Changing to better eating habits (as described before) will bring you to a healthy weight regardless where you start from. Consider a few more things when it comes to losing weight.
~~~ (1) Never try to lose weight! ~~~
If you want to lose weight, never aim to lose weight! Everybody knows that most diets fail. They fail because we only temporarily focus on this goal. The cycle of failure goes like this: aim to lose weight – focus attention – try hard – lose weight – lose attention – gain weight – start all over or give up entirely. First you win, then you lose.
And seriously, why would you expect that a temporary diet succeeds more than temporarily? What you are saying is: “Ok, for a while I will do something different, and then I’ll go back to what I did before!” Don’t forget: it was what you did before that brought you to where you are. You are aiming for the wrong goal! And that is why it never works.
When aiming to lose weight your goal must be to change your diet and eating habits for good. Please be absolutely clear about this. “Once I achieve my weight goal, will I continue this diet?” Be absolutely ruthless should the answer be “no” and look for an alternate diet.
First get your eating habits right, then get your weight right!
~~~ (2) Never try to change overnight! ~~~
Now that we aware of the magnitude of the challenges, it can become scary quite easily. A change of diet for a lifetime? Did you frown a little when you read that? Subconsciously your brain just played a trick on you and undermined your will.
Bear with me and see there is actually an easy approach. Let’s just start by replacing one item in our diet with the better version. The best starting point is to replace white bread with healthier bread, for instance multi-grain. Four weeks later replace white rice with long-grain rice. Four weeks later replace chocolate with fruits, and so on.
You get the idea. Don’t try to change all eating patterns at once. Change only a few at a time and give yourself time to get used to it. To overcome inertia, celebrate each time you change to healthier food. Don’t focus on what will change, focus on what will remain the same. And one day a week allow yourself any food.
1. Understanding that a diet is not a temporary endeavour (change in mindset).
2. A very short list of changes in my diet by replacing the worst food with similar but healthier foods (described on the next page).
All you need to do is: nothing! The change of one eating habit will make you lose ten pounds over six months time. The change of another one may make you lose six pounds, a third one might help you lose six pounds, and so on. It adds up! Once you have changed one habit all you need to do is just wait! Time will do the rest.
And here comes a bonus benefit: Changing habits slowly is very powerful. Once used to a new habit you will not want to change back. The new habits will be engrained, just like the old one you have now.
Act like a turtle - Change habits slowly to succeed!
~~~ What about quantities? ~~~
I hear you ask this. Most diets tell you to cut down quantities to what slim people eat from day one. The further you are away from slim, the more difficult this will be. Don’t jump into that shark basin. It might work for a few people, but it will not work for most others. The frustration over setbacks can easily put your entire plan at risk. Act like a turtle and change quantities slowly.
Just follow the tips before. Most likely, over time you will cut down on quantities automatically. This is for three reasons. One, low GI carbohydrates will release energy over prolonged periods, making you feel less hungry. Two, having a healthy snack 30 minutes prior to your main meal will make you less hungry, hence cut down on quantities. Three, a few weeks into changing eating habits you will be proud of your achievements and be happy to reduce quantities.
Traffic light food tracker – Simple, free, helps to find healthy foods and add to your grocery list.
MyNetDiary – Very popular, huge database and barcode scanner, pro version reasonably cheap. Click here (Android app)
Calorie Counter - Very popular tracker. Click here (Android app)
The one book recommendation I have is inline with our tips to switch to low GI carbohydrates:
~~~ Diet trackers / Food journals ~~~
A food journal / calorie tracker can be a real eye-opener, and enable you to take your destiny in your hand. It is more involved than just weighing yourself but extremely powerful. You might use a journal for six months until you know which foods are good for you and work out a diet that you like to keep.￼
On a personal note, any recommendation regarding diet products has to come with a huge warning. This is a multi-billion-dollar business and the number of useless diets outweighs the serious and sustainable ones by far. Deceived, misinformed and tricked into repeating cycles of weight-loss and weight-gain or subscription programs, people throw time, money and hope out the window. You will not find me recommending special diets where you pay for their products. If you ask yourself: “Will I pay a lifetime for their products?” the answer will be “No,” and therefore it’s wasted money.
Learn more about this….
Steady Energy Diet
A few common knowledge tips can helps you improve your energy levels throughout the day, and in particular avoid the energy dips. Learn more
3 Key Habits for a Good Diet
Confused about all the diet tips, programs and products? I believe following just a few tips can put success back in your own hand. Learn more
Half-year diet change program
Stretching a diet program over half a year requires very little change at any given time plus makes sustainable change much more likely. Learn more
By Murat Uenlue, PhD, PMP, 2013.