Like most people looking to lose weight, I’ve been through my fair share of diets, always looking for the best, before finally finding something that worked. The funny thing is, it wasn’t some far-out diet plan or unheard-of trick, instead it was simply about getting back to basics and eating how mother nature intended: raw, natural foods from the earth consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates. In other words, if it’s man made, either eat it sparingly or don’t eat it at all. If you follow this rule and use calorie-controlled portions, you really can’t go wrong. Learn more about diets that work here.
I know it’s hard to look beyond the calories and fat. I used to buy nothing but low fat, fat free and sugar free food, fearing that if I had one bite of “regular” food I would turn into a balloon. Products are marketed to appear appealing to those that are struggling with their weight and diet. “Sugar, fat and calories are the enemy and that is why I have love handles.” Our bodies need a healthy dose of fat, sugar and, most importantly, REAL food to function. Here are some general food rules that work, regardless of the diet you choose.
1. Read the labels – Looking at some ingredients of some processed foods can be like trying to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics. To make things easier, just follow this simple rule: If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it! Naturally, also be on the lookout for high sodium, sugar and trans fats.
2. Eat healthy fats – There’s a big difference between the fats found in a Twinky and those found in avocados, nuts, olive oil and flax seed. These will help you fill up, not out.
3. Savor the taste – If your eating patterns resemble that of a hungry Labrador at dinner time, it’s time to slow down. Savor each bite to increase satiety and give your digestive system time to work its magic.
4. Make healthy eating a family affair – The main thing that separates diets that don’t work from those that do is how you view and treat them. Since this is a lifestyle change, involving your hubby and your children in the process and helping them understand the importance of eating well will further increase your chances of success.
5. Avoid processed and refined foods – You knew this one was coming! Things like white flour, sugar, bread and pasta can damage insulin control which can lead to unwanted fat gain. Instead, look for ‘complex’ alternatives that taste better and are healthier.
Most importantly, take small steps, educate yourself and mentally prepare. Diets don’t work for a reason but this is not a diet – it is a way of life and eating. Read online blogs, buy magazines but most importantly do it for your health. You have one body – feed it well!