To me, a diet spells: Deprivation, Impossible targets, Extreme exercise and Temporary weight loss.
Crazy diets that promise outstanding results tend to deliver the least and are in fact nothing more than weight loss fads. Remember the cabbage diet? Unrealistic eating plans teach you nothing and set you up for failure.
Usually, in a very short space of time, you’ll revert back to old ‘unhealthy’ habits and pile back on all of the weight you lost. You’re then left feeling like a failure, when the reality is, the DIET failed you – because it was never going to be sustainable long-term.
I cringe when I hear people say things like “I’m never going to eat chocolate again,” because I know it’s only a matter of time before they slip up, binge and then feel guilty because they couldn’t stick to the unrealistic goal.
Weight loss doesn’t have to be a constant struggle. Sure, life can throw us challenges and sometimes it’s easier to lose weight than others. But by adopting a few simple changes it is possible to make the transition to a healthy lifestyle and get off the yo-yo dieting roller coaster for good. I did it and so can you!
Here are 10 tips for healthy weight loss:
- Make yourself accountable. It’s so easy to think that you’re eating within your calorie and fat count but how sure are you? I suggest you keep a food diary for the next 7 days; enter everything you eat and drink and see how you fair for the week. This will help you see where changes need to be made.
- Weigh and measure your portions. Don’t eat from a bag, instead weigh out an appropriate serve so you’re not tempted to overeat. For example, a bag of cashews can be very tempting but a 20g serve has 10g of fat, almonds have 11g of fat for 20g.
- Monitor all food. It’s possible to overeat healthy food. You only need around 300g of fruit a day. An eighth of an avocado (30g) has 7g fat, no problem but if you have half an avocado it’s 28g fat and a whole avocado has 56g of fat.
- Commit to the process. Recognise that weight loss works in steps – you’ll experience fluctuations and plateaus. The key is not to give up and to see it as a long-term plan. An average loss of half to one kilo a week is a healthy goal.
- Make exercise fun. Choose exercise and activities that you enjoy as you’re more likely to continue with it when you’re having fun. Not all exercise suits everyone so think about what you love, if going to a gym isn’t your thing try dancing, swimming or playing tennis. It doesn’t have to cost the earth – read this article for more ideas
- Step away from the scales. Don’t fall into the trap of weighing yourself every day. The number on the scale reflects just a moment in time. When I was losing my weight, I weighed myself once a week and recorded it, then the first Wednesday of the month was my “official” weigh in and this is the one that was the most important. Over the 20 months it took for me to lose 35 kilos I had a weight loss every month. It shows a better overall result so please stop weighing yourself every day.
- Forget crazy fad diets. It’s only a matter of time before you quit, go back to your old habits and gain back all the weight you lost and more. It’s much better to follow a healthy, well-balanced eating plan.
- Don’t go hungry. You don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight. This can be dangerous and may cause binge eating and yo-yo dieting because you’re so hungry. Instead create a lifestyle of eating healthy food with moderate calories and fats.
- Include food from all food groups. Everything in moderation is the key to weight loss success. Don’t remove any food group, but instead make healthy choices, check your portions, be active and see the good in what you’re doing. Get excited about the changes you’re making.
- Aim to live a happy healthy lifestyle. Feel confident and celebrate yourself the way you are. Be your own best friend. Only you can do this, so step up and take responsibility for your health and be proud of every change, every step and every good decision you make.
I’m not about to promise you a quick fix. Let’s be honest, the weight didn’t go on overnight and it just won’t come off overnight. Avoid weight loss fads – set realistic goals, eat healthy food, include moderate exercise and stay the course.
The great news is – research shows that people who lose weight consistently over a longer period tend to be more successful in maintaining their healthy weight long term. Lose it, never to be found again, that sounds like a great outcome to me.