How to make your diet work

Weight loss can feel like a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down, with no end in sight. Find your way to steadier ground by committing to a few small, easy-to-do healthy habits. You'll keep progressing toward your goal, while your small habits build into larger habits that can permanently change your behavior!

1-Set yourself sensible targets The biggest mistake is placing the bar too high. Remember there’s no 'ideal' weight for all; healthy weight varies according to the individual, depending on your build, metabolism, genes, hormonal changes (pregnancy and the menopause), and more. If you try and lose a drastic amount of weight, you'll only set yourself up for a fall, because you’ll only end up putting the weight back on and yo-yoing, which is dangerous. Before starting any diet, you need to identify a target weight your metabolism is capable of maintaining in the long term without causing the frustration that leads to yo-yo dieting. 2-Understand your motivation You shouldn’t be losing weight to please other people: you should be doing it for yourself, for your own wellbeng and health. There's no use battling to lose a few excess pounds if you feel good about yourself and your weight poses no threats to your health. Dieting is tough, so it’s vital that you really want to slim down before you set off on a weight loss journey. 3-Choose the right moment Going on a diet means putting some food habits and treats on the backburner. Before starting your diet, make sure you’re mentally ready and have the time to go on a diet. Don’t even think about it if you're going on holiday in two weeks, if you’re going to a party tomorrow, or if you’re going through a period of stress or depression. 4-Identify your mistakes Identifying the reasons why you put on weight (eating the wrong foods, constant dieting, unbalanced eating habits, big lifestyle changes, environmental factors, lack of exercise) will help you find solutions! Dieting is like anything in life: you need to pinpoint the factors that lead to a problem so you can come to grips with them and right the situation!

5. Create a trigger to remind you what to do. You may think of a trigger as something negative that leads you to an unhealthy activity. Like feeling sad can be a trigger to overeat. But a trigger can also be positive.

You can use a trigger to remind you to do your chosen habit. It can be as simple as setting an alarm or selecting a good place to stick a note.

You need a trigger that you'll notice, preferably at the time you've set to do the habit. To trigger yourself to drink water, for instance, you could:

  • Create a time on your calendar to "meet" with a glass of water.

  • Associate your habit with something you do every day. For instance, whenever you turn on water to wash your hands, use it to trigger you to drink water.

6-Stay on track Forget half-hearted diets where you starve yourself one day then let yourself go the next. There’s nothing worse - or more confusing for your body - than fasting one day and bingeing the next. If you want it to work, you need to follow the rules strictly for the duration of your diet. 7-Keep the weight off The period following a diet is without doubt the most difficult one. To lose weight, your energy intake needs to be lower than you energy expenditure. To stabilise your weight, you need to find a balance between your energy intake and expenditure. Once you’ve reached your target weight, the key stabilisation period adjusts you to your new weight. By trial and error, you stabilise your weight and avoid piling the pounds back on. 8-Change your habits for good Once you’ve reached your target, don’t go picking up your old bad habits like skipping meals, putting a huge dollop of butter on your pasta or gorging on chocolate in front of the telly. Learn to eat healthily, following a balanced diet. You’ll only put the weight back on if you don’t! 9-Keep an eye on your weight and make up for blips Don’t worry about focusing on your weight once you’ve finished your diet. Depending on your hormones, water retention, what you've eaten, etc, your weight will vary from one day to another. To avoid any nasty surprises though, weigh yourself once a week, always at the same time and in the same clothes. If you have put a little weight back on, go easy on the fatty and sugary foods for a few days. 10-Get moving You won’t lose weight without exercising. Even if this doesn’t involve a real sport per se (climbing stairs and walking are great forms of exercise), a bit of exertion is a surefire way of using up calories, helping you maintain your target weight in the long term.

For more information on how to achieve your own personal weight loss goals call Rose Shinnick Nutritional Therapist for a private one-to-one consultation on 087 061 8553

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