We all recognise that losing weight will involve some changes to the way we eat, but some people have strong associations between dieting and deprivation. Those who’re used to hearty meals (and who have the figure to match!) are often reluctant to “go on a diet” because they think it will mean living on salad: “I can’t lose weight because I’ll be hungry all the time.”
In fact, a healthy, sustainable diet should definitely not have you ready to gnaw your own arm off in hunger. The best way to lose weight is to cut back by 500-1000 calories a day, allowing you to lose 1-2lbs per week. The first few days may be harder as your body adjusts to less food, but you should only be feeling rather peckish before mealtimes, rather than suffering hours of hunger.
Keep a food diary for a week and look for any obvious ways to reduce calories without unhealthy diet practices (such as skipping meals, or surviving on a single apple for lunch – you’ll be trading short-term gains for long-term yo-yo dieting.) This means cutting out foods which don’t fill you up and which “cost” a lot of calories.
Easy targets to zap from your diet are things like:
There are plenty of things which are filling and “cheap” on calories. Some of my favourites are:
This is the last post in the excuse-busting series. You’re out of reasons not to make those health-improving lifestyle changes that you’ve been putting off – good luck!
(Photo above by mdavidford)
Countless studies have shown that people given a smaller portion rate themselves as just as satisfied as the people who had a bigger one. The trick is to ensure your snack or meal looks filling. Even if you’re not convinced that you’ll be fooled so easily, try it – I’m always surprised how a perfectly adequate serving can look stingy on a huge plate. This article explains how the optical illusion works…
(And don’t feel “stupid” if your brain is fooled like this too: it’s been shown that even professional barstaff are awful at judging shots in a squat tumbler compared to a tall glass. And food nutrition experts serve themselves more ice-cream when given a bigger bowl.)
So what can you do to quickly and easily keep your portion sizes down?
A lot of us have very negative memories from our school-days; communal changing rooms, nasty comments, bullying, unflattering kit … it’s hardly surprising that some of us have the excuse “I hate exercise and always have done.” I spent my late teens being as inactive as possible because I’d hated the compulsory games sessions so much when I was younger.
But I now cycle seven miles a day and go to the gym most lunchtimes, and many other people who start out exercising to lose weight find they really miss it when they have a few inactive days.
Exercise doesn’t have to mean a five mile run. You could go for a gentle walk locally (it counts even if it’s just to the shops and back), or a longer ramble in the countryside.
If you’re very out of shape, swimming is a great option. Go to the pool at quiet times, or for adult-only sessions if you’re not confident about your body (there’s nothing worse than having to run the gauntlet of shrieking kids from the changing room to the pool). Once you’re in the water, no-one will be able to see what shape you are! Also, swimming is great if you have joint problems that impact-based exercise (such as jogging) might exacerbate.
Try thinking of activity rather than exercise. There might be some things you already enjoy which you could do more of:
Or there might be some more adventurous things which you’d love to have a go at. It’s not just kids who are allowed to have fun! Can you join a local trampolining club? Or take up a sport such as fencing or boxing; look out for beginners’ classes at bigger leisure centres. You just might find a whole new hobby…
(Photo above by Andy Field (Hubmedia))
Now that The Office Diet has over fifty pages, I’ve added a search box (glance up and to the right!) and I’ve changed the Archives page so that it shows the titles of all the previous short, daily posts. Check out the Articles page if you’re looking for more in-depth guides.
Hopefully all this’ll make it much easier to find what you’re after!
NB: Scroll down for today’s main post.
Neither the tedium nor the pressure of work is going to disappear as easily as a handful of chocolates, though…
Those of us with less than thrilling day-jobs inevitably find the clock dragging at times. Around three in the afternoon is often a low point; how can there still be two hours left to go?
At moments like this, a warm drink always seems a good idea (if only to kill five minutes standing by the kettle). And what better to go with a brimming mug than one of those cookies so kindly brought in by a colleague…
Instead of reaching for the snacks, though, try some of the following:
Some of you doubtlessly gave a hollow, mirthless laugh as you skimmed past the above paragraphs. Maybe you wish your job was boring – as it is, you’re constantly rushing around, struggling to keep up with everything.
It can be very tempting to reach for the nearest source of chocolate on a bad day, or to “treat yourself” for successfully finishing a difficult task. Instead, try:
(Photo above by aindschie)