Sticking to healthy eating can be challenging, especially when trying to lose weight.
So here are 5 tips to help you
#1 Choose a forever eating plan, not a short-term ‘crash diet’.
Crash diets are so disappointing.
You might lose weight, but the honeymoon doesn’t last. Most people gain it all back again…and usually, even more, than they started off with. 😣
Instead, choose a menu with slimming recipes that your taste buds love. And you should be able to imagine yourself eating this way forever.
Eat in a joyful relaxed manner, not focusing on deprivation.
Then sit back [but not literally] and go for the bumpy ride.
Because every weight loss journey can have its ups and downs.
Being aware of this prevents disappointment and giving up before you achieve your goal.
#2 Don’t have unrealistic weight-loss expectations.
Fact: the equation of the 3500 calorie deficit for a 1 pound weight loss was found to be incorrect.
That concept was widely accepted and taken up after a document was published in 1958. Researchers worked out that body fat tissue was ‘estimated’ to be 87% pure fat. Once they settled on that, they went off and did some fancy calculations.
Their [outdated] result suggested that we needed to create a 3500 cal deficit to regularly see a pound of weight loss.
So everyone raced off eating 500 fewer calories per day using various methods. We were all waiting for the magic 7th day at the end of the week when we clocked up a 3500 calories deficit [7 days x 500 calories deficit = 3500]. If we stuck to this, we were promised a 1 pound loss. But sadly, after the first few weeks, we noticed that the calculation did not work anymore.
We don’t actually know the exact calories in each food. Plus, unless this was tested, we don’t even know how many calories we burn each day.
This means we can’t tell if we are really in a daily 500 calorie deficit, no matter what our apps tell us.
And every person’s ability to extract the calories from their food is different due to a variety of factors.
Age, metabolic rate, muscle mass, cooking method, gut bacteria..they all have a role to play in this.
Don’t rely on those vague numbers displayed on apps. You’re not a machine.
Like ‘BEEP BEEP …3500 cal deficit clocked up…one pound lost.’
Not going to happen like this.
Instead of just looking for weight loss, set healthy habits and eating goals for the week. Use those as a measure of success.
Weight loss will happen if you eat mainly lower-calorie vegetables and salads with some protein and a little good fat as per our plan.
#3 Keep the right snacks and quick meals on hand.
Most plans can come totally undone when you let yourself get so hungry that you don’t care anymore what you eat. And often you end up eating the highest calorie options. (Our brains are hardwired to choose those!)
Keep suitable snacks, soups, and meals ready for ‘hunger emergencies’.
And remember Dr. M. Greger’s saying: ‘If you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it’.
Delicious hummus varieties to the rescue.
So stock up on suitable choices. A major binge can often lead to problems like in #4
#4 The ‘all or nothing’ mindset.
After a binge many say to themselves, ‘I’ve now ruined everything. So I might as well forget about the whole thing and keep eating.’
But here’s the thing: a single ‘off-plan’ meal doesn’t mean everything is ruined.
Many of us enjoy a bit of a cheat meal from time to time, although I much prefer to call it a ‘relaxed boundary meal’.
Actually, when eaten infrequently, it’s good for the soul [admittedly not so much for the waistline].
After all, we do not wish to be in a ‘diet prison’. That just gives us cravings and makes us feel miserable and anxious around food.
Relax. Enjoy the off-plan meal. And eat it joyfully without guilt.
And at the next meal, you’re back on track.
#5 Choose to eat better for overall wellness and health.
This was shown to bring better long-term results than focusing mainly on one’s appearance and a number on the bathroom scales.
Here is an interesting study outcome:
there was a 30-month online intervention investigating which reason was the most powerful one for women wanting to achieve long-term weight loss.
The study suggested that the participants’ initial reason is a very important component of failure or success.
It turns out that an appearance-based motive resulted in the worst outcome. Those who were solely driven by achieving a better appearance ended up gaining instead. 😥
And they were found to be using unhealthier eating strategies and were more likely to binge eat.
Therefore, think about shifting your main focus from your image in the mirror to overall wellness.
It appears to be a more successful approach.