Especially after the festivities of the new year and all the parties and food that entails, it's at this time of the year that people think "Ok, time to get serious, I'm going to start eating healthy". It's time like these when they search for easy options and quick fixes as they want to see drastic results, fast! That is great if you need that bit of a kick-start on your weight loss journey as seeing those results will help motivate and push you to go further. However, picture this ... You sacrifice lots of social nights out (which you inevitably do when you put yourself on a diet), you deprive yourself of all our favourite foods and finally get to your optimal weight. You then sigh with relief, go back to eating how you were before only to discover that after a week you've put the weight back on! Unfortunately the amount of stories I've heard llike that is endless.
Trust me, I know exactly how daunting and how hard it can all seem. Believe me, I do. I used to consider eating vegetables as Potatoes and Carrot (Zucchini, um what's that!?), would think nothing of having numerous serves of pasta a day (yep sometimes could have been for both lunch and dinner) and who was I kidding... if anyone had have mentioned the words Bok Choy to me I probably would have thought it was some yoga pose. But making small changes gradually has completely changed my outlook on food.
I know you think you have to cut out lots of foods and reduce the amount that you eat to lose weight, but I've found quite the opposite actually. I have never been eating so much in my life. However, I am eating more frequently. This means that the portion sizes that I am eating are reduced and the types of food that I eat are completely different and a lot more nutritious than what I was eating before. A bit off topic but a funny story... I had just gotten back from a week away and after going to supermarket was walking back into my apartment block when i saw my 95 year old neighbour. When he saw me with 6 bags of groceries he said "Oh are you having a party". I then just had to laugh and replied " No, that was just a quick shop as I just got home and needed essentials". To which his jaw dropped and said "You sure eat a lot for a little person!"
So, here are some of my tips to be able to eat healthy, feel better, not deprive yourself of any of your favourites and create a nutrition plan you'll stick too.
Look at the big picture - Whether its 5kg, 50kg or you just want to start eating better, look at the whole picture. Don't beat yourself up if you decide to have a piece of chocolate one day. Don't throw in the towel and think "screw it, I've already stuffed today I'll start again tomorrow". You need to praise yourself for all the changes that you have made and realise that one meal is just that, one meal, out of the many millions that you'll eat in your life.
It's not about a diet but a lifestyle change - As said above, eating healthy is not about a quick fix, it's about a lifestyle change and something that you are able to sustain for the long term.
You don't have to give up your social life - Any changes that you make in your diet have to allow you to be able to have a social life and be able to eat out (because who wants to be a hermit their whole life). It's about learning what the good choices are to have when dining out at restaurants and portion sizs.
Fresh is best - You can't get enough of fresh fruit and vegetables, they'll provide you with all the essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function at it's best.
Don't be scared of Carbs - One of the things that everyone thinks they have to do is eliminate carbohydrates from their diet. This ties into the next point about not eliminating anything from your diet, just substituting. It is also about what time of day to eat carbohydrates, the most in the morning and reduce them as the day goes on. Also which carbohydrates are the best to eat - think brown rice, sweet potato, pumpkin and soy-linseed/rye bread.
Don't eliminate anything just substitute - One of my golden rules is to not eliminate anything from your diet, unless obviously you are intolerant to something. The minute that you deprive yourself of some food group is when you start craving it. Remember the old saying "we always want what we can't have". It's about substituting for healthier alternatives, instead or milk chocolate or white chocolate, having a square of 70% dark chocolate. Swapping white bread for Soy and linseed, wholemeal or rye breads.