Ok, so most people reading this have probably, at some point, followed a diet. You may be following one now?
But is it too much? Are you struggling to stick to it?
Most people when starting a new diet aim for perfection.
On a scale of 1-10 (1 being terrible, 10 being “perfect”), people aim for 9 or 10 when they start a diet. Cut out ALL of this, don’t have ANY of that, cut 1000 calories a day… then after a week, it all goes out the window. The weekend binge of 6000 calories on Friday and Saturday undoes all of the calories you’ve saved in the week, and does more damage than if you’d not bothered in the first place; and you went through 5 days of hell to get there.
If your diet is currently a “2 out of 10” – what do you need to do to improve and see a change…?
3 out of 10. It’s that simple.
If you normally have a large pizza on a Friday night – would your diet be better, would you be eating less calories, and would you see a change if you swapped that large pizza for a shish kebab or a burger?
You’ve swapped one “bad” food, for something slightly better. Do you need to change it for a bean salad? Probably not right now.
Is this change more acceptable to you? And are you more likely to succeed?
Find compromises that you’re happy with (salad may not be one of them right now) and are confident that you can do, and implement them.
If you swap the pizza for a lower calorie, healthier option, you’re on the right track.
If you can eat what you want, as usual, but just skip dessert – you’ve improved your diet and reduced calories. All without giving up the foods you love.
Like chocolate and can’t imagine not having any? Swap it for dark chocolate. You’ve just jumped from a 2 to a 3 out of 10.
The point is, you need to implement small changes that you can actually see yourself being able to stick to, without draining your self-discipline to the point that when someone offers you a piece of cake you want to bite their hand off or punch them in the face.
Take the guilt out of the foods you love, and just work on a slight calorie reduction through small changes. Trying to cut out bread? How about go for thin sliced wholegrain instead of thick sliced white? Another simple improvement that doesn’t leave you wondering what the hell you can eat for lunch.
Make small, easy changes for the better and gradually your diet will improve more and more. You only need to get from a 2 to a 3, then 3 to 4, and so on…
There are so many little changes and swaps you can make to improve your diet, don’t try to make them all at once or go straight for the big ones. Steady weight loss, without the stress, hunger and cravings is far better than rapid weight loss, feeling like s*** and inevitably failing a week or two down the line. And no-one wants to give up the foods they love for lettuce leaves!
You CAN have your cake and eat it, just a little bit less :)
A quick note on calorie reduction:
While it’s not quite as simple as it seems, the bottom line is you DO need to burn more calories than you eat to lose weight. But the clue there is “burn”.
Don’t drop too many calories out of your diet or you’ll cause a number of other problems that will be far worse in the long run, as well as being constantly hungry (which will chip away at your discipline and diet adherence).
If you drop 200 calories from your diet (a modest reduction and easily achievable for almost anyone), but also BURN 200 extra calories per day (again, a perfectly achievable amount), then you’ve just created a 400-calorie-a-day deficit – more than enough to see changes in body composition and weight loss.
This could be as simple as skipping dessert, having one biscuit instead of 3, taking 1 less sugar in your tea/coffee, having a square of dark chocolate instead of a bar of milk chocolate…
…and adding a 20-minute workout into your daily routine (or if you already workout, tweak your routine to burn more calories – switch from running on a treadmill to lifting some weights or circuit training for example).
Sit and have a think about how you can “improve” your diet, without trying to eat like a vegan supermodel, and find a form of exercise you’d be happy to spend 20 minutes of your day doing.
Then make those changes!
If you need more help, I offer one-to-one and group training out of Crayford gym. Visit www.DartfordBootcamps.com for more information on this, Nutrition Coaching, and Bootcamp classes.