If you went back on the diet train at the start of the year, you might be starting to rethink your decision.
However GP Dr Jill Gamberg of Double Bay Doctors said we need to get rid of the term ‘diet’. “Diets do not work. They are restrictive, [often] difficult to follow, cause stress to the participant, and may end up causing disordered eating and/or nutrient deficiencies.
“If losing weight is your ultimate goal, then dieting will likely help you lose weight in the short-term. [But] as soon as you ‘go off your diet’, the weight will be gained back. Most dieters gain back the weight in the long-term,” Gamberg said.
The key to losing the weight for good? Some simple ‘rules’ to go by:
Eat the rainbow: A variety of fruits, vegetables [and legumes] contain [a significant amount of the] nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed for optimum health, and keep meals interesting.
Don’t diss carbohydrates: They’re the brain’s primary fuel source, which is why low carb diets have such a high dropout rate. For slow-burning fuel and to keep appetite at bay, choose quality carbohydrates such as wholegrains (like quinoa and brown rice) and sweet potatoes instead of refined and processed carbohydrates like white bread, chips, and baked goods.
Choose the right fats: Fat is highly satiating; include a little in each meal and you may find you eat less – provided you opt for good fats. Gamberg recommends seeds, nuts, avocado, olive oil and oily fish instead of fried foods and rich desserts, which encourage overeating.
Drink more water: Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, so aim for at least eight glasses of water per day, or 1.5 to 2 litres.
Include good quality protein: To help stablise your blood sugar and keep appetite at bay. Be it fish, eggs, poultry, lean meat or legumes, protein only needs to comprise about a quarter of your meal size, Gamberg said.
Avoid packaged foods containing more than 5 or 6 ingredients: “Anything [with] too many ingredients is bound to be processed and contain chemicals and preservatives,” as well as added sugars and undesirable fats.
Add flavour to your foods with herbs and spices: Try cinnamon on your porridge instead of sugar, and fresh rosemary on your roast vegetables instead of salt.
Don’t deprive yourself: Have treats by all means, but only sometimes; maybe limit these to celebrations like birthdays or holidays.
Make meals distraction-free: An effective measure to prevent overeating is to sit down and eat with your family or friends, using no devices, at least once daily.
Get moving: “The other really important component of maintaining a healthy weight is the need to move more. We need physical activity in our lives every day,” Gamberg said.
Remind yourself of the bigger picture: “Making these changes will set you up for a healthier life, reducing your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and many different cancers.
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