It’s my first blog post and oh my gosh I am SO happy it’s unreal! – okay, I just had to get that out of my system before I began.
If you’ve read my about page you’ll know that this blog has been a long time coming, and whilst I’m far from perfect I feel I have made enough mistakes and progress to this point to be able to give you a helping hand, which leads me onto my very first point nicely:
- Do not rush this process
This may seem a little counter intuitive – you’re stuck in a rut of pizza every night, you count chips as one of your five a day and you need something to save you from the hole you’re in. Well my friend, let me tell you that calorie counting your every morsel or switching to chicken and veg for every meal is a sure fire way to burn out. Fast. Now don’t get me wrong, that method can work for some people, but for me (and perhaps for you too) food is so much more than mere sustenance. For me food is culture, tradition, celebration and comfort; this has never changed, but it has also been a source of much guilt, which is totally unnecessary.
So if I’m not asking you to jump with both feet into the next diet where do you begin?
2. Start small
Like I mentioned in point 1. totally flipping up your diet habits might get you quick results, but it’s often unsustainable. Instead I would advise you you change just. one. thing.
Sounds pretty crazy when the diet next door is telling you you’ll see results in a week, huh? But here’s the thing, it is very difficult to change your entire lifestyle sustainably in a week; but just one thing? Now that anyone can do, no matter where you are on the path to a healthy lifestyle. I’m not even asking you to change every dinner!
Here are my suggestions:
- Switch your daily snack for a piece of fruit. Make it two pieces if you’re still hungry. The point here is less about calories and deficits but more to start getting those vitamins and minerals into your system. (It is not okay however to eat your usual snack and the fruit) Make the swap at least three days of the week, plan those days and stick to them. Satsumas and apples are easy no mess options for work or school.
- Plan 1 – 3 Lunches or dinners for the week lower in fat then your usual meal and containing at least two portions (~80g each) of veggies. Print out the recipe, buy the ingredients and just do it. Don’t get caught up at this stage in which fats or veggies are most healthy, you can refine that with time. Right now you just want to commit to consistently changing 1 – 3 meals per week. No big scary commitment, and to help you along I will be posting some super simple recipes very very soon!
- If you don’t excersise, or only excersise 1 – 2 times per week add a walk in on two days for 20 minutes. I’ve you already walk try to add 1 – 2 sessions if yoga or stretching to your day.
3. Do not try to eliminate any one food group
There are three main ‘food groups’: proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Often loose weight quick diets recommend you cut out one of these food groups, or demonised a proportion of it as bad for your health in every context. You need to represent every food group in your diet. Period.
4. Do not rely know willpower alone
You’ve read this post. You’re feeling fired up. You can do anything! (And it’s true, you can.) You’ve planned out the meal you’re going to change but it’s late, you’ll get the ingredients on the day. You wake up, still buzzing, today is the first day of the rest of your life! On the way to work you’re stuck in a traffic jam, you’re boss lobs a report at you as soon as you walk through the door and before you know it you’ve finished late, not had lunch, the kids are screaming and you forgot to do the shopping on the way home. It’s going to be ages before you can get anything healthy on the table so you admit defeat and call for pizza. You’ll make the change tomorrow.
This has nothing to do with willpower and everything to do with planning.
Unfortunately willpower is a finite resource that gets depleted throughout the day. Once you understand this you can plan for it and have everything to hand for when you get home so you can’t fall back on any excuses. Don’t rely on willpower alone.
5. Focus on flavour
Chose your first ‘healthy’ recipes well; make something you genuinely enjoy the flavours of, something you will look forward to. This anticipation will help you forget that this is a ‘healthy’ dish and focus only on the delicious plate of food you’ll be tucking in to!
Likewise, if you are used to daily pizza then it’s inevitable that swapping this for plain chicken breast and steamed veg would fill you with dread. Refer to point 2. and start small. You are used to cheese in your diet so perhaps even you could try some grilled Halloumi with roast veggies? It’s fuss free, the flavours are strong and familiar and you are far more likely to look forward to your healthy meal if you enjoy it.
Remember, these are just the first baby steps, but keep them up for at least two weeks and you’ll be on the path to long term success. Don’t forget to follow this blog for the next steps and simple recipes to help you on your way. These processes work at your pace and a total transformation can take up to 6 months in terms of sustainable diet and excersise.
I think it’s worth taking the time to learn gradually as this reduces those feelings of guilt when you struggle to keep up with a more drastic, short term diet. Let your body adjust gradually, after all, what’s 6 months to the rest of your life?
So comment below if you’re ready to begin, I’d love to hear from you!
**Disclaimer: I am neither a dieting nor medical professional, please seek medical advice before making changes to your lifestyle, the article above is based on my own personal experiences alone and I will not be help responsible for any adverse results. Please make your own informed decisions as to what is safe for you.