Once you’ve made your decision to work to achieve your ideal body and committed yourself to your chosen healthy eating plan, then the rest is simple isn’t it? Well, on paper that might be the case, but following a diet plan requires making habitual changes and keeping your motivation high and focus constantly on the end goal.
But we are human and there will be times during our quest to achieve our ideal body when we will face obstacles and frustrations and feel tempted to give up. Let me tell you how to recognise and remove the barriers to your success. Follow my 5 tips and you will overcome any problems that stand in the way of achieving your best body.
The Problems and their solutionsRELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
1 You feel absolutely starving (usually during the first week of your diet)
DON’T: Eat the first thing you see in an impulsive, desperate attempt to satisfy this hunger.
DO: First, work out whether you are physically hungry or searching for some kind of emotional satisfaction that you believe food will provide. Do this by thinking of an apple… If you could devour an apple then the chances are you may be hungry. If you couldn’t then you’re searching for something else.
If the latter applies then try to distract yourself and change your thoughts, try – phoning a friend for a chat about anything (except food!), window shop online for some retail therapy, change your surroundings by taking a walk, sit or relax in another room in the house (preferably not the kitchen), or start planning your activities for the rest of the week.
If an apple does appeal to you, then log into your diet plan to check what to eat and when. I recommend that you eat six times a day. If you eat regularly it’s likely that your next tasty snack is just around the corner. Recommended snacks are those packed with water and fibre, such as fruit and vegetables, or protein-rich foods such as a boiled egg or lean chicken. These foods make you feel full whilst controlling your ghrelin production (the hormone that stimulates hunger).
2 The scales seem stuck (usually 1 month after beginning your diet plan)
DON’T: Feel deflated and lose faith in your diet plan.
DO: Recognise that after initial weight loss there will be periods where this will plateau. And this is where working out becomes critical. Cardiovascular training, such as brisk walking, running and cycling, burns calories and adding intervals (faster efforts) will increase your calorie burn further. Lift some weights too and you will gain some valuable lean mass to enable you to burn more of those calories, even whilst asleep!
I really like circuit training to get your heart rate elevated and add that crucial resistance. For each pound of muscle you add, you burn an extra 20-50 calories all-day and everyday. It is also essential in this phase to increase your fluid intake. Being hydrated increases your lymphatic flow, which flushes out the toxins in your body that can cause water retention. It also fills you up!
3 Your initial feelings of urgency to lose weight diminish as you start to see progress and you begin to like what you see in the mirror often 6 months into your plan.
DON’T: Believe that you now have free reign to eat what you like to reward yourself and slip back into old habits and abandon your plan.
DO: Take your body’s measurements. Whether you weigh yourself, have your fat percentage measured or even try on your favourite jeans, you must keep an eye on your weight loss and change in body shape. Weighing or measuring yourself regularly is more likely to keep you focused on your success so far and what still lies ahead.
If you know your dedication is paying off then you are more likely to stick to your plan. Also, taking a photo of yourself at various stages during your journey towards your best body can be a powerful way of gaining visual feedback about your progress.
4 You’re missing your favourite treats and indulgences.
DON’T: Let those thoughts and foods consume you or punish yourself by thinking that you will never eat them again.
DO: Recognise that you can eat your favourite foods, in moderation, without any guilt and this won’t jeopardise your efforts. I recommend a ‘treat meal’ or ‘treat snack’ once per week, so that you can still enjoy your favourite food, whether it’s a bacon-butty or a cream cake. If you do this you can prevent cravings building up. Once you’ve enjoyed your treat re-focus on other activities or tasks and get back to your healthy eating plan.
5 You want to be able to eat out at a restaurant with friends without ruining your diet.
“A skinny cappuccino or herbal tea for dessert will again avoid isolating you during after dinner conversation”
DON’T: Avoid these social events in fear of being led astray from your good habits. This is a sure way to isolate yourself and make achieving your ideal body a miserable experience. Equally, don’t abandon your discipline and eat what everybody else around the table is eating.
DO: Study the menu carefully (even look at it online prior to heading out) and opt for a grilled meat or fish dish with a portion of vegetables for your main course and ask for any sauce or condiment to be served on the side. This choice will provide a good balance of protein, carbohydrate (from the vegetables) and fat, leaving you satisfied and on track.
Avoid any pasta dishes, creamy or cheesy dishes and those with chips! If your fellow diners are ordering a starter and you don’t want to be left twiddling your fork, then choose a brothbased soup or some olives to keep you occupied. A skinny cappuccino or herbal tea for dessert will again avoid isolating you during after dinner conversation.
A satisfying night out with good food and good company can still be achieved! Follow my no more diet problem tips and your healthy eating patterns will become ingrained. They will become a part of your lifestyle and you will successfully follow a maintenance plan that is a way of life.