It’s that time of year again. I will not drink, I will not eat chocolate, I will go to the gym every single day. I’ve said it before…yes you will, yes you will and no you won’t, respectively!
I had a fascinating chat with a sports therapist recently, about people trying to lose weight. We had been discussing the importance of diet AND exercise when it comes to losing weight and being healthy, and he made the interesting (and in my experience, very true) observation:
You can’t lose weight without changing your diet, you can’t keep the weight off without doing exercise.
That’s right. You can diet till you’re blue in the face, but even if you stick to it, the weight will creep back on again unless you exercise. Equally, you can train 6 days a week for an hour a day, but if you’re still shovelling in the rubbish you always have, it ain’t going to help!
I’ve covered exercise many times before in this blog, so I thought I’d put a few quick hints about diet here. It’s very simple, effective, and you will start to notice a difference almost immediately.
1. Never skip a meal. Tempting, I know, but it really doesn’t help. Try reducing the size of each portion to achieve the reduction in calorie intake. Skipping meals has two problems – one, it makes you hungry, and you’re more likely to give in to cravings for bad food later; two, it can cause your metabolism to slow down, meaning your body uses less energy and converts the calories you do take in straight to fat.
2. Stay clear of “bad” carbs. Not all carbohydrates are bad (a fact the Atkins’ diet singularly fails to appreciate!). In fact, whole grain foods such as wholemeal bread, brown rice and brown pasta are really good for you. They contain many beneficial nutrients and also help by increasing the fibre in your diet. Not only does this help you feel more full for longer, but it also keeps your gut healthy and reduces the risk of bowel cancer in later life. “Bad” carbs (white bread, cake, white rice, pastries etc) not only miss out on a lot of the nutrients and the fibre, but they’re also often full of sugar and additives. Not good!
3. Lower your sugar intake. Sugar is the root of all evil. Well, maybe that’s not quite true, but it really doesn’t help anything. It can’t be totally avoided – and I don’t think it should be – but by trying to steer clear of foods which have a high sugar content and taking small steps such as cutting down or eliminating sugar in your tea and coffee, you will soon find you actually have more energy, feel less tired, have a better complexion…not to mention tiny little things like avoiding type II diabetes and tooth decay!