another Banana and some Melon I’ve got in the fridge. Mid afternoon I’ll probably break cover, be bad and have a cup of coffee with a biscuit. Then for dinner it will be similar to last night. We have some marinated spicy turkey breast steaks with a different type of salad and maybe some couscous.
Is it working? Absolutely! I’m down to 12 stone 1 pound. Feel great and am seeing some Abs appear (although long way to go yet). Also the trick here is that I don’t deny myself. We have got a few social nights out coming up in the next few weeks and on those nights I’m going to eat and drink what the hell i like, no denial whatsoever. Can you do that on a diet? No. However on a lifelong healthy eating plan you can cut yourself some slack and break loose now and then.
To just go back over this and make things very clear. The critical thing you need to change is not just your diet, it’s your attitude to food and eating. Be proud of the fact that you are changing your life for the better. In the book I’m writing I talk about pride as being a big motivating factor and maybe my next post will be about pride and other tools you can use for motivation. Your attitude needs to be “I am going to eat well, eat healthily, prepare my food myself instead of letting the supermarket do it, and I can eat big portions and be bad now and again”. It’s just common sense, it’s just going back to what our Grandparent did and adopting their “meat and two veg” lifestyle but making it more fun.
Future posts will start to give recipe advice, tips on how to prepare food in advance to cut down on time and if you want I’m happy to give more examples of what I’m eating.