“I’m on a diet”. How often we hear these words spoken today, yet as a nation we’re all becoming increasingly heavier.
Could we be the victims of faulty reasoning? When we hear the word “diet” we automatically think of all the things we can’t eat; cakes, biscuits, crisps, chocolate, ice cream, puddings, pastries and sauces, and our hearts sink. Automatically we face failure because it’s impossible to keep depriving ourselves forever from the things we love to eat.
Most of us have been on a diet more than once. We start our new regime enthusiastically enough; proudly refusing to eat any of the above during the first couple of weeks when our weight loss is at its highest peak. Just a few short weeks or months down the line however, when the rate we lose weight seems to slow right down or even stop, we’re ready to give in when tempted by the foods we love but know we shouldn’t eat.
No wonder we fail! Gradually we slip back into eating these foods from “Just one won’t hurt me” to eating them daily. Yet, maybe it’s our perception of “diet” that’s causing our failure to lose weight. “Diet” used to mean the total of what an individual generally ate. It did not relate to banned foods, it described those foods available to an individual owing to geographical and social constraints. Everybody has a diet, not only those who wish to lose weight.
If we were to abandon this negativity and spend our time more positively striving to eat more of the healthier foods, we would probably find ourselves gradually losing weight anyway. Packing in the recommended daily minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables is quite filling, even more so now it’s been upped to seven portions. Add to this eating more nuts, seeds, whole grains and pulses and we’d soon find our appetites fully satisfied, especially when we realize there’s no limit to eating those healthier foods. We can eat as much as we want of these and it’s good for us. Stop buying specially prepared slimmers’ meals and seek out the huge variety of exotic fruits and vegetables displayed in supermarkets today. Prepare more of your own meals and be inventive when cooking. Try alternative methods of cooking that use less fat, or fruit instead of sugar. Bake with whole wheat flour and sugar substitutes incorporating lots of fruit.
Once our mentality changes from “can’t have” to “must eat more of …” the urges will lessen, especially once we’ve told ourselves no foods are forbidden. Yes, we can have the odd piece of chocolate or whatever we fancy, just make it a small portion and only once in a while. When we know we can have it when we want it, we stop needing it so urgently. We may even find, with our new healthier eating habits, the urges for unhealthy stuff diminishes. Wouldn’t that be great!