Q: Since the start of the New Year, I’ve been really good at sticking to my new healthy eating plan and exercise regime. But now, I’m being tempted by the cookie jar and skipping the gym, is there anything I can do to stay motivated to diet?
A: After all that over-indulgence during the festive period, the New Year offers us the chance to start afresh with a healthy eating plan. But while we may throw ourselves into our diets with gusto during January, many of us struggle to stick to our resolutions into February.
Here’s some of my top tips for being strong and sticking to your resolutions:
DO… increase your fibre intake
Upping your fibre will give you an early ‘spring clean’ from the inside. The easiest way to increase fibre is just to add a side salad, portion of steamed veggies or a piece of fruit to each meal. Pink Lady apples, for example, are a fantastic source of pectin, a natural insoluble fibre which is found just under their characteristic blush coloured skin, so make sure you eat all that lovely skin too.
DON’T… succumb to food boredom
If you’re trying to eat healthily, it can feel a bit monotonous as you can end up eating the same low calorie meals over and over. But food boredom is one of the main reasons people fall off diets. Fruits and vegetables are the basis of any healthy eating regime, so get creative. Instead of eating an apple on its own, why not chop it into thin slices and add it to a goat’s cheese salad? Or, you could take the core out, fill it with dried fruits and nuts, plus a little honey and bake it in the oven for a delicious healthy dessert.
DO… eat more raw food
Raw food isn’t just packed full of nutrients, it takes longer to eat, which is important for anyone planning an attack on their waistline. The chewing required to eat a salad gives the brain time to register signals telling it to switch off hunger. The net result is you can eat less and lose weight. You don’t have to go 100 per cent raw of course.
DON’T… attempt to drink your 5-a-day
Many people consider trying out a juice fast or juice detox to kick-start a diet. However, juices can be incredibly high in sugar. This can lead to unstable energy levels, cravings for more sugar and eventually bingeing. It is much better to increase your whole fruit consumption as this releases sugar into your system much more slowly. If you add some protein as well, this will keep your blood sugar more stable, helping reduce sugar cravings.
DO… replace as well as remove
“The essence of a diet tends to be ‘giving up stuff’ but removing without replacing is a recipe for failure. To be successful, you need to find substitutes for the things you are going to do without. If you always go to the vending machine for a bar of chocolate at 4.30pm at work, you will be twiddling your thumbs in frustration if you don’t replace it with something else.
DON’T EVER… give up desserts!
The desire for something sweet is probably the number one reason why dieters fall off the wagon. Certain high-protein diet plans ban fruit which is a sure fire way to madness, cravings and bingeing. I always recommend allowing yourself a sweet treat after one of your daily meals. A Pink Lady apple is perfect as it is naturally sweet to satisfy that sugar craving.