Life has a knack of reminding us just how incredibly unfair it can be at times, and when our weights and diets are concerned, it really doesn’t pull any punches or make any exceptions. Think about it – we all have foods which we enjoy eating, yet 90% of them are unhealthy for us and are packed full of unhealthy fats and calories that cause us to gain weight with seemingly even the tiniest mouthful. If you were to ask people whether they’d rather sit down to a delicious freshly baked cheese pizza, or a plate of steamed cod and vegetables, and you can pretty much already guess which food would come out on top. Just to add even more salt into the wounds, whereas we can find ourselves gaining body fat after just one or two days of poor dietary choices, to lose that extra body fat, we need to literally diet for weeks, possibly even longer. Dieting isn’t always a pleasant experience, but the end results when you become healthier, look healthier, look better, and feel better, both physically and mentally, are more than worth struggling. There are many different diets plans you can follow, some of which are healthy and some of which are ridiculous. If weight loss is your target however, there are certain things you can do to help ensure your diet is a success. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at the following handy tips.
NEVER starve yourself
The problem most people face when dieting is that they find themselves feeling constantly hungry and drained of energy, because they literally starve themselves and force their bodies into such an extreme calorie deficit that it literally enters starvation mode. Starvation is not only the LEAST effective way of losing fat, it’s also highly dangerous as well. When you starve yourself and go for prolonged periods of time without eating, your metabolism begins to get slower and slower and you have less and less energy as each hour passes by. The slower your metabolism, the less fat you will burn, and the less energy you will have to be able to exercise. Not only that, but starving yourself in this way actually causes your body to enter a catabolic state in which it eats away at your muscle tissue for energy. When dieting you should aim to eat around every three hours to keep your metabolism burning at full speed.
Count your calories
Nowadays, keeping count of how many calories you’re consuming each day has never been simpler. There are apps and spreadsheets available in which you can manually enter what you’ve eaten each day, or can even scan barcodes of these foods, enter the quantity you consumed, and then get an accurate reading of how many calories you consumed. Before you begin you will need to work out how many calories you need to consume to lose weight, which again is very simple thanks to modern technology. From there, basically log and count absolutely every single thing you eat and drink and count your calories at the end of the day. Put simply, if you consume more calories than your body requires, you gain weight. If you consume roughly the exact amount your body requires, you maintain your weight, and if you consume less than the body requires, you lose weight. To ensure you create enough of a deficit without dropping calories too low to slow down metabolic function, count your calories and why not make use of helpful apps and tools online.
Mix up your diet
Another problem many people tend to encounter when dieting is that they’ll find a healthy food/meal that they enjoy eating, but will then eat the exact same thing day in and day out, that before long they’ve grown sick and tired of it. To help make your diet a success, find a combination of foods, ingredients, and meals that you enjoy that are allowed on your diet, and make sure to mix things up so that you consume a variation of different things. Perhaps one day you could eat salmon stir fry for tea, the next day could be chicken curry, the next day could be steamed cod, and so on.
Enjoy the foods you eat
At the end of the day, you could stock your fridges and cupboards full to the brim of fresh and healthy produce and can eat as many as you like, but if you don’t enjoy eating them, eventually you will fail, no matter how disciplined you are. If you hate chicken for example, don’t eat chicken, even though it is low in fat and high in protein. Instead, find another lean cut of meat that you do enjoy eating. There are plenty of fresh, healthy, and delicious foods out there to choose from, so don’t deny yourself of a tasty and delicious meal because you’re worried some Z-list celebrity isn’t endorsing it as a miracle weight-loss food on their website.
Cook healthy versions of your favourite food
In the intro to this article we spoke about how pizza is such a popular yet unhealthy food choice for many people, and whilst that is true, there are a number of very simple ways of making healthy pizza that tastes great and allows you to lose weight. For example: taking wholemeal pita breads, spreading them with pureed tomato and fresh basil, before adding diced veggies and low-fat feta cheese or another low-fat healthy cheese, and baking them in the oven will produce a delicious alternative to pizza that tastes great, and still comes in well below your daily macros. You can do the same with pretty much any food you like because there are always ways of making dishes much healthier.
Never go hungry
Think about it – do you find yourself craving unhealthy foods when you’re full and satisfied after a meal, or when you’re hungry? You crave unhealthy foods when you’re hungry and so to help beat the cravings and the likelihood of you breaking your diet, never allow yourself to go hungry. If you do begin to feel peckish, drink some water and grab a healthy snack such as an apple, natural yoghurt and nuts, carrot sticks and hummus, etc… Eating a healthy snack will of course increase your daily calorie consumption, but it will still help prevent you suffering and torturing yourself thinking about whether or not to eat those cookies hidden in the back of the cupboard in the kitchen.