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Why Diets Don't Work (And What To Do Instead)

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

After trying every diet out there, I realised that it didn’t matter what diet I tried, it wasn’t going to work for me (or anyone) long-term. This is mostly down to how restrictive diets are.

Dieting is like taking a toy away from a child – when they aren’t allowed the toy, they will kick and scream until they get it. However, if the toy was handed straight to them, they probably would have played with it for 5 minutes and then discarded it.

When you deprive yourself of something whether it be toy as a child or certain foods, the more you will think about it, the more desirable it will become, and the more you will crave it.

Say it was chocolate biscuits that your diet says you can’t have anymore. You’ve been doing really well but after a couple of weeks, you finally cave. You would probably finish off the whole packet of biscuits easily, right? But without the diet, if you fancied something sweet, maybe would have chosen a piece of fruit or maybe you would’ve simply enjoyed a biscuit or 2 with your cup of tea?

Another reason why diets don’t actually help you lose weight is because of the effect they have on your metabolism. When you starve yourself on a diet, it causes your body to go into survival mode because it doesn’t know when the next meal will come. This can completely mess up your natural metabolism and can cause weight gain.

The final reason why diets don’t work is because they are too broad. You are an individual, and what your body needs and wants is different from the next person. What your body needs and wants also can also change on daily basis, depending on hormones, moods, weather, time of day, schedule. So why should you be following someone else’s diet, whether it be the keto diet, paleo diet or a supermodels meal plan?

To learn more about how hormones effect our food choices, join me & Rachel from Oxted Acupuncture for our live on TNA’s Facebook page - Tuesday 3rd November at 7pm!

So now you know why Weight Watchers or that no carb diet hasn’t helped you shift any weight, here’s what you should be doing instead:

1. Be picky about your food. Forget what mum & dad said, you can be a picky eater! If you’re not enjoying your food, then you’re wasting it just as much as you would if you threw it in the bin. Slow it right down to really enjoy and taste your food. The more in tune you become with what your body likes, wants and needs, the easier it will be to keep up with your nutrition.

2. Plan ahead. A lot of the time, we choose the unhealthy option simply because it’s convenient. All you need to do is make the healthy option as convenient as possible. Instead of picking up snack from the corner shop, you could carry some healthy snacks with you on the go. Or instead of the boring meal deal, you could bring lunch to work. I find that the easiest way to pack a lunch is to just cook double the amount for dinner and pack the remaining portion in a Tupperware for lunch the next day – always cook once eat twice! Planning ahead can also include planning in a dessert. If you have a sweet tooth and it’s something you are really feeling, don’t deprive yourself of it. Simply plan a healthy dessert into your meals and enjoy it! Maybe a banana with peanut butter will do the trick?

3. Make time to sit down properly and eat your meals. Try to avoid eating meals on the go or in front of the telly/at your desk. Sitting down properly to eat will increase enjoyment and make you less likely to graze later because your mind has forgotten you’ve eaten because you weren’t paying attention. You are also more likely to notice when you are full rather than mindlessly eating until your plate is empty.

4. Fill your food with as much colour & flavour as possible. I challenge you to fit as many different colours on your plate to get the most nutrients out of your meals. Many people think healthy food is bland and boring, but it doesn’t need to be that way! Need healthy, easy & yummy recipe inspo? Check out our live Coach’s Kitchen every Tuesday evening in my Facebook group here where I cook a super quick, delicious and nutritious dinner while having a chat, and answering any questions you may have.

5. Tuck into your veggies and protein. Filling your plate with mostly protein and vegetables will also fill your stomach, leaving less room for the foods higher in fat and calories. At buffets, I always try to have a plate of veggies and some protein like chicken or fish first. Then I wait 20 minutes, and if I am still hungry, I will go and try some of the other things I fancied.

6. Pay attention to how you feel after eating. Did you feel lousy, lethargic, and tired after eating that pizza? Compare that with how you felt after eating some fish, quinoa and veggies? I often feel rubbish after eating certain foods, so by remembering how they make me feel, it helps me choose the healthier option.

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