Gain control of your diet and weight by following these 10 wise rules.
- Fuel up frequently. Eat a little and often, and you’ll give your body a constant supply of energy which will help you to avoid cravings.
- Think before you eat. Consider why you want to eat something. Is it because you’re hungry? Or because you’re stressed, bored, lonely, angry or depressed? If it’s not hunger, will that sugary indulgence actually solve the problem, or just make you feel worse?
- Avoid food shopping on autopilot. Stop repeating your bad habits week after week. Buy something healthy that you’ve never tried before, or flick through a recipe book for inspiration. A varied and interesting diet will help to satisfy the appetite better and is more nutritious. Aim to try a new healthy food or dish every week.
- Never buy “foods you can pick at”, such as crisps, chocolates and peanuts. Once the packet has been opened it’ll be hard to stop, so best not having them in the house at all. It’s a slippery slope!
- Take control. Prepare your own foods rather than eating out or buying take-aways and pre-prepared foods. Put yourself in charge of the ingredients list and portion sizes. Your salad may taste better with a thick dollop of mayonnaise, but do you really need it? Is it more important for you to reach your weight loss goal, or have a salad that tastes marginally better?
- Opt for wholegrain foods. We digest them slowly, so they’ll make you feel fuller for longer. Look for wholegrain bread, pasta, breakfast cereals and brown rice.
- Steer clear of foods with a lot of added sugar. Watch out for words, such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, hydrolysed starch and invert sugar, corn syrup and honey on the ingredients list. If you see one of these near the top (they always start with the biggest ingredient first), you know the food is likely to be high in added sugars.
- Give a very wide berth to high fat foods. Again, check the ingredients list. High is more than 20g of fat per 100g, and low is 3g of fat or less per 100g.
- Under no circumstances be a plate cleaner! Think about how much food you are consuming in each sitting. Stop eating when you feel satisfied, not stuffed. Eat slowly, your fork is not a shovel. Your brain doesn’t start signalling feelings of fullness until 20 minutes after it actually is, so take your time and give your body the chance to recognise that you’ve had enough to eat.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Not only is it highly calorific, but it also reduces your will power and ability to say no to alluring fatty foods. You also maybe a little less angelic with your food choices the morning after!
Good luck and remember that you're allowed to break the rules every now and then. Just put yourself back on track as quickly as you can, and don't make a habit of it!