I don’t like the word “dieting” in the sense that there are SO many fad “diets” out there that restrict food groups, calories and have ridiculous rules that everyone eventually breaks. In any of my posts when I say the word diet, I am talking about the food you consume on a daily basis, rather than a set of rules stating you can ONLY eat cabbage soup or drink lemon water (yuck!). I will emphasis that I am not an advocate for fad diets, detoxes, juice fasts etc.The way I have written my guides is based around living a healthy LIFESTYLE that can be maintained over long periods of time. This means incorporating foods from all food groups and eating correct portion sizes. In saying this, there are many people out there that don’t follow as healthy a lifestyle as they wish they did. If you constantly find yourself eating takeaway, snacking on junk food and sodas and barely exercising, switching to a diet of whole foods can be quite difficult at first. Your body will probably crave the sugar and miss the fatty foods because, in a way, it has become addicted to these things. However as time goes on, you will slowly realise you don’t NEED them and you actually feel so much better without them!
When starting any new food plan, willpower plays a massive role in your success. It can be easy to give up and revert back to your old ways simply because it is what you are used to. If you are following your new healthy diet down to a T and loving it, then you go girl! However, our willpower is not infinite, meaning you can’t go on forever. If you are constantly cursing about your diet then you will eventually break it, and in the worst scenario, go out on a full on binge!
Allowing yourself some room to move when trying to lose weight is how you are going to stay on track and reach your goals. It also gives your willpower a break from time to time. Now, before you exit this blog here and rush to your nearest burger joint “because Kayla said so”, KEEP READING! Allowing yourself room to move means being smart about the choices you make - don’t undo all your progress in one sitting. Follow these tips and you will find sticking to your diet a whole lot easier:
If you really struggle to get through a week without eating “off limit” foods then cheat meals can be a good way to still have these foods without going overboard or feeling like you are depriving yourself. You do not need to have a cheat meal to see progress, but it can be used as a tool to help deal with a new healthy eating schedule from a psychological perspective, which can be stressful for some people. Each person is different and you may not feel the need to have a cheat meal which is great, but if you do I think it is important to follow these rules. Firstly don’t use food as a reward, this will get you into a bad habit of exercising and eating well only to rely on food as your treat. Instead if you have a good week reward yourself with some new gym clothes - who doesn’t love a cute new crop? Secondly, limit your cheat meal to once a week. There is no point exercising each day only to go home and eat 6 cookies each night as you may not get the results you want this way. I recommend setting aside a 30-45 minute window once a week to allow for this cheat meal. Setting a specific time limit stops it from becoming a cheat DAY. In that 30-45 minute, allow yourself foods you wouldn't normally eat or are higher in calories. I have to stress that this is not a time to go out on a full blown binge! For example, if you are having pizza eat it with a side salad instead of fries and limit your portions. You don’t need to stuff yourself to the point of popping!
Ah, this word is many female’s weakness! It can be hard to go past that double choc truffle somebody is offering us ESPECIALLY during ‘that time of month’! I know for some people it is salty foods that get their taste buds going, but for many it is chocolate. While you can eat chocolate as part of your cheat meal, you might feel a bit sick after 45 minutes of munching on it! My tip is to make a healthier choice, if you are really craving a quick chocolate fix try eating some dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is so much better for you than milk or white because it it contains a lot added sugar and you don’t need to eat a lot of it to fix that craving. If you don't like the taste of dark chocolate on its own, try melting a small amount and pour it over chopped up strawberries. As usual, be mindful of your portion sizes, eating a whole block won’t help your weight loss. You can always try making chocolate bark by melting dark chocolate, spreading it on a baking sheet and topping with nuts and pomegranate seeds. My tip is to buy the highest quality dark chocolate you can afford, with a high percent of cacao as these are the best for you.
Dress Up Your Salad
Let’s be honest, salads can be boring on the best of days, but if you are literally eating leaves and a few veggies day in and day out you are going to get very bored very quickly. My tip is to be smart about what you put into your salads. Be aware that if you eat out, some salads can have up to 900 calories in them. Instead, make your own and make them DELICIOUS! Add your favourite protein in and some carbs (shock, I know!). By carbs I mean things like quinoa or puffed quinoa (for added crunch), brown rice or wholegrain tortilla chips. I love adding tuna or grilled chicken to my salads and making my own dressing. Store-bought dressings are generally a no-no because they are filled with sugar, fats and additives. My favourite dressing combos are balsamic vinegar and olive oil, freshly squeezed orange, white balsamic & olive oil and also lemon juice & olive oil. Get creative with your dressings - use oil as a base and add anything acidic. If you are eating a salad for lunch remember it needs to be filling and leave you satisfied as well as healthy for you. So girls, please don’t skip the protein! This is what is going to actually fill you up and turn it from a side into a main meal. If you are really over your salad and are considering driving to the nearest take away shop, try crumb your own chicken with quinoa flakes or panko crumbs and add that in there - it will certainly beat that calorie-filled burger meal.
Be Creative With Your Favourite Meals
For some people starting a new meal plan can be overwhelming, so they might choose to find a few healthy meals they like and eat them everyday. This also means it is convenient and make prep time super easy as you know what you need to do every week and it is easier to stick to. However, for some people, that Sunday night motivation may come unstuck come Thursday when you are ready to rage war against all broccoli. So if you find yourself developing an emotional connection with food, you might find it hard to eat the same thing day in and out. My recommendation is to create a folder with all your favourite healthy recipes and switch them up from day to day. For example, you might have quinoa with your chicken one day and brown rice the next. Or instead of rye bread in the morning, you could make overnight oats. Preparation is still vitally important, as this is can help you stay you on track and minimise binging when you find yourself hungry with no food. Base your healthy meals on a range of vegetables, fruits, carbs and proteins so that you always have room to be creative and versatile. If you struggle to come up with recipes, then my HELP Guide is a great place to start! It has a 14 day meal plan, with all dinner recipes included.
Bump Up the Intensity!
There are many opinions about this out there, but I believe you can burn more fat exercising for a short amount of time rather than spending hours and hours walking on the treadmill. This is called HIIT and, yes, you have heard me raving on about it for ages now! HIIT stands for ‘High Intensity Interval Training’ which basically means you work out in intervals - going from 90-100% to rest. You can do this by running on a treadmill as fast as you can for 30 seconds, before resting for 30 seconds. You then repeat this for 10-15 minutes, once or twice a week. Research suggests that this style of training can be more effective than going for daily jogs in regards to fat loss. The reasoning behind this is the ‘afterburn’ effect, which basically means your body is continuing to burn fat even after you have stopped working out. While I still recommend to get in your daily walks and not replace all cardio with HIIT, doing a HIIT session when you really don't feel like walking for 45 minutes is a great way to still lose weight. It will be over in a maximum of 15 minutes and you will feel so much better after it.
I hope these few tips have helped to see that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself and live a miserable life. It is all about balance and you have to find what works best for YOU!