Vegetables should take up around 50 per cent of the room on your plate. This way you’ll have less space for the higher calorie foods and you’ll be getting plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
2. Cut down on sugary foods:
Calories found in fluids do not trigger feelings of fullness as effectively as those contained in solid foods. So the calories in a can of full-sugar cola (or sugary tea) are likely to end up on your hips. Fruit juice is OK if you stick to one glass (around 100 calories) a day, as it’s a great source of vitamin C. Milky drinks are the exception and can be relatively filling on account of their protein and calcium content. A skinny latte (around 102 calories) makes a healthy snack, as long as you avoid the accompanying muffin.
3. Identify weak moments:
Registered dietitian Dr Sarah Schenker says, ‘Think about the type of situations that often lead you to reach for high calorie foods. If you can pinpoint when you are most likely to make unhealthy eating choices – often when you’re short of time, bored at home or stressed at work – this will allow you to plan ahead and be prepared.’ Make sure you always have healthier more nutritious snacks to hand, like fresh fruit and unsalted nuts, and even frozen homemade meals, for those occasions when there’s no time to cook.
4. Resolve to be guilt-free
If you go off track and scoff a whole packet of biscuits, don’t sabotage your future success by telling yourself you’ve blown it. ‘Beating yourself up is counterproductive as you will probably just end up eating more food to comfort yourself,’ says Dr Schenker. If you have a little wobble or even a full-blown binge, simply get straight back on to your healthy eating plan.
An occasional bar of chocolate, glass of wine or takeaway factored into your daily calorie count can keep you on course and you don’t have to feel guilty. But take care. If you find it difficult to stop bingeing on foods like cheese or biscuits, it may be better to keep these well out of the way – just while you are developing your better eating routine.
6. Be fats savvy
Being ‘scared’ of fats and sticking to processed low-fat foods, which tend to be higher in refined carbohydrates and sugars, can raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes and do more harm than good. But unsalted nuts, cheese, vegetable oils, red meat and oily fish are all part of a healthy diet and should be included in moderation in a weight – control plan, as they increase your eating enjoyment and the chances that you will stick to your weight-loss.
7. Make your meal an event, not a sideshow
If you don’t concentrate on your food while you’re eating it’s easy to consume more than you intend to because you don’t notice when you’re beginning to feel full. Snacking in front of the TV is especially bad – try not to do it at all, but if you really must, serve yourself a small portion in a separate dish, rather than eating directly from a large bag or tub.
8. Eat breakfast
You’ve heard it many times before, but research shows that people who eat breakfast are more likely to make healthy food choices throughout the day and less prone to snacking. A bowl of muesli or wholegrain cereal and a piece of fruit is a healthy choice, or go for filling poached eggs on toast.
If your diet is too strict, you won’t be able to keep it up, potentially putting all the weight back on. By making small and sustainable changes, you’ll stick at it.
10. Step to it!
It’s accumulated activity during the day that matters even more than going to the gym or for a quick run. Little things like being on your feet while taking a phone call, walking between appointments and climbing stars rather than using a lift sound like cliches, but they really will make for a slimmer you.