Liz's Top Tips
Follow the 90% Rule
Loving your food is essential to maintaining a healthy diet so keep the balance by following the 90% rule. If 90% of your diet is from nutritionally full foods and drinks then go and enjoy the odd takeaway or double choc chip dessert. You may find the less you have the less appealing they become.
Listen to your Cravings
Studies show that you are more likely to crave for protein rich foods such as nuts, seeds or meat if you are really hungry but less likely to crave for them when you are not. If you have a high calorie carb craving it may be more to do with feeling a bit down or tired which is better resolved in a none food way.
Our plates, cups, bowls and glasses seem to get bigger and bigger and so have our portion sizes. If you use smaller sized crockery you will automatically eat less. Here are some visual examples of recommended portion sizes to use as a comparison:
• One domino piece = serving of cheese
• Deck of cards = serving of meat or fish
• Tip of your thumb = serving of peanut butter
• Compact disc = serving of cereal, rice or pasta
It's easy to hang around after eating and pick at food so make sure you have something arranged to do as soon as you have finished. It doesn't need to be a chore, it could be a DVD, exercise or anything that makes a more pleasurable diversion!
Plan your meals and shop for them with a list. Avoid bulk buying or BOGOFs if you know you can't resist food around the house.
If you get a food craving or want seconds then wait 20 minutes and see if you are still hungry. Studies show it takes around 20 to 30 minutes for fullness to form so be patient and give your digestive system time to respond.
Take it Slowly
The healthiest way to lose weight is slowly and steadily. Starving yourself is not a sustainable option; it triggers quick fix calorie food cravings and leaves you nutritionally deficient. Your aim is to find a diet for life, one that is satisfying and makes you feel good. When it comes to diet, think health first and the weight will sort itself out.
Food does have a feel good factor but the energy it generates needs to be utilised, otherwise you end up feeling tired and lethargic. Our brain will always take the easiest option so a microwave meal on the sofa may be your first thought but being on the go can make you feel fantastic. Under stress or living a sedentary life food can easily become your main source of positive stimulation. Find another less edible way of getting a happy fix by getting out and active.
If you want to improve your diet then completing a food diary over a week is an ideal way of pinpointing any problems but you need to be honest about what you are already eating. This includes finishing off leftovers, nicking off someone else's plate or not counting your food stash in the car. Even if you don't acknowledge them, these calories still count and omitting them is a sure sign your dietary balance is out.
If your brain doesn't know when the next meal is coming it is more likely to encourage energy hoarding so when food does appear, your instinct will be to stuff yourself. Regular meals stabilise your metabolism making you less likely to crave or overeat.
Don't Feed Stress
Under stress we tend to crave empty calories high in sugar and fat to give us a quick fix energy boost. Our nutritional demands are much higher under stress so actually we need to take extra dietary care. Ongoing negative stress can also emotionally generate a compulsive craving. Recognise these stress cravings and fuel yourself with fulfilling foods rather than trying to run on empty.
It is always advised that professional medical advice is obtained on all personal health matters. The information given here is a general guideline only. Any changes to diet or health regime should be done so under the supervision of a health professional. Dietary approval must first be sought from their medical health professional by anyone with an existing health condition especially if it is digestive or diet influenced. Neither the publisher nor the author accepts any legal responsibility for any personal injury or other damage or loss arising from the use or misuse of the information supplied.