One of the most common mistakes people make when going on a weight loss diet is starving themselves. They drastically cut down on food, ban everything that contains any sugar or fat and eat only a minimum of food, thinking this will help them to lose weight faster. Been there, done that? Maybe you even did lose weight. But do you remember how burnt out you felt? That you didn’t have any energy, and you just felt miserable, tired and grumpy?
Then you will be pleased to learn that it does not need to and should not be like that. You don’t need to starve to lose weight. Let me explain to you how you can eat as much as anyone else and still lose weight!
1. Make healthy food choices
- You should prefer foods that are high in nutrients, not in calories, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Because of these foods being rather low in calories, you can eat reasonable amounts that will fill you sufficiently, without having to worry about calorie counting. It’s just important that you keep these foods “clean” and healthy and don’t prepare them with lots of fat and sugar.
- Another important step for insuring normal portion sizes that won’t leave you hungry and exhausted is to reduce calories wherever possible. Choose low-fat versions of dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt, use low-fat spreads, margarine instead of butter and preferably vegetable oils (olive oil is the healthiest). Cut down on sugar or replace it with natural sweeteners like honey. You can also use naturally sweet foods like fruit that don’t need added sugar. This way, your body gets enough food and plenty of nutrients whilst keeping calories low, helping you to lose weight without hunger.
- Drink water or low-calorie drinks instead of calorie-loaded soft drinks, and try to drink your tea with less or without sugar. When having these healthy drinks, you never need to feel bad when drinking because they contain none to a minimum of calories.
2. Adopt healthy eating habits
- Watch your portion sizes! Our portions are often larger than we need. If you think your plate is too full, dish a bit less. It might take a while until your body gets used to eating less, so take your time to find out how much food you really need. Your body shall have what it needs, but it should not have more than necessary because that’s when it starts to store fat.
- Never allow yourself to get too hungry. If you get hungry in between meal times, have a small snack at hand. This will avoid hunger attacks and overeating at main meals. Make sure your snacks are healthy, for example choose fruit and low-fat yoghurt, and keep them small. After all, they are just a snack, not a main meal. But if your snacks are healthy, you don’t have to feel bad having them, even if you are on a diet.
- Eat regularly and preferably at the same time every day. If your body knows its meal times, it will be easier to adapt to your eating schedule. If your meals and meal times are balanced, you won’t be hungry in between.
As I mentioned earlier, diet and starving is often associated with weight loss, and it puts a huge strain on your body. Besides leaving you feeling exhausted and miserable, it also deprives you of important nutrients, meaning it does more harm than good to you.
It is really unnecessary to put yourself through this. If you change your diet to a healthier one, you can enjoy meals and eat reasonable portions, with numerous benefits attached to it: Your body gets all nutrients it needs which will make you feel well, energetic and healthy. And you can follow this new way of eating in a long-term, with the result that you gently lose weight and prevent it from coming back. The best diet is still one that does not feel like one.