By Liz House, Dietitian, APD, AN
It’s almost that time of year again! The blossoms are starting to bud and the warmer weather is on its way. Of all the great things people look forward to with the warmer months – swapping baggy trackies for clingy bathers is usually not one of them. But instead of searching for a diet to get bather body ready it’s time to plan for a change that sticks!
With the promise of rapid weight loss and dress size dropping it’s hard to ignore the allure of claims that many diets or products make. We know that Australian women spend on average $400 million per year in their quest to lose weight. But this money doesn’t mean success, especially in the long term. In fact most people (83%) that go on weight loss diets regain everything they have lost (and more!) in two years.
But why? Diets can lead to short term weight loss (which is usually water weight), however as soon as you revert back to eating normally you will put the weight back on. After a restrictive diet people are likely to binge and end up putting on the weight they lost initially and then some more. This ‘yo-yo’ dieting as it’s called is not good for you physically or emotionally.
So here’s a radical thought, it’s not you that has failed the diet… it’s the diet that has failed you! This year it’s time to try the non-diet approach and try eating for long- term health rather than short term weight loss dictated by a number on a scale.
Sustainable healthy lifestyle tips:
- Drink plenty of water– often we mistake thirst for hunger, so try to have a glass of water before snacks or meals as well as throughout the day
- Eat a rainbow– Do as Vegie Man would and aim to achieve your 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegies every day. They are low in kilojoules (energy) and packed full of nutrients and fibre, which will help fill you up
- Go for grains– particularly whole grains, these can keep your hunger at bay
- Eat slowly – take time to sit and enjoy your food. This will give your body more time to tell you when you are full and stop you from overeating
- Keep your portion size in check– many of us now have large café style plates at home which can lead us to fill our plates with more than we really need. Opting for smaller plates can help you to avoid over doing it
- Move more– exercise and healthy eating are a match made in good health! Take every opportunity you can to be active, as well as schedule in some more strenuous activity if you can.
- Stop the guilt! A small amount of chocolate (or whatever you fancy) won’t be the end of the world (I promise!) in the context of an otherwise balanced diet. Just make sure you take the time to sit, savour the flavour, texture and smell, and enjoy it!
For more information on fad-free healthy eating check out the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.
If you are after more advice to get you on the right track you can find accredited Dietitians at the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) website.