You’ve probably read a million and one articles on how to lose weight, but did they ever really work? Millions of people around the world struggle with their weight, and no matter what they try they just can’t seem to stick to it. Does this sound familiar?
Everyone has good intentions when they first start to diet, but after a couple of weeks (sometimes even days), the cravings come back and so does the weight. Dieting is all about changing your lifestyle and not just your current eating habits.
How many times have you attempted a diet to only find it too difficult and creep back into your old eating habits?
The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to stay clear of any faddy diets, and to even consider steering clear of the more common methods of dieting that we have all tried and failed at. We often also see these crazy celebrity diets which usually involve only eating berries or something ridiculous like that, but this is always a load of nonsense and is completely misleading everyone into thinking this is the best way to lose weight and keep it off.
The real truth behind all these faddy diets is that they may sometimes work for a few weeks or even a few months if you’re lucky, but once you realise that it’s impossible to keep it up beyond that, you just end up back at square one and the weight will just pile back on.
So what diet will work for me, and how can I stick to it?
There is no way of answering this question and getting it right for everyone, which is one of the biggest mistakes made when trying to lose weight. If you read endless articles and keep trying to stick to what they tell you to eat, you are just going to fail at some point – been there and wore the t-shirt!
Try not to keep jumping from one dieting regime to the next, otherwise you are going to go crazy!
Another dangerous path to go down is when you follow a friend’s diet which they recommend to you. How many times have you been approached by a friend who is guaranteeing you to lose weight if you copy what they’re doing? My advice is to politely decline and run a mile before you get converted into whatever flavour of the month they are obsessed by!
Everyone has different reasons as to why they have put on weight and struggle to keep it off, and it’s this issue that needs to be tackled if you want to succeed. Although it’s important to eat the right foods and to eat a certain amount of calories, you also need to be careful not to get too obsessed by this, otherwise you won’t be able to eat like this in the long term.
Focusing on how you can maintain a healthy eating plan for the rest of your life is the only way to succeed!
The biggest mistake made when trying to diet is choosing food that is too boring and possibly too healthy. Going from one extreme to the other is not going to work. For example – swapping chips, burgers and alcohol for salads and water is certainly going to do a great job of shedding the pounds, but you have very little chance of sticking to it for longer than a couple of weeks.
So instead, consider gradually taking away the junk food and slowly introduce the healthier stuff. Dieting to the extreme is only going to leave you mentally drained and unable to continue, and as soon as this happens you are going to fall of the wagon in a big way!
The amount of times I have tried these extreme diets and failed is depressing me just thinking about it. In the past I’ve usually ended up heavier than when I first started the diet because I’ve hit the chocolate and the pizza so hard because I couldn’t take the stress any longer.
Don’t jump straight into the deep end and completely cut out the junk, otherwise your cravings will win you over in the end!
Most people want to lose weight fast, and this is also a huge mistake to make. Your eating and drinking regime needs to be set up so you can continue for the rest of your life, so focus more on losing the weight over the space of a year rather than a week.
The only way you can lose weight quickly is to diet to the extreme, which usually ends in failure when you can’t keep it up. So accept that although it may be a slower process than you’d initially like, it’s important to focus on your future and how much better it’s going to be if you can remain fit and healthy for the rest of your life, and not just for a few weeks.
Focus on eating meals that are low in calories, rather than focusing on counting how many per day!
You would be amazed at how many calories are in junk food. Pizza, ice cream, burgers, chips – are all high in calories and have to be kept to an absolute minimum if you want to lose weight. But this doesn’t of course mean you have to drop them altogether, but rather than ordering a 12 inch meat feast from your local takeaway that probably has 2,500 calories in the whole pizza (more than the average daily allowance of calories in one meal!), consider just having a slice or two at the most if you feel the cravings are getting a bit too much to start with.
Counting calories can be a great way of controlling what you eat, and it will also teach you how to eat healthily and use them wisely for each meal, but try not to drive yourself nuts by taking it too seriously. Counting calories every day for the rest of your life will be harder than actually dieting!
The average male would typically need around 2,000 calories a day to maintain their weight. So anything under 2,000 calories would typically mean weight loss. So yes, it is important to count the amount of calories, but once you are into a routine of knowing roughly how many are in each meal, then you can relax and take it easy knowing you are going to be well within your limit for weight loss.
This daily allowance of 2,000 may be higher for someone who is extremely overweight, and they may be able to take in more calories and still lose weight as long as they still reduce their current intake. A good example of this would be someone who usually eats on average around 3,000-3,500 calories a day. This number of calories is obviously way too high, but surprisingly easy to consume if junk food is your preference.
Eat small and often to fight off the hunger!
The hardest part about changing your eating regime is feeling hungry. So why even let it get to that when you can eat plenty of meals a day and keep those hunger pangs away for good. If you don’t feel hungry after a meal, then you are extremely less likely to over eat and reach for those unhealthy snacks.
There has been much debate over the years as to whether or not eating lots of smaller meals throughout the day will help with weight loss, and whether the metabolism speeds up as a result. But one thing is for sure – eating little and often can help you to feel less hungry and make changing your diet much easier to handle.
If you leave more than 3 hours between your main meals, then you are going to be far too hungry to sustain your diet. Whereas eating every 2-3 hours and having around 5-6 meals (including snacks) will make it much easier to continue.
Our recommendation would be to have 3 main meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then have 2-3 snacks in between. A good example of a great diet regime is the following:
7-8am – Breakfast
10-11am – Snack
12-2pm – Lunch
3-4pm – Snack
5-7pm – Dinner
8-9pm – Snack
So by following this eating pattern you are enjoying a total of 6 meals and snacks, which will give you a much better chance of feeling less hungry. The other great benefits of this type of plan if done correctly are that you will naturally eat fewer calories. However, it is important to make sure you remember that each of your main meals have to be much smaller and healthier than what you are used to.
For example, replace a full English breakfast with a bowl of healthy cereal, or even some fruit. Porridge or oats are also a fantastic way to start your day and are typically lower than 300 calories per average size portion. Try to also follow a similar pattern for your other two main meals. For example, substitute a large ham and cheese sandwich for a medium sized baked potato with salad, or even a tin of tuna. You will probably eat half the amount of calories than your usual sandwich!
Eating unhealthy snacks like crisps and chocolate bars are also a recipe for disaster. Instead, you should be looking towards an apple or a healthy cereal bar which are much lower in calories. Did you know that there are nearly 250 calories in a Mars Bar, but only around 100 in a decent sized apple? I appreciate that a Mars Bar might taste better to most, but think about the amount of calories you are saving by switching to a healthier snack. And if you just cannot bear to ditch the chocolate bars, then why not switch to cereal bars which are typically around 70-80 calories. See the difference eating smart can make?
Dieting isn’t all about only eating salad and drinking water. It’s all about controlling what you eat and choosing smarter meals and snacks, which will allow you in the long run to continue eating the same way for the rest of your life.
There is no point in changing your diet for a few weeks or months to then just completely change it back again. You will just end up going around and around in circles constantly losing weight and then putting it back on – which is extremely frustrating!
Part of the problem with diets today is that they are just far too extreme and regimental, and just too difficult to stick to. So our advice would be to stop worrying about how difficult it will be to give up alcohol and chocolate and to consider eating smarter and allowing yourself the odd indulgence now and again.
What would you rather do? Would you rather try and lose a huge amount of weight in a couple of months by completely cutting out pizza and ice cream; or would you rather just eat smarter and lose the weight forever?
I know what I’d rather do!