With everything from shakes and calories, restrictive plans to pills or celebrity fads, fat loss diets claim to make you slimmer, healthier and happier. Yet a 'die-it' as the name suggest, is often really just a painful means to a short-term result rather than a sustainable and satisfying solution.
Recent statistics have shown that dieters are likely to regain one to two-thirds of the weight they loss within the year, and almost, if not all of the lost weight within five years. The question then remains — why are diets so ineffective? Here are five simple tips to ensure a successful fat loss journey.
1. Adopt a healthy lifestyle over a diet
More of than not, being on a diet is usually a short term endeavour which not only results in extreme and often harmful eating habits (such as 'crash-dieting', but also 'diet-clock watching' — where you may develop an unhealthy focus on "letting loose" at the end of the suppressed eating regime) rather than focusing on the ultimate goal of health and wellbeing for the long term.
It is common to see people reward themselves with comfort foods once they can justify that the dieting period is over. Such actions can lead to guilt and emotional overeating, causing the individual to 'rebound' or 'relapse' in an extreme way, and put on more weight than when they first started the diet.
On the other hand, by embracing your new nutritional plan as a lifestyle change, you are consciously accepting the positive change in your eating habits to be a long-term action that will be part of everyday living. This paradigm shift is much more effective in eliminating the guilt and need to eat emotionally, and helps in maintaining focus on overall health and wellbeing in the long run.
2. Introduce only one change at a time
Small and steady changes are easy to introduce, remember and implement. Hold off other changes until you have successfully adapted to the first thing you wanted to change. This is how good habits are formed, sustained and built upon. For example, if you normally rush off to work with only a coffee in the morning, then having a small handful of nuts or an egg in the morning can be a great way of introducing breakfast as a habit. Once the action of eating something is cultivated, then you can look at improving what you eat during the meal.
3. Make smart substitutions
A sudden removal of a regular food from your routine can cause a void and lead to cravings and constant thoughts about that food. Choosing to substitute one food for a similar but healthier option is a gradual, but more effective way of removing that undesirable food habit. For example, if you have a habit of drinking a couple of bottles of beer or a can of sugary soft drink every night, start by substituting it with a glass of iced-soda water that will still leave you quenched and refreshed, but in a far healthier way!
4. Be creative with your meals
Whoever said that healthy food had to be blend, tasteless, and dull? One of the biggest problems in sustaining a diet is the lack of taste and variety in the food. This has the effect of deterring people from their new eating regimes. Be creative in introducing spices and herbs to flavour your foods. You'll be surprised at just how delicious healthy foods can taste.
5. Failing to plan is planning to fail
Not planning your meals in advance can lead to bad choices in foods especially when you are hungry. When you plan in advance (e.g. stock up your pantry with nuts rather than chocolate or prepare healthy ready-to-go meals) you are ensuring what you eat will be nutritious. On top of that, you'll also be less likely to make unhealthy and brash choices.
Benjamin Siong will be in Singapore to host a fatloss bootcamp taking place from 26 - 28 February at FiT Singapore. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Benjamin Siong
Benjamin Siong is Australia's leading Body Composition Specialist, and the Founder of Australian Strength Performance, a high performance company focused on athletic performance, sports psychology, physique transformations and optimal nutrition. Ben is also a level 4 Poliquin Strength Coach, ISSN Sports Nutrition Specialist and a highly sought after Fitness Presenter. His expertise lies in combining specific training protocols with optimal nutrition and supplementation — all individualised and specifically tailored to help the athlete accelerate their progress and achieve their goals.