Fed up with falling off the diet wagon each year? Y gives you a helping hand to make it work for good
Most of us have been there at some point. Promises to lose weight or tone up seem to fall by the wayside barely a month into the New Year as willpower begins to weaken.
You are not alone. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45 per cent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year and weight-related resolutions top the list. Less than 10 per cent will actually see them through.
So if you’ve made (and then broken) the same old weight or health-orientated resolutions each January it might be time to focus on research-proven approaches to get healthier.
Here are a few simple tips to help you get – and stay – on the right path.
Start Well: Eat Breakfast
Start the day right and it really can make things go better. Research has repeatedly shown that people who eat breakfast tend to take in more nutrients (calcium, iron, protein and fibre), are more alert and can concentrate better. They may even have better success with weight management.
To get yourself off to a strong start, think about combining protein, carbohydrates and low-fat dairy. Some possibilities include whole grain cereal and a high protein yoghurt, an English muffin with peanut butter, or an egg sandwich with fruit and yoghurt.
Eat Rough(age): Make Fibre a Priority
Found in whole grain wheat, barley, corn and oats, as well as in fruits, vegetables and beans, fibre helps keep things moving through the digestive tract.
Fibre is also filling, providing volume with few calories because our bodies don’t have the enzymes to break it down. Fibre can also be digested and used for fuel by the 10 trillion bacteria that live in the colon and prevent numerous health conditions.
Get Your Facts Straight: If It Sounds Too Good to be True…
Losing 10 pounds in two weeks only to regain it in eight makes no sense. Whether you’ve tried to go gluten-free, low carb or avoid all white foods, the chances are quite high that your efforts didn’t result in long lasting effects. What does work? A balanced eating pattern and an active lifestyle.
There is no one perfect diet and anyone who says otherwise is typically selling a book or products promising weight loss. Registered dietitian nutritionists can be trusted to provide credible, evidence-based information that can be tailored to your lifestyle and taste preferences. In addition, eating patterns such as those recommended by the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) can provide guidance on the types of foods to include in your meals.
Move It: Walk, Dance or Ride Your Way to Health
Unless you use it often (two-three times per week or more), skip the gym membership. Walk the dog, dance in your kitchen or ride your bike to run errands. And, if possible, do it every day with friends for fun; make it part of your regular lifestyle.
Make It Stick: Schedule and Track Your Progress
Make a schedule of your health goals, and keep track of progress by writing a food and activity journal or calendar. Write things down; it makes them more likely to happen. Note things like how you feel before and after meals and exercise. You may be surprised by what you learn.
How to Spot a Fad Diet in 30 Seconds or Less
Fad diets come and go and return again. Here are some obvious clues that a diet is a fad rather than a realistic approach to becoming healthy.
① Sounds too good or easy to be true
② Promises rapid weight loss (five to 10 pounds a week) or “miracle cures”
③ It promotes a product
④ Can only be “followed” temporarily, but is not supervised by a doctor
⑤ Doesn’t recommend a form of exercise or says that it’s unnecessary
⑥ Warns that one food or food group will make you seriously ill or worse
⑦ Makes recommendations based on pseudo-science not endorsed by credible organisations
For more information, try these resources:
● The Omani Guide to Healthy Eating by the Ministry of Health: wholegrainscouncil.org/files/OmanDietaryGuidelines.pdf
● US News and World Report Ranking of Best Overall Diets: health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-overall-diets
● Mediterranean Diet: oldwayspt.org/programs/mediterranean-foods-alliance/what-mediterranean-diet
● DASH Diet: nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dash
● MyPlate: choosemyplate.gov
● Information on diet, health, fibre, gluten and other topics: wheatfoods.org.