Have you tried shedding the kilos but are still struggling as summer comes around? Here, weight-loss expert and clinical hypnotherapist Lisa Jackson has the six slimming strategies you need.
1. BAN THE WORD “DIET” FROM YOUR VOCABULARY
The problem with diets is that they have an end date – which means that when you go back to your old ways, the pounds come back too.
Tell yourself, ‘I’ve chosen to eat healthily instead’ – the word “chosen” is vital here because it shows no-one’s forced you to do it, so you side-step the urge to rebel that most of us experience when we’re told to do things we don’t want to do.
2. GET TIME ON YOUR SIDE
Lack of time to prepare healthy food is the number-one factor most of my clients give for failing to eat well. The best way I’ve found to easily cook a lot of food is to give myself an artificial time limit. Set your kitchen timer to ten minutes, then grab some frozen beef chunks, throw them in a huge pot on a low heat with a smidgen of oil, snatch up some onions, peel and chop them, add them to the pot to brown, then prepare some carrots and toss them in with a few cups of stock. Ping! The timer’s gone off. Keep the heat on low and get on with your evening, knowing that in two hours you’ll have healthy meals to last half the week – all you’ll need to do to spruce things up is add some fresh veg. Setting artificial deadlines in this way takes the boredom out of food preparation – and will banish your “no-time” excuse once and for all.
3. MAKE SURE YOUR FOOD PASSES THE EXCITEMENT TEST
The fail-safe way to keep cravings at bay is to eat three meals and two snacks a day – that gives you an amazing five opportunities to eat something that makes you feel really happy and – if you choose the right foods – healthy and fairly pleased with yourself. While most of us aren’t likely to leap out of bed to eat porridge made with water and salt (but would gratefully grab an almond-studded croissant if given half the chance), that same porridge made with a little skimmed (or coconut) milk and topped with two handfuls of frozen forest fruits might well be the thing that gets the day off to a smiling, healthy start.
4. FOCUS ON FIBRE
‘Weight loss has been found to be an amazing three times greater for people eating high-fibre, low-fat diets compared with low-fat alone,’ says dietitian Lyndel Costain. So include plenty of fibre-rich foods such as wholegrain bread and cereals, jacket potatoes, brown rice, beans, lentils and vegetables in your meals.
5. TREATS ARE NOT THE ENEMY
Eating healthily doesn’t mean you can never eat chocolate or crisps again – it just means you have to limit these calorific temptations.
‘This is known as “flexible restraint”,’ says Costain. ‘Research suggests that flexible rather than rigid eating plans work best and help you maintain a healthy relationship with food.’ Agree with yourself exactly when you’re more going to have these foods, and how info often, and then savour every moment when you do have them.
6. TAKE A DAILY PRAISE PILL
Nothing is more likely to have you reaching for a piece of cheer-me-up chocolate than feeling bad about how you look, so spend just two minutes every day – while brushing your teeth is an ideal time – reminding yourself of everything you love about your body and then praise yourself for the way you’re showing it love and respect by eating healthily and exercising more.