Whenever I speak to clients who have struggled with weight loss, they invariably share the same response…
“I’ve tried all sorts of diets, with little success”, or “with the diet I am on, I have to eat like a rabbit, I can’t wait to finish”.
When we think of the word diet, it conjures up unpleasant images of having to live on soup and salads in order to drop a dress size or look good at the beach. Let’s face it, the word “diet” doesn’t have a very good image. It suggests a short term necessary evil for a greater good.
Viewed in this way, it’s no surprise so many people struggle with diets and weight loss.
Generally speaking, today’s perception of ‘I’m on a diet’ suggests there’s an end date. All too often this is the motivation for trying a diet in the first place, making it less about your continued health and wellbeing, and more about looking forward to getting back to those habits that got you in trouble in the first place.
So how do we create sustainable eating habits to help improve our quality of life for the rest of our lives?
First, let’s look at some facts
1. Right now we have more Doctors, Physios, Chiros and general health care professionals than we’ve ever had in the history of mankind, and yet Obesity, Diabetes and Heart conditions, are all on the rise.
2. Quick fix diet ‘fads’ are all the rage. We have become accustomed to ‘here and now’ fixes.
3. 100 years ago today we walked an average of 10kms per work day. Today that average is 1.2kms. We’re slowing down.
4. Our day to day working life is considered busier now than ever before. We therefore appear to have less time for ourselves. The reality is we simply don’t make enough time for ourselves.
5. Finally, every man, woman and child has an opinion on what’s good for you. What you should and should not be eating. Leaving you to wonder where on earth to start?
Where do these opinions come from? The power of marketing has a lot to answer for. What we see advertised influences our decisions and impacts our choices. Everything from where we choose to go on holidays, the cars we drive, the list goes on. When it comes to our food choices, you can’t escape a supermarket without being inundated with promotions on chocolates, chips, and sugary drinks. Temptation is everywhere.
Are you in impulse buyer?
Do you buy food as you need it, or do you shop once a week?
The goal is to plan and prepare your food. On the weekend, check the fridge and pantry for the essentials, then list the ingredients for the meals you’ll be home to cook throughout the week. Putting thought into weekly shopping helps create habits when it comes to food prep and helps avoid mid-week impulse buys. It also helps keep you focused when you’re at the supermarket, buying only what you need.
Learn the 80/20 rule
When you’re at the checkout, the contents of your shopping trolley should be 80% meat and fresh veg and 20% anything else. The basic rule of thumb here is having a nutrient rich diet. The fresher the produce, the more nutrients your body receives. Even if you struggle in the creative department when it comes to food preparation at the dinner table, you’ll be giving yourself the best possible start by ensuring the food you buy is fresh produce over frozen, packaged or tinned.
When was the last time you cooked something new?
Nothing quite like a bit of personal inspiration and satisfaction from cooking something you’ve never made before. Google a new dish and find a recipe.
Pressed for time doesn’t mean cutting corners on healthy eating
We are all busy. But we are no busier now than we were 20 years ago. How we spend our time throughout the day may be different to that of the past 2 decades but that doesn’t mean our parents were any less busy throughout their working week. When it comes to making decisions on what to eat, it’s too easy to say “I don’t have time to prepare a meal so I’ll just grab takeaway”. Those who have busy lifestyles matched with healthy eating habits, prepare their food for the week.
If you’re going to cook a meal for dinner, cook twice as much as you need. This gives you lunch the following day. Prepping lunch for the week saves you thousands of dollars at the end of the year too! Average takeaway lunch, $18. Multiply by three times a week, 48 weeks of the year… $2600.00.
I’ll leave you with this. Every diet ever written works. The Kauffman diet, The Paleo diet, the 5:2 diet… you name it, they work. They’re not all great, but they work. PROVIDED you keep to two golden rules.
1. You accept a need for change in the way you consume food, and commit 100% to the rules of that diet
2. You plan and prepare your food in accordance to that diet
Accept change. Plan and prepare.
Based on these two golden rules, if you accepted the need for change to the way you eat right now, then gave a little thought to your weekly food shop by planning and preparing your meals, you would abolish the need for ‘fad’ diets and be well on your way to a healthier lifestyle. For the rest of your life.
“If we thought less about losing weight and more about improving health, weight loss becomes a side effect, life becomes the goal.”
For more information on how to create sustainable eating habits, or of you’re seriously searching for motivation to get you on the right path, I’d love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org