What is first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word diet?
I bet that some of the things that you might think about would be restriction, tasteless food, small quantities, boredom, self-sacrifice etc.
But I have good news! It does not have to be like this, and I want to show you that a BALANCED DIET can be great.
Let’s start from beginning, I don’t like the word diet as it is connected with many bad emotions that people will have when they think how they tried to lose weight with FAD diets, detox diets, some “magic” pills, teas or shakes for fast weight loss. And unfortunately, there is still belief that this type of behaviour will get you results.
Well yes, it will give you what you want, a weight loss. But it will be very unhealthy and after the time of dieting most people tend to go back to old eating habits which causes a yo-yo effect and they go back to the weight of before they started and quite often even gain a lot more.
Why is that, you might ask?
First thing that come to my mind would be that those quick-fix diets are usually very limited with food options or the quantities are very small. So, what someone does when they are finally over with the diet that was so tasteless and boring? They eat whatever they have in sight and realize how much they missed the foods they like.
Secondly, many people on a restricted diet have very bad mood and no energy, because of not enough calories consumed and lack of vitamins and minerals. So again, what such person is doing after diet is finished? Trying to quickly compensate for the losses and eat as much as possible.
Above mentioned are only few of many reasons why most people’s effects don’t last long enough after such diets.
But there is a much better way to lose weight, and what’s best, to keep the results forever!
First what you need to know is that there is no shortcut to a healthy weight loss and long-lasting results. No quick fix, no magic, no easy way.
Ok, so as we have made this clear let me tell you what works if you want to stay healthy and maintain results.
Balanced intake of nutritious foods. Balanced diet.
Most important factor to consider depending on the goal is energy balance.
What is energy balance? That is, in simple words the energy you consume (calories in) vs energy you use (calories out or “burn”).
· To lose weight you need to be in a caloric deficit (consume less calories than you “burn”).
· To gain weight you need to be in a caloric surplus (consume more calories than you “burn”).
Secondly you need to think about all the macronutrients to consume like protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The ratio will depend on many factors such as personal goal, how active you are, what kind of food do you prefer etc. But there are some guidelines to live by:
· Protein – should be consumed in the amounts of 0.8-2.2g per kg of body weight depending on the goal, activities undertaken and current physical state.
· Carbohydrates – should be consumed in the amount roughly of 45-65% of total daily calorie intake.
· Fat – should be consumed in the amount of 20-35% of total daily calorie intake.
Usually protein should be calculated first, then fat and the remaining of calories should be consumed from carbohydrates. But this article I will not go into detail as the purpose is slightly different. I just wanted to give you some general insight on how the calories and macronutrients should be taken into a count when deciding on the meal plan.
So, let’s go back to the core of this post. How to adhere to a healthy diet you might ask? There is no simple answer for that. As many people that many theories and methods. But there are some things that you should keep in mind when deciding to try healthy eating.
1. Take small steps.
· Most people when they decide to change their life usually turn it around by 180 degrees and changing everything at once. For some people it will be ok, and they will stick to it, but for most unfortunately it is not. Many people won’t last very long as usually it takes some time for us to make something as a habit. So, try to take smaller steps at the beginning, get comfortable with a change and then change another thing.
2. Don’t have “all or nothing” approach.
· This is why most people fail to stick to a diet and change their eating habits for good. It is very hard not to side-track while dieting, but one not planned meal should not ruin your whole plan. I give you an example: in a day you normally will consume 3-5 meals, in a week that’s already 21-35 and in a month its 84-140, so do you really think that 1 meal that was not planned, like evening meal out every now and then will stop you from achieving your goal? No! But it might slow down the process if you consume such meals too often though. So, make sure whenever you decide to have that type of meal, whatever that might be, don’t feel guilty but also don’t let yourself go on a binge and instead of a cheat meal have a cheat day because that’s not good and will give you bad relation with food.
So, after that unplanned meal just come back to your plan with the next meal and carry on with a smile on your face!
3. Make sure you have realistic goals.
· That means don’t try to lose or gain weight to fast. If you have only 2 months till summer holiday for example and want to lose 10kg just know that it is not good idea. Although it is possible, it will not work in a long run. Ok, you might get into the swim shorts you always liked or that bath suit but there is a big chance that during that holiday and after you will come back to the starting weight or maybe even more. And second, loosing so much of weight will most likely have an impact on your mood and wellbeing.
4. Make a list of things that motivate you for a change.
· It is more likely that you will make a healthy eating a habit if you will remind yourself every now and then why you have started. So, my advice is, think for a minute what is really motivating you. It might be that there is some event coming your way that you want to be fit for, or maybe you want to be like your friend that is looking and feeling better than ever? Whatever it is for you, make sure it is a strong motivator and something that really will help you to stick to your goal.
5. Try to limit recreational foods in your cupboards.
· If you don’t have sweets or snacks in your house and every time you want something like this, you need to go to the shop it might turn out that you don’t want it as much. Or if you really want it and go to the shop on foot, at least you move a little bit more in that day so it’s always some positive.
6. Plan in advance.
· Shopping: when you go for the groceries try to have a list of things that you plan to eat during coming days. This will help to stay away from distractions and will make you put in the basket the things you really need.
· Travel or meetings: when you know that you have pre planned travel or business meeting at work and won’t be able to eat what you normally have at this time, then at least prepare something at home or if it’s not possible when you go out shopping or for a meal make sure to choose some healthy snacking options that are available.
7. Convince your partner or family members to change with you.
· Although I mention this only now, it is very important factor to consider while deciding to change your eating habits. It might be hard for you to eat healthy while the rest of the household eat pizzas, burgers, sweets etc. So, having them to change with you would really help as there wouldn’t be so many distracting foods in the house and everyone would eat the same and benefit from this with more time spend together as well as being more healthy and hopefully happy.
8. Include your favourite foods in your diet.
· After reading this you might think I’m crazy but let me explain. When planning your meal plan try to use 80/20 rule which means that 80% of foods and drinks should come from natural, healthy and unprocessed products and the 20% you can add some of the chocolates or donuts you like so much. Just make sure that the percentage is not the other way around! 🙂 This will stop you from thinking about all the sweet food through the week which usually ends as a weekend binge.
9. Be more active.
· And last but not least, add more activity to your life. Whether it is spontaneous movement like choosing stairs instead of a lift, walk instead of driving everywhere, cleaning the house, maybe gardening or you can choose planned exercise such as running, cycling, resistance training, etc. There is many benefit to exercise as you could read in my previous post about exercise (https://www.b3nfit.com/post/why-is-it-important-to-exercie), but the one that is best for me when it comes to nutrition is that if I burn more energy then I can eat more!
This list is not the only method and way to start eating healthy, but it definitely can be used as some anchor point to start. Having said that, without your mind set for change it will be really difficult for you to achieve what you have planned.
So, make sure that you really want it and are ready for change, your goal is realistic, try to mix the foods as much as possible and don’t be afraid to try different things so you don’t get bored.
I want to also share with you some statistics that researchers have found out in 2017 about poor nutrition and many illnesses and deaths that have caused.
The research from 2017 have estimated that globally in that year, poor diets were responsible for:
11 million deaths (22% of all adult deaths):
- 10 million deaths due to cardiovascular disease
- 913,090 deaths due to cancer
- 338,714 deaths due to type 2 diabetes
In 2014, approximately 462 million adults worldwide were underweight, while 1.9 billion were either overweight or obese.
Hopefully, you now understand how important it is to have a healthy eating habits and good relationship with food and it will only motivate you more for change.
I believe in your change, so should you!
And remember, don’t worry if you side-track sometimes, everyone can have their good and bad days, but what is really important is that you should just come back to your healthy routine after every time.
But if you already are a person that leads a happy, healthy lifestyle then that’s great. I’m really happy for you. So, please help me spread some awareness within your close circle, share this post and motivate people around you for change.
And if you don’t have particularly healthy lifestyle yet, hopefully I gave you some tools and knowledge to make right decision.
So, try it and believe in yourself! Remember, no one will do it for you.
I hope you found that article interesting enough and will go away with extra knowledge and a weapon to fight all the bad eating habits in your life.
Good luck! And stay tuned for more articles and tips how to lead a healthier, happier life.