The 5:2 Diet, the Dukan Diet, the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet – these are just four of the leading diets that thousands of people start every single day in the hopes of achieving one shared goal: to lose weight. If you were to stop 100 people on the street today and ask them whether they associate the word “diet” with something positive or negative, you already know what their answer would be.
Yet despite this, we spend millions of dollars on books and plans that introduce strict regimes in order to help us be healthier and “shed the pounds”. Do they work? Sometimes. Are they sustainable? Rarely. Is dieting the best and most enjoyable way to lose fat and get healthy? Well, that’s up for discussion.
But what if there were a better way to approach weight loss that was fun, simple, and didn’t seem like a chore? That’s what can happen if you simply cut the word “diet” from your dictionary.
Follow these five steps to get rid of the “diet” in your life whilst still working to get healthy, lose weight, and look after your body.
Look at Food Differently
Somewhere along the way, food has become the devil when it should really be the thing that you look forward to having every day. When you eat food in its natural form, you are filling your body with the nourishing nutrients that it needs – and wants – to survive. Start experimenting with different recipes and be proud of what is put on the table. It should get your mouth watering and your eyes widening! Good food is exciting and delicious and should be thought of as just that, rather than something to be avoided and restricted.
Write a Five-Day Food Diary
This a great step to gaining an insight into how you can change your life and be healthier in the right way, without the need for a strict regime. We are creatures of habit and therefore, when we’ve done something for so long, we tend to forget what it actually is or how much we actually are consuming. For five days, eat as you normally would and write down everything that passes your lips, be it food or drink. At the end of the diary, have a look and circle the healthy things in one color and the unhealthy in another.
Then, set a reasonable goal for the next week that includes halving, or even completely cutting out, a few of the unhealthy circles. Keep going like this and you’ll soon end up with a diary full of goodness. You’re far more likely to continue with this way of nutritious living as opposed to barely eating for five days a week!
Decide on Your No-Nos
There are some things that, in any quantity, are simply just not good for the body and can easily be replaced with healthier foods. Fizzy drinks and deep-fried doughnuts are probably the top two! Being healthy doesn’t mean that you can never have a naughty treat again, but try choosing something that’s not so bad for your body. Make sensible choices.
Focus on the Quality, Not Quantity, of Calories
Whilst it’s true that, at the core of losing fat, you must consume less calories than you burn, it goes far beyond a simple mathematical equation. Losing weight is a combination of the amount of calories you eat and what’s actually in the calories, especially when it comes to long-term results. An avocado, for example, may have a high calorie count, but the calories from one avocado are far more easily used and incorporated into the body than the calories from a piece of French toast, and therefore significantly less likely to be stored as fat. Not to mention that eating good quality calories means you are not sending the body on an up-and-down sugar spiral, which is when losing fat becomes incredibly tiring and difficult.
Do Your Homework
Learning about what’s good and what’s bad for your body may sometimes foster a little confusion because of the wealth of conflicting information that’s available. However, stick to the basics and it makes everything a little clearer. “Green is good” is rule number one – unless it’s green food coloring in a cake filled with sugar; that’s not so good. The more you learn about the effects of nutritious foods, the more pleasure you’ll get from eating them.
Carly Rothman is the blogger behind LeanLivingGirl, a health and fitness website based in Dubai.