Another 21 great diet tips
Get going with your diet today
If you feel like something is holding you back from succeeding in your diet, don't fear. It is normal for anyone on a diet to have their weak moments, and want to give up. But there are plenty of strategies out there to help push you along. Here are 21 tips to keep you going. If you haven't done so already, check out my first article on this.
Discover new recipes to try. Often, dieters begin to give up on their healthy eating because they find the food too boring, but there is no reason to think like this. The internet has millions of recipes for you to try so just find out what type of food you like and give it a go. There is no reason to ever be bored by healthy food.
Get into the habit of reading food labels. You simply cannot trust any processed food to be healthy, even if it says ‘healthy diet food’ on the front of the packet in big writing. You need to understand basic nutritional information and you need to read through the ingredients. Quick tip: if there is an ingredient that you don’t recognize or sounds scientific, avoid it. If there is sugar in the list of ingredients or a sugar-related product and it’s a savory product, avoid it.
Don’t drink your calories. Liquid calories are nutritionally weak and contain minimal fiber, so they should never be a replacement for real food. A few drinks now and then are OK, but stay away from things like fruit juices and carbonated soft drinks.
Get to grips with portion sizes. A portion of the main protein in a meal – e.g. a portion of chicken or beef, should be the same size as a stack of playing cards. A portion of pasta is about the same size as your fist.
Never shop when you are hungry, and always have a grocery list on hand. Remember that supermarkets invest millions of pounds in researching the best way of tempting buyers to make impulse purchases, so make things as difficult for them as you can (better still: do your grocery shopping online).
Be honest about your food choices by keeping a food diary. It is easy to forget what you’ve eaten or underestimate the amount of food you’ve eaten. Use an app if you have a smartphone or an iPad, as these are often designed to make it easy for you to monitor your eating habits. I’ve given some recommendations on my favorite diet apps here.
As well as a food diary, sometimes it’s a good idea to keep a normal diary about how you are feeling. We often overeat because it’s a way of pushing aside our emotions and not addressing them head-on. By writing down your worries, stresses and frustrations, you can learn to handle your problems directly rather than burying them in a mountain of cake.
Keep track of your weight on a weekly basis. If you are on a diet, then you should see progress every week, even if it’s just one quarter of a pound.
Join a support group to keep you on track with your goal.
Tell your friends and your family that you are losing weight and why you are doing it. If you don’t, friends and family can often be innocent saboteurs in your goal to losing weight, but if they understand what you are doing then they will hopefully give you full support.
To control your portion sizes, but a new set of plates! This may sound extreme, but buying smaller dining plates will stop you serving portions larger than you really need to be eating, and its far easier than just calorie counting every hour of the day.
Eat little and often to keep hunger at bay, as hunger is what will lead to binging and overeating.
When dining out, pick out a hearty and enjoyable starter. Although you may eat a lot when coupled with a main course, it will fill you up and stop you from ordering a dessert. Soup is an excellent choice of starter because it is very filling.
Never make excuses for not doing exercise. Even if you are very busy, you can always fit in 10 minutes to your day. Remember, if you do exercise you’ll have more energy to get everything else in your day done anyway.
Make a list of things you’ve always wanted to do but never have, and then pick one. Concentrating on a new hobby will take your mind off food and stop boredom-related overeating.
If you struggle to stick to your diet when you dine out with friends, then discover social activities that don’t involve food. Far too often when we meet with friends or family we dine out at a restaurant, but there are plenty of other things you can do. How about a music concert, cinema or a sports event instead?
Eat lean protein with every meal, for example eggs, beans, chicken or fish. Lean protein will keep you full and give you energy that will last much longer than other types of food.
Eat complex carb and avoid the starchy ones. As a rule of thumb, anything closer to the natural food source, rather than highly refined, is better. So eat brown rice rather than white rice. Choose rye bread rather than white. Choose wholemeal pasta rather than regular pasta.
Get moving by making small lifestyle changes. For example, take the stairs rather than the elevator. Park at the far end of a car park rather than near the entrance.
When you have a food craving, set an alarm to go off in 5 minutes. When the alarm goes off, you will probably find you’ve forgotten all about your craving. Once you start doing this, you’ll realize how easy it is to have willpower.
Buy yourself a ‘goal’ outfit. If you are trying to slim down to a certain size, then investing in a new outfit in that size will keep you focused. When you are struggling just look at the outfit and imagine how it will feel to be able to fit into it.