It’s new year, it’s time to lose weight, so it’s time to go back to Weight Watchers/Slimming World/Choose A N Other diet. You want to lose x kg in x weeks and your chosen diet is the only one for you. I get it, I really do. But here’s the thing: if this is the diet which works for you, then why are you having to go back to it – did it not work the first time? Oh, I see, you put the weight back on when you came off the diet?
Let’s just get one thing clear. If you join a weight loss club, or follow a particular diet (be it low calorie, low fat, fasting for 2 days a week, living on cabbage soup (please, no!) then yes, you will lose weight. But it is not a sustainable way of living and neither is it particularly good for you. What tends to happen is that you lose weight, your metabolism slows down, you become tired and although the number on the scale is going in the right direction, the longer you stick with it, the harder it becomes to lose weight.
You do not have to follow a diet plan to lose weight. You need to eat healthily most of the time and be active. You choose your activity, but it needs to involve being out of breath with an elevated heart rate at least 3 times a week and preferably more. Don’t like running? Then don’t do it! Prefer strength work? Then do that instead! If you don’t enjoy the exercise you’re doing, then change it. You’re not going to stick with something that you don’t enjoy. It’s the same for your food choices – tolerating dry toast and cabbage soup might help you lose weight, but what about having a life?
So, how DO you lose weight?
Make healthy choices most of the time. Lots of nutrient rich, fresh, locally produced food. Cut right down on sugar, wheat and alcohol and go large on green veg, orange veg (sweet potato, butternut squash, pumpkin) up your protein intake (organically produced and grass fed) and drink plenty of water. There. That’s it. Nothing more to it.
Ok, so I’m being a bit flippant, but really consistency is the key. If you’re overweight and you cut back on sugar and wheat whilst also upping your exercise, you will lose weight. Losing one or two pounds a week is far more sustainable than losing 6 one week but feeling miserable and ‘bound’ by your diet plan. Many people are put off and discouraged because they want to lose more than a lb a week, so they stop trying. But here’s a thing: the weeks will continue to pass, so after 7 weeks you will have lost half a stone. More importantly, you are much more likely to a) keep it off and b) not feel like you’re ‘on a diet’.
The mental side of being on a diet can be exhausting. It’s usually ok for about 3 days but then you have a tantrum and binge. And whoosh! All that weight that you worked so hard to lose is piled straight back on again. It’s the yoyo effect of dieting.
So, if you’re still looking for a new year’s resolution, why not make it to give up diets? Just eat healthily most of the time. And if you want to eat some chocolate now and then? Then do! Just be sure to do enough exercise to use up that extra fuel!
I’ll be adding recipes to the Eat page on an ongoing basis, so do check back if you’re in need of some inspiration. But in the meantime, decide on your chosen form of exercise, plan some wheat and sugar free meals and go and enjoy your diet free life!