If you've ever tried dieting, chances are you will have come across times where you've found yourself frustrated, hungry and piling the weight back on as soon as you give up. Sound familiar?
It's so easy to get caught up in diet culture; trying out the latest juice cleanses or no-carb diets that are talked about by celebrities and advertised in magazines. But the reality is that dieting is difficult to sustain and, most of the time, only leads to short term results. A lot of diets focus on weight loss only without taking into account the nutrients that your body actually needs to function healthily. So instead of jumping into another unpromising diet trend, it's time to start making long-term changes to your lifestyle that will help you stay healthy, energised and, best of all, keep the weight off for good.
What changes can I make?
Low Calorie, Nutrient-Dense Foods
Eating foods that are full of fibre and nutrients but low in calories are great foods to be eating as they give your body energy whilst helping you feel fuller for longer. This means you're much less likely to grab an unhealthy snack later on in the day. So make sure you're eating lots of fruit and veggies to help fuel you through the day, as well as healthy whole grains and protein sources.
An Apple a Day
Eating something light, nutritious and low in calories before a meal is a great way to fill your belly so that you don't need to eat a huge meal. So try eating an apple or a green salad before you have dinner and you'll find that you're less likely to reach for that second helping.
Drink More Water
Another trick that is great for preventing us from overeating at mealtimes is to drink a glass or two of water before every meal. Drinking water, just like eating an apple, helps us to feel less hungry before we start a meal. Plus, hydration is SO important!
Avoid Animal Products
If you are serious about improving your overall health and keeping weight off for good, it's probably best to avoid animal products. Not only are meat and dairy products laden with saturated fat, but processed meat has been classified by WHO as a group 1 carcinogen - the same group as smoking and asbestos. Avoiding animal products also means that you are more likely to check foods labels and actually think about what you're putting into your mouth which can be a great way to cut down on highly processed junk food. If cutting out meat seems daunting to you, check out my Instagram post for some inspiration on easy switches to make.
The Perfect Meal
Unlike diets that tend to have you cutting things out of your plate, missing vital nutrients and going hungry, following a balanced plant-based diet is going to keep you in tip-top condition whilst leaving you full and satisfied. When preparing a meal, make sure you allocate half of your plate to vegetables, one quarter to healthy grains such as brown rice and the remaining quarter to a healthy source of plant-based protein. This will give you a balanced meal that keeps you full for hours and gives you all the nutrients you need, without being full of fat and calories. If you'd like some ideas for some tasty sources of plant-based protein, check out my blog post.
We all need to snack every now and then, but try to think about why you're snacking and whether the foods you’re reaching for are really going to keep you going until your next meal. When we’re hungry we tend to grab whatever we can, often highly processed carbs and sugary foods which will cause a spike in your blood sugar but leave you feeling hungry again pretty soon and reaching for yet another snack. So try preparing some healthy snacks to eat throughout the day, such as nuts, dried fruit and vegetable sticks.
Don't Forget Exercise!
As well as eating well, exercise is of course important for weight loss so make sure you're moving your body enough throughout the day. You don't need to be getting up at 5.30 every morning for an intense gym session or running a half marathon every day - just make sure to do something every day that gets your blood pumping. Even just a brisk walk or 20 minutes of yoga is really beneficial and, as a bonus, will help to boost your mental health, too.
I hope these tips have been helpful. If you’d like to learn more about losing weight without dieting, don’t hesitate to get in touch - I’d love to help you start your journey on transforming your life for good!