For a long time, we have collectively been aware of the fact that fad diets do not work. However, so many of us continually appear to get caught up in the cycle of eating less, losing weight fast…and then only go and put it back on again soon after. As the Christmas period is in full swing, it’s essential to ensure that we are aware of this common trait, and aim to eat as mindfully as possible as the indulgence is taken up a gear! Occasionally, phrases similar to “if I’m good” or “I deserve it” can float around, allowing us to feel as though food can be used as either a punishment or a reward, however it’s much more productive to gain some balance and perspective on the food we eat at this time of year.
EAT A HEALTHY BREKKIE
It’s the old fave that we all know but don’t always abide by, yes you guessed it (well, it is in the sub heading…), eat breakfast! Ensuring you eat a healthy first meal of the day will of course set you up for the day ahead, but will more importantly allow you to worry less about what you eat for the rest of the day (within reason, of course!). If you are to have a smoothie bowl packed with goodness and topped with seeds, fruit or cacao nibs, with a glass of fresh juice, a herbal tea or another healthy alternative, you will automatically feel as though you are on course for a healthier day and subconsciously want to remain feeling super healthy, but will equally not be as worried about having what you really want when Christmas dinner arrives.
DON’T BE FOOLED
A word of guidance now, don’t be fooled by the false promises of fad diets, as let’s face it, they make you feel well and truly miserable! When the sun is out, it’s a lot easier to thrive off raw fruit and veg, with a naturally lower calorie content than other foods and undoubtedly bursting with goodness! However, when it’s cold, and festivities begin to increase, consuming foods like this don’t appeal as much and we tend to over indulge and in turn, become frustrated at our impulsive eating choices so then begin to fad for a week or two. This cycle of over indulgence, followed by (ultimately) glorified starving is a formula set to fail, which is unfortunately what has become the norm for many, so don’t be fooled by this quick fix, as it will leave you feeling unenergised, lethargic and uninspired – all things you don’t want around the Christmas season!
Many people fear the phrase “portion control” as it can come with negative connotations, however the premise of it really is to ensure you don’t overload your plate with an unnecessary amount of food. If fad-ing is a familiar thing for you, aim to exercise portion control (or whichever way you wish to phrase it) when having the more indulgent foods, as the misery from under eating can swing the other way once the 10th profiterole has been consumed, meaning you end up feeling equally as bad, and resulting in the lead up to a fad diet being on the cards! Portion properly throughout the day and you: 1), won’t be as ravenous when meal time hits, and 2) will be able to enjoy your choice of meal without any of the ‘guilty’ repercussions.
SNACK YOUR HEART OUT
Snacking sometimes has a bad rep, however if you want to avoid feeling the need to fad in the future, snacking is a consistent and reliable way of ensuring that you aren’t going to reach for the choccy biscuits or family bag of crisps later on in the evening. Preparing small, sandwich-style bags with nuts, seeds, dried fruit or fresh fruit is a brilliant way of knowing that you have food on you for emergency hunger situations, in turn encouraging you to snack healthily, resulting in there being no need for over-indulging, and you feeling extremely satisfied in the long run.
It’s easy to fall into the all-or-nothing trap of eating, presuming that if you eat really heathily for a week, you are then granted permission to eat whatever you want (binge style) a day following this; As soon as this is over, you end up feeling somewhat guilty about the quantity and quality of food you have consumed, and there begins the fad diet once again. By ensuring that you have a relaxed approach to your eating schedule, your decisions regarding the food you eat will be much easier as you will inevitably act more instinctively and if you wish to eat something healthy or alternatively unhealthily, it will be a more conscious, less impulsive decision.
Whilst bearing these points in mind, it’s important to acknowledge that different things work for different people, so definitely give these a go and I hope they work you as they have me…..but only commit to eating brekkie or consuming healthy snacks if it works for you and your daily routine. To sum up, steer away from those age old fads if you’re looking for long term health and happiness, and just make sure you enjoy the journey while you’re doing it!