No sugar. Low carb, high fat. No fat, high protein. High fat, high protein. Intermittent fasting. Atkins. Duckan. Paleo. Alkaline. The list of specialised diets people will try in an attempt to lose weight quickly and easily goes on and on.
But counting calories, eliminating food groups and generally spending hours every day thinking about what you can and can’t eat isn’t healthy or sustainable.
So what should I eat?
When the word diet is mentioned, most people associate it with controlling what they eat, and even denying themselves foods they really love. As a consequence, telling yourself you’re ‘on a diet’ is a little like setting yourself up to fail.
Rather than focus on what you can’t eat, instead think about all the delicious foods you can enjoy that will nurture your body. Having a positive relationship with food is incredibly important to maintaining a healthy weight range.
The most effective diet ever is simply a balanced diet. Once we realise we have the ability to make choices, good or bad, the closer we come to success.
Getting the balance right
Food is comprised of macronutrients the body needs to stay healthy and perform at its best. Each of these nutrients has a key role within our body:
- fats and carbohydrates provide us with daily energy;
- protein assists to build and repair tissue, such as skin, hair, muscles and bones;
- vitamins and minerals help us maintain optimal health; and
- hydration facilitates bodily functions.
We can’t ignore one aspect in order to satisfy another – that’s just not sustainable eating.
There are three key factors to consider when establishing whether you have a good balanced diet. Ask yourself…
- Am I eating good quality, fresh foods?
- Am I eating appropriate portion sizes (palm-sized protein, twice as many vegetables, and a small serve of wholegrain carbohydrates) at each meal? This should apply to breakfast, too.
- Am I drinking enough water? Place your water bottle on your desk in the morning and fill it up at least twice during the day.
Make it easier to stick to nutritious eating by planning your meals for a week, doing the shopping, and getting ahead with some prep on the weekend. That way you’ll be less likely tempted by takeaway when you get home from work and feel too tired to cook.
Eat this way most of the time, and when you do occasionally have a slice of birthday cake or fancy a bit of chocolate, you should enjoy it to the max without feeling guilty. After all, it’s all about balance, not about denying yourself.