While there are many diets out there, the basics never change. So here are the easiest and most effective ways to kick start your diet this January.
You will get the best weight loss results when you are able to follow a relatively strict regimen for a set period of time. This means at least 3-5 days without any extras rather than reverting to the “I have been good all day, so I deserve a treat at night trick”. The reason for this is that it takes several days of tight calorie control to induce fat loss which can be easily disrupted when little extras slip in every day.
CUT THE CARBS
A recent review completed by physicians at the Mayo clinic has confirmed what many of us have known for some time — when it comes to quick weight loss, cutting your carbs is the way to go. Not forever, but to get results initially and even for a period of 3-6 months, going easy on the pasta, rice, bread and potatoes does have its merits. And even better, you do not need to cut the carbs out entirely, a serve or two of fruit, lower carb bread or legumes a couple of times a day, along with an evening meal minus the potato, rice and pasta is all you need to do for a couple of weeks for a weight loss kick start.
REPLACE A MEAL
The more vegetables and salad we consume, the better it is for weight loss and a simple and effective dietary strategy is to simply replace one meal a day with soup, salad or vegetables. Try a large salad for lunch, or swap dinner for a soup or plain vegetables. This simple strategy will significantly reduce your calorie intake for the day while you are still consuming three meals each day.
DRINK LOADS OF WATER
Most of us walk around dehydrated which can be one of the reasons we feel tired, lethargic and hungry. Drinking at least two litres of still or sparking water every day is a simple way to help manage your appetite and reduce the total amount of food you are eating.
GO LIGHT AT NIGHT
Generally speaking we eat dinner much later than is ideal and for this reason, the later you have your evening meal, the lighter it should be. So if you are eating after 7pm or 8pm each night think omelets, soups, white fish and vegetables and salad.
WATCH THE CLOCK
The more calories you consume during the first 12 hours of the day the better it is for the hormones that control fat metabolism. This means breakfast by 8am, lunch by 1pm and dinner by 7pm to help allow 10-12 hours without food overnight.
FEED YOUR HUNGER
Hunger is a sign your body is burning food efficiently and when we are in control of our calorie intake we should feel hungry every 3-4 hours. At times when you are trying to lose weight, ignoring extreme hunger may result in you consuming too few calories to efficiently burn body fat. For this reason if you genuinely feel hungry in between your meals, add in a small protein rich snack such as a handful of nuts, a slice of cheese or some Greek yoghurt to help the calorie burn.
MOVE A LOT
When we team a low calorie diet with a lot of high intensity exercise the result can be a large calorie deficit between how much we are burning and how many calories we are eating. Too much of a deficit can slow down weight loss which is why plenty of movement when you are not eating a lot can trump exercise. This means lots of steps, at least 10000-12000 every single day.
FACTOR IN A TREAT
Diets fail because they are not sustainable; we do not like what we are eating and we miss the foods we love. Simply factoring in regular portion controlled treats at least every second day is an easy way to help support dietary compliance. Good options include a small bite size chocolate, a small coffee, a glass of wine or a restaurant meal out once a week.
Planning is the key to dietary success — knowing what you are going to eat in advance so you are not tempted when high calorie foods cross your path. This means taking time out to order groceries online or to get to the shops; pack your lunch the night before and know what you are having for dinner before someone suggests take away. This way you remain in control of your food decisions rather than becoming a victim of your food environment.