June 12, 2021
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So how many times have you said 'I'm going to go on a diet?' How many times did it fail? The fact is we are all on a diet. What we eat now is our diet. Psychologically it's better to be in the mind frame that you are altering your diet rather than starting a whole new one.

Here are a few tips to help solidify your diet changes.

1. Tell anyone and everyone.
When you are trying to make some positive changes to your diet, tell all the people around you. This includes friends, family, work colleagues or anyone else you are frequently in contact with. The more people you tell about you dieting goals, the more accountable you will be held as these people will be interested and frequently ask you how your changes are going.

2. 21 'No Matter What' days
Getting started with a diet change is always the hardest part as you have to get out of your usual routine until the new diet BECOMES your routine. It usually takes about 3 weeks until any change becomes somewhat permanent so you need 21 days of m=no matter what. This means you stick to your new diet changes NO MATTER WHAT! It doesn't matter if you have a party coming up or you are going on holidays, if you don?t make the changes now, chances are you won?t later on as there will always be an excuse.

3. Plan ahead
It usually takes a little planning for a successful change to your diet. This might mean sitting down at the start of the week, planning all meals and writing out a grocery list of everything you will need for the whole week.

If you work long hours or don?t have time to cook, try cooking up multiple meals on the weekend and freezing them for use during the week.

4. No drastic changes
If you make too many extreme changes to your diet in a short period, chances are you won?t be able to stick with it for too long. You?ve probably been eating the same diet for years and to change it all suddenly is difficult. Sure there are some people that can do it cold turkey but if you can?t, instead of a total overhaul it?s better to gradually make changes. Some ideas for gradual changes include cutting out soft drink/alcohol, reducing portion sizes or making better choices for snacks.

5. Water is your friend
I am confident that the majority of people reading this article do not drink enough water daily. The amount of water you should drink varies from person to person depending on your weight and how active you are. The minimum a healthy adult should drink is 1.5L per day. This is easy to do if you carry a drink bottle around with you or keep a jug of water at your desk.

Among the many other benefits of drinking water, it helps us to feel satisfied and keeps the hunger at bay. Many times when we think we are hungry, in actual fact our body is telling us that that it?s thirsty. The problem is we usually eat something instead of drinking water but it still triggers the body to feel satisfied. Next time you feel hungry, try drinking water instead.

6. Why are you eating?
Next time you open the fridge or reach for the pantry door, ask yourself why you are reaching for the food. Do you want it as you are truly hungry or are you bored or even stressed? When our mind is not preoccupied on a task, food tends to comes to mind. Ever notice how when you are engrossed in something such as a work project or other hobby, you can go for half a day without even thinking about eating, but when you?re sitting at home bored out of your brains you raid the kitchen every 15mins?

Next time you think you hungry out of pure boredom go for a walk around the block or go clean your room. You might find that those hunger pains disappear.

7. Put up signs
This ties in with #6. I have some clients put a sign on their fridge/pantry door with a saying along the lines of ?Do you need it?? Anytime they go to get some food, they stop, think and ask themselves if they really need it or not. The clients soon start to work out if they really need the food or if they are just bored or even eating emotionally.

You could even put a little note in your wallet saying something similar to stop you buying food you don?t need when you are out.

8. Have a cheat meal
When eating so well for an extended period of time, you should be rewarded! A cheat/reward meal is a meal where you eat your favourite food and not feel guilty. This may be pizza, fish and chips, chocolate cake?.whatever you choose, just make sure it is reasonable (A whole pizza, $5 worth of chips or a whole cake is not reasonable!) A cheat meal now and then is good as it is a reward for your dedication for your diet and helps to keep the cravings at bay. A cheat meal could also help you out as it raises your metabolism above normal for period of time after the meal. This means you are burning fat at a higher rate even after you finish the meal.

9. If its not around, you cant eat it
This ties in with #8. You should NEVER have the less than desirable foods in the house. If it?s there you will probably eat it. If you are going to have a cheat meal, make sure you go out and buy it and then bring it home. That way it?s not around the house when you don?t deserve it and then there is no more around the house so you can?t go back for seconds (or thirds!).

If you only have healthy foods in the house and go off the rails a bit and have a binge eating session, at least the damage will be minimal as you have don?t have any foods high in sugar and saturated fats to eat.

10. Spice up your life
Herbs and spices are your best friends when improving your diet. Low calorie sauces and salad dressings are also helpful. At first the healthy foods you eat might taste a little bland because fats and sugars are usually what adds flavour to food. A personal favourite of mine is diced chicken breast cooked in a pan with soy sauce and Moroccan seasoning. Be creative and come up with your own combinations.

By Julian Gaylor (B App. Sci Human Movement)

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