If you have ‘gone on a diet’ several times with great determination but have found it impossible to stick to it, what you really need is to learn the ‘tricks’ that will make you continue. Dieting is about options and not restrictions. It is not about eating the minimum quantity of food that you can handle, but about making the right choices. Sometimes a minor modification in your diet can help make a massive change in the way you look.
- Change one bad habit at a time and replace it with a good one. Rome was not built in a day. If you are used to eating large meals or eating high-calorie foods at every meal, it is difficult for your body to switch requirements overnight. For example, if you are used to having a burger or fried chicken every evening at 7pm, change it to a vegetable sandwich and eventually to fruits and you won’t find the transition so difficult.
- Make eating a pure activity. Some of us don’t realise how much we eat because of mindless eating. So, take 10 minutes out from your schedule, switch off the TV or put aside that phone and focus on what really goes into your mouth.
- Eat slowly and chew thoroughly. If you have heard this several times before, it’s because it is a tried and tested method. Chewing your food slowly helps to mix it well with saliva and break it down to smaller pieces that can be digested easily. Studies show that it takes 20 minutes after the food is in your stomach for it to register in your brain and only then do you get the feeling of fullness. So, eating slowly will make sure you eat lesser and stop when you are full.
- Don’t call attention to yourself when you are eating out with friends. You might have noticed the minute you announce at a meal that you are on a diet, all the focus shifts to how little you are eating and how you can eat that chocolate pastry ‘just for today’. Don’t call attention to yourself by eating too quickly, linger on your smaller portions, so that you do not finish the meal fast.
- Use a small plate/bowl. Using a smaller plate, especially at a buffet, will ensure that you serve yourself smaller helpings. While if you use a big plate and take smaller helpings, chances are that you will go back for seconds.
- Rid your house of inappropriate stuff. If you do not hoard stuff like chips, cookies, chocolates, then how will you end up eating them? Hoard stuffs like high- fibre biscuits, popcorn, flavoured yogurt instead, so when you ‘snack’, you snack healthy.
- Take only enough money while shopping. There are new and tempting products everyday in the market. Who doesn’t want to try out the ‘new chips’ with 35 per cent lesser fat? But if you are carrying just enough money for the necessary requirements, chances are you will come home without chips and the remainder 65 per cent fat.
- Shop for food when you are not hungry. If your energy metre is already low, you are going to reach out for chips and chocolates. The reason? Your body is craving instant energy. So make sure you eat something before heading to the supermarket, so that it is your brain that makes the decision of what to buy and not your hunger pangs.
- Involve yourself in hobbies that do not involve food. Sometimes we eat just because we have nothing else to do. So find a hobby that does not involve food, get involved in it and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to control your appetite.
- Find out your hogging triggers. Do you eat when you are angry? Or when you are stressed? Is food your way of fighting boredom? Or is it your cure for loneliness? Whatever it is, find the reason for reaching out to food and deal with the problem. Find a creative solution to it or else you’ll end up angry/stressed/bored/lonely and fat.
- Maintain a food diary. Yes, it’s a boring job and nobody enjoys doing it. But if you want a true insight into your food habits and into why you are gaining weight, this is the best way. Write down everything you eat from day-to-day and look back every now and then. This will help you to find a way to change your eating habits.
- Never be stranded without food. Always carry a fruit in your bag. It will prevent you from reaching a point when you ‘faint with hunger’ and could eat even the tablecloth. Believe me when you are that hungry the last thing on your mind is ‘choosing the right food’. So carry an emergency ration or two in your bag so you can use your good sense to choose your food wisely.
Dieting is a lot about focus. So many times people launch on a so-called diet programme, but their focus remains on all that they cannot eat. The result? They end up eating all the wrong foods because that’s what they are constantly thinking about. Focus on all the options you have and think about how good food is going to be healthy. Then, nothing can stop you from achieving your weight loss goal!