A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to go away with a great group of friends for a girlie weekend in Bath. My first weekend away without the kids in so long that I can't even remember how long! As part of the weekend we decided to book ourselves into the Bath Spa. It was only as the weekend approached that I suddenly had a last minute panic about the fact that my body, which had been happily under wraps for the winter, was going to have to get into a swimming costume and make a public appearance.
With 1 week to go until the grand unveiling I decided I could just do with losing a pound or two first. I eat healthily most of the time so my plan was just to cut down on a few of the extras that have sneaked in to my daily diet (nibbles of the kids leftovers, extra snacks I don't really need etc). Nothing too drastic and really should be pretty easy for a Personal Trainer right? Wrong!! Because I had decided to cut back a little I spent the entire week constantly thinking about food. I craved food all day, felt hungrier than normal and ended up stuffing myself with way more than I normally would.
I don't weigh myself very often but i'm pretty sure that the end result was that I had put on weight by the time I came to put my swimming costume on. Of course, in the end, it really didn't matter. I was having a great time with my friends, who really couldn't care less what I looked like in my swimming costume.
For me this was a real reminder of what I already knew; DIETS DON'T WORK. As soon as we start to deprive ourselves of something or tell ourselves that we aren't allowed certain things, we crave them even more.
So whats the alternative? Think about the things that you need to put into your diet rather than the things you need to take out. What do you need to include everyday to ensure you are eating healthily and giving your body everything it needs to function well? Here is a good checklist to start with:
- Include good quality protein in every meal ( meat, eggs, fish, beans, nuts,lentils etc)
- Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg each day
- Eat regularly throughout the day. 3 meals a day plus 1-2 small, high protein snacks.
- Include good fats in your diet. Fat takes longer to digest so will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Plus lots of high fat foods also contain a huge number of nutrients that help to keep you healthy (choose things like nuts, avocado, olive oil, oily fish, nut butters, flaxseed)
- Drink plenty of water. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. If you want to look and feel your best then you need to stay hydrated.
- Include complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, oats etc
If you are trying to lose weight or eat better spend some time planning your meals around this checklist (there are many more things you could add but i always think its best to keep it simple to start with) . Don't worry about what you think you shouldn't be having, just make sure you are including everything above. Don't think of it as a 'diet', nothing is out of bounds, you are focusing on nourishing your body rather than depriving and punishing it.