Following on from last weeks blog post, I thought I’d also take a look into the other barriers we face when making lifestyle changes.
One of the main difficulties I’ve found we have when it comes to diet changes is firstly, we are usually disheartened when there are no immediate, noticeable changes – whilst it’s probably not what you want to hear, these things do take time and the important thing is to make sure the changes you make are long term and sustainable options that you can keep up and maintain for the foreseeable future. That way not only will you notice a difference in due course but you’re also more likely to keep on top of it, for the long term.
Secondly, many of us make changes to our diet but, even in more time, do not see the results we were looking for. A common habit is to make healthier choices, but as a result we get into a mindset where we feel we can eat as much of our healthy food as possible. Now if that sounds familiar and you are looking to lose weight, read on for some ways to check yourself:
1) make a food diary. Yes, I know – it’s a bit tedious but quite often we will eat without even realising, or not appreciate the volume of food or snacks we’ve actually consumed in a day. It doesn’t have to be a permanent diary, just for a week or two until you can get a clear overview.
2) try to reduce your processed foods, even though they may appear healthy on the packaging there is quite often hidden ingredients that we don’t always notice until closer inspection, or awareness – try making meals from scratch (they don’t have to be complicated) or make sure to read the ingredients…if you can’t pronounce it, it’s quite likely that you don’t need it in your diet!
3) make sure you are getting a wide variety of fruits and veg – don’t just eat the same thing day in, day out. All different foods have different nutrients and we need the variety for our body to function to it’s optimum – eating a variety of colours is a great place to start!
4) portion control. I have a tendency to overeat on the regular, mainly because I don’t like to waste (and also, I really do just love food). This can definitely be overcome by reducing the portion in the first place – if you find it easier use a smaller plate or bowl.
5) check for calorie dense foods, and portion appropriately. Essentially you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, or the calories you use during the day need to be larger than the calories you consume. If you are looking to maintain your current weight your calories used need to equal your calories consumed. If you have a very calorie dense meal, you will perhaps struggle to keep within “budget” for the rest of the day.
I will point out that I have never counted calories, but it can be a useful tool for short term to help you build awareness of what you’re eating and how it fits in with your lifestyle and body requirements but it also comes with a warning – it can be very easy to become obsessive about calorie counting and that is certainly not a long term sustainable way to live.
Hopefully these points will give you a starting point to investigating and building your awareness of food, happy eating!