Diets. We've all been there, tried a few, won with a few, lost with a few.
Are there any more you can think of to add to the list?
The reason for dieting? To lose weight usually. A few pounds? A stone or two? 10 stone? If you want to lose weight you have to diet isn't that right?
Well no, not necessarily. You need to change the way you're thinking.
If you are going to change the way that you are eating first of all stop labelling it as a diet. As soon as you say "diet" you are putting pressure on yourself and if you fall off the wagon you're likely to feel so annoyed that you'll fall a bit further before ending up closer to where you started.
You don't need to "diet" you just have to understand that the process for losing weight is really simple.
If you want to lose weight then you need to eat less than what you have been eating and you need to move more than you have been moving.
There you go, that's the big secret. Seriously, that is it, eat less and move more.
If that is enough to get you going then brilliant, but here is the technical bit to understand why this simple process actually works.
Our bodies need nutrients to function, to simply exist and we get these from the food and drink that we consume - carbohydrate, protein, fats, vitamins & minerals, dietary fibre and water.
If we are really good we would all consume the right amounts in line with the Eat Well Plate Guidelines ( www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide/ ). This is a healthy way to eat ensuring the body gets the right sort of nutrients and in an ideal world we would all eat like this every day.
We all know that's not necessarily going to happen at every meal every day and that's ok.
No matter what elements we consume, what we need and what we get from food and drink is energy.
Energy from food and drink is measured in kilojoules (kJ on a food label). What you are probably used to seeing on a food label is calories, so when we say calories we actually mean kilocalories (kcal).
To merely exist your body needs a certain number of calories each day. Each person is different and various factors come into play. The average figure that you tend to see being used is 2,000cal for a woman and 2,500 for a man. If you want to find your exact amount then search for BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) Calculators online.
Now to lose weight the science is really easy - you need to consume less than what your body uses. That is it. It truly is that straightforward.
If you eat more than your body needs then it will either be stored as fat or, with the right stimulus (exercise), it can be turned to muscle. If you eat under your calorie requirement you will lose fat. If you eat over your requirement then you will gain fat. If you eat at your requirement then you should maintain.
Roughly speaking 1lb of fat is 3,500kcals, so if you eat 500kcals less per day, in 7 days you will be 3,500kcals under your requirement and you should lose 1lb of fat. If you do the opposite and eat 500kcals more per day then you are likely to gain.
There you have it. Reduce your calorie intake by 500kcals per day and you should lose 1lb in a week. Please remember there are other factors and cutting out excessive amounts of food is very silly and very unnecessary.
Have a look at the food you have. Weigh your portions of pasta and rice and see how much you're really consuming (it's often a lot more than you realise).
Switching food and swapping things around is a really easy way to eek out those extra calories without feeling like you are depriving yourself.
Switch Roast Potatoes for New Potatoes
Choose sugar-free options
Change your Latte to a Skinny Latte
Don't add cream on your Hot Chocolate
Have 1 glass of wine and not 1/2 a bottle
Have 1 less handful of pasta
Have cake in a café but share it
Take 2 biscuits instead of 3
If you want to see results and I mean really see results, then you have to be prepared to make changes.
There is absolutely no need to cut things out of your diet completely, but if you honestly want to see changes then you really have to make changes.
Decide what you want more.
If you think you can manage this, then just think what you could do if you increase your physical activity levels too. Physical activity also burns calories, which is why diet and exercise go together hand-in-hand and that's for another blog.