From: Treatwell Expert Panel ,
So why do you want to diet, anyway? Diets are all a bit last year, you know. The latest trends, diet-wise, are less about juice fasts or detailed meal-plans and more about eating right for life. But don’t worry, they still ‘work’. I say that because while we all pay lip-service to the concept of eating better for all the right reasons (steady blood sugar levels, better concentration, better sleep), let’s face it - at this time of year, the main reason for watching what we eat is to slip more easily into our slinky party dress. Whatever your motivation, this is what’s on the menu…
The new view in health and fitness is pre-hab rather than re-hab, and the same goes for eating: get your food intake under control now, and there will be less damage to undo in future (just think how much more fun January could be without the misery of dieting). So rather than fostering negative thoughts about deprivation, focus on positive feelings about food choices that make you feel great; pile up the veggies, light protein, good fats and wholegrains and just turn a superior, blind eye to sugary, processed, body-bloating junk. And, um, alcohol…
Further reading: The Clean & Lean Diet, James Duigan. How Not To Get Fat, by Ian Marber.
It’s ageing, it’s fattening, it’s more addictive than many drugs, and we eat on average 40 kilos of the stuff per year – three times as much as 50 years ago. Yet somehow, we persist in thinking that sugar is wholesome and natural. News, folks: it contains no nutrients, your body has to produce insulin whenever you eat it, and this gives your body the opportunity to lay down fat, and it makes you look older by making skin less flexible. You do not, repeat not, need the stuff.
Further reading: Pure White and Deadly, by John Yudkin. Written in 1972, this has just been re-pointed by Robert Lustig and republished, and has never been more relevant. See also The Perricone Prescription, by Dr Nicholas Perricone and Sugar Nation: the Hidden Truth Behind America’s Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat It, Jeff O’Connell.
How can obesity be epidemic when we are so much more health conscious than previous generations - and when we eat fewer calories, too? Could it be because the prevailing government advice to eat less fat and fill up with starchy carbs is deeply flawed? And that saturated fat and, shock horror, cholesterol, isn’t actually going to kill us? (It is well known that cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease, yet most people still think it’s a major baddie). Eat the stuff nature meant us to – meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, vegetables, wholegrains – and your body will readjust to a healthier weight.
Further reading: The Diet Delusion, by Gary Taubes. The Harcombe Diet, by Zoe Harcombe. Escape the Diet Trap, John Briffa.
Eat as normal most of the time, but cut your intake drastically every third or fourth day. This sounds bonkers, but, as laid out by Dr Michael Mosley in a BBC2 Horizon programme this summer (Eat Fast and Live Longer), intermittent fasting appears to offers health benefits in the form of improved blood-sugar and hormone levels as well as weight loss. Mosley settled on a regime of two days of 500 calories, then five days of normal eating; not easy, but appealing to anyone who gets a kick out of occasional self-denial – and less impossible than longer-term fasting.
Further reading: The Alternate Day Diet, by James B Johnson and Donald R Laub.
Don’t just stuff down that sandwich or shovel in that ready-meal. Stop and think about what you’re eating, and why, and all the excuses you make for your less-than-perfect food choices. Then choose the right stuff (I think you know what it is by now) and chew it very thoroughly. And if you’re not hungry, don’t eat. There’s no law that says you have to have three square meals a day…
Further reading: The Headspace Diet, by Andy Puddicombe.
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