I am what is known as a career dieter. I can honestly tell you I went on my first diet when I was 12 years of age and I begged my Mum to take me to the doctors so he would help. He told me to list everything I ate for a week and then the next week to halve it. Looking back now I feel that was pretty irresponsible of him (balanced diet and all that) but it did work... for a while.
For the next 29 years (yes I am 41) probably at least once a year I have started yet another diet and lost some weight and then put it all back on again. A diet mentality is not a good one. I can't tell you I've done every diet under the sun as ones like the cabbage soup diet that was popular in the 80's just do not appeal to me. I have always had a desire to lose weight healthily in a way that means I can keep it off and sustain that food plan for life.
If you know me you'll realise I'm not doing that well on my career of dieting as I am about 7 stone overweight. This year I have vowed things will be different, I am working hand in hand with God to sort my body out. I've joined Slimming World, I'm going to the gym and I'm also doing the Couch to 5K running program but I realise that until I am well into this change of eating (not diet) and losing some serious weight then people might be dubious of the results I'll get.
Despite my own results I'm actually quite knowledgeable on the subject on healthy eating and how to lose weight, so I thought I would share with you my top tips to avoid some serious diet pitfalls, those you might not even realise exist!
1. Putting the diet off until tomorrow
I started this healthy eating and exercise plan on the 1st January, it seemed as good as time as any and it was when i was feeling motivated. A few friends said they wanted to join me but said 'I'll start when the kids go back to school' and this is a slippery slope. It is easy to say tomorrow but sometimes tomorrow never comes. So when you are feeling motivated, grab it and start then. Don't wait for anything as you may just miss the moment. Change is always hard whether the children are home or not.
2. Giving up at the first hurdle
There are very few people who can start a serious diet (especially if they have had weight and eating issues for years) and eat perfectly every day from day one. Accept the fact, there will be slip-ups and you might grab the wrong thing in a hurry. You have not blown it. When you allow the thought of 'Well, I've blown it. I might as well eat what I like and give up now' to stay in your mind then there is going to be problems. When that thought comes up, remember that you can start again NOW. Your healthy eating or diet does not have to start in a morning, on a Monday or whatever other lies you have told yourself.
3, Being too strict with yourself
You know you best, are you the kind of person who can give up all sugar, carbs and caffeine from your diet and still be happy? because your happiness or state of mind is really important in this, if you are a size 10 but completely miserable then guess what? Your new way of life is not working for you. Be realistic, eat a little of what you want and follow a plan which works for you. Some people do amazing things with eating plans I could never dream of living on, look at Jane and her paleo diet but do what it right for you. For me it is about moderation of all food groups.
4. Assuming cutting down on food will be the answer to your prayers
I'm sorry to be the one to tell you but once you lose weight you'll still be you. If you eat because you are unhappy or because you have problems you need to seek help and do whatever is necessary to get those sorted as being a slimmer you won't instantly make you feel great. In fact for some people it makes them feel more vulnerable.
Also don't forget that the secret to weight loss is to eat less and move more. So yes, you need to do some exercise too. I've started the Couch to 5K program and I'm finding that good so far (hard but good) and I also highly recommend any of Leslie Sansone's walk fitness exercise DVD's. They are really manageable for people of all fitness abilities but work for weight loss.
5. Thinking you have signed up for a miracle cure
There are no instant miracles when it comes to losing weight. If you sign up for a liquid diet, supplements or something else that promises you will lose 3 stone in 3 months then expect there to be a very large cost and some issues. As I've mentioned before you need to make changes for life and that is my biggest worry for people who lose a lot of weight on very low calorie replacement meal diets as they have to learn how to eat again once they have lost the weight and that is a big learning curve.
Then to finish here are a few tips from me, that I'm following as I endeavour to lose weight -
- Write down everything you eat, especially at the start of a new eating plan. You will forget what you have snacked on and it can be very easy to kid yourself that you are being good when actually your intake has gone up far past what you wanted.
- Use a smaller plate or bowl for your meals. You will still feel full as your eyes tell you that you had a plate full but the calories will have been reduced. It is a great trick.
- Be realistic with your food, build in small treats. A little of what you fancy works wonders. For me it is chocolate and I find something like a small packet of milky way stars takes me ages to eat and I feel as if I have indulged lots.
- Find some supportive friends. You don't have to join a group but make sure you have supportive people around you. There are loads of wonderful groups on FB for people looking to make changes with their eating and life style.
- Drink plenty of water and have a glass before every meal as it definately helps you to eat less.
- Plan out your menu for the next week and draw up your shopping list from that. I have my shopping delivered so I am not tempted in the supermarket and I'm not keeping junk food in the house. It makes it way easier.
I wish you all the best and look forward to hearing your tips or advice for changing to a healthier lifestyle.
Be blessed, Mich x
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