Contributed by Tim Wheatcroft
Traditional approaches to weight loss can be misleading.
Everyone likes to demonise one food group, and this misconception can spread very easily. “Fats make you fat” and “Sugar is the enemy” are the main two culprits. Behind these approaches is often what is preventing you from losing weight and keeping it off. ‘Fat free’ foods are almost always filled with sugar, and sugar is ‘secretly’ hidden in lots of supposedly healthy foods… so what is really the best way manage, or lose, weight?
Everyone is looking for a 6 week program or expecting to suffer through a period of sacrifice to lose weight. then, when it ‘ends’, you abandon the changes you made for the 6 weeks. Result? Putting the weight you lost straight back on, often with a little bit extra for good measure.
Your best bet is to ignore anything you see in main stream media which will tell tales of how celebrities lost weight easily through a detox diet. It’s almost certainly a lie. As soon as someone is placed on ‘a diet’ the pressure to stick to a plan or be constantly and (usually unnecessarily) restricted gets too much, and they go off the rails.
By far the best and most successful method of weight loss is developing lifestyle habits that work for YOU and fit YOUR lifestyle. There is no point trying to implement things that are simply not going to be sustainable.
Here’s a few examples of common poor eating habits:
Not enough water!
Dehydration can have some negative effects on the body. People tend to feel like they’re well-hydrated through their intake of other liquids. Drinking fruit juice ‘because its healthy’ is a prime example. And while this does contribute to your fluid intake, you have to look at what else is coming along with that extra fluid. A glass of fruit juice will probably cover the amount of sugar you need for one day! You also miss out on the fibre when drinking juice as opposed to eating the real fruit. Fruit is nutritious and full of vitamins and minerals we need, but at the end of the day it is still a sugar – and this needs to be controlled for the majority of individuals wanting to drop weight.
Far too many people rely on coffee, tea, energy or caffeine drinks to get them through the day, and then alcohol to wind them down at the end of it. Six cups of tea/coffee with whole milk and sugar in a day with a couple of glasses of wine can add up to a serious amount of calories.
Organisation – or lack of it!
You come home to no food in the house. What’s easier? A take-away or making a healthy meal from scratch?
Most people will take the easy option. You need to give yourself no excuses for a healthy eating regime. If you get home, or you’re at work, and you’re completely prepared then you have no excuses.
Is anyone really going to tell me they can’t find 2 hours in the week to bulk cook some healthy, nutritious meals for the coming week/weeks? If you say you can’t, then I think you might lying to yourself…!
Look at the pictures above, all it is, is making the choice to be organised. Make time to go shopping and get everything you need, then make time to cook it all and batch it up, freeze what needs to be frozen – and then you’re done.
Here is an example of one of my clients putting what I say into practice!
If you struggle for recipe ideas, sign up to the email list below and let me know what you’d like to see. I have a small file of recipes that I can email to people struggling for ideas.
Eating too quickly
Wolfing down your food is a poor habit, whether you’re snacking or eating a meal. It doesn’t give your brain time to catch up with your stomach. Your brain doesn’t get the signal that you’re full until about 15 to 20 minutes after you’ve started eating.
If you gulp down your meal in 10 minutes or less, you could end up eating way more than you need. Physically put your fork down between bites, take smaller bites, and be sure to chew each bite thoroughly. Also, drinking water throughout your meal will help you slow down and feel fuller as you go.
It’s not a great habit, but is one a trap that many people fall into. You had a bad day at the work, you get home, you open the refrigerator and start eating whatever you can get your hands on because there is nothing prepared or nothing healthy available. Emotions, both positive and negative, can cause people to eat more than they should, and is an easy weight-loss stumbling block. You need to learn to recognise when you’re eating out of emotion, rather than because you’re actually hungry,
If I gave you 3 different types of food – a banana, a handful of nuts and a pizza – would you be able to guess what the breakdown of macronutrients and calories were? Learning to track the content of your food would help massively. Going through a period of using a food tracker and really learning what the food you consume contains will enable you to make much better food choices based on the macro-nutrients each item/meal contains. The idea of doing this everyday forever is not one that even the most anal fitness professional will envy, so its worth getting to grips with food labels initially. When you’re at a weight you’re happy with you can then easily maintain it without having to track meticulously day in day out.
At the end of the day weight loss or weight management is about setting a goal and making better choices. If you can do that then you will succeed; if you make no attempt at some of the things we’ve covered, the chance of success drop dramatically…