Diet Tips

Posted by Linda O'Byrne (Atkins Nutritionist)

Diet tips – there are so many diets out there and so much conflicting advice that it's easy to get lost in a sea of information and misinformation.

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Here are a few tips to help the would-be dieter on their way.

Create a diet plan: We know how it is, you decide you want to diet and so it's tempting to start immediately. But don't. Instead take the time to create a diet plan. Spend some time thinking of how much you want to lose, why you want to lose it, whether you want it to stay off, what sort of foods you might want to cut and how much exercise you can do. This planning is essential. As the old saying suggests, fail to plan; plan to fail.

Ignore the diet fads: There are new diets every week and to get attention they have to be increasingly outlandish. Half the time the person creating the diet seems to have thought of a nifty name first and then tried to work a diet around it. But try to take a step back and think whether what's being suggested as a diet sounds plausible.

Go with the diet science: Some diets' claims have been backed by peer-reviewed scientific papers. These are the diets that have far more chance of leading to the changes you've outlined in your plan.

Exercise: Changing what you eat and how much you eat will get you so far. However, it should always be coupled with exercise where possible. Remember, a diet is a part of a commitment to a healthier you.

Any medical concerns? Certain diets can have health benefits well beyond simple weight loss. However, whether you're changing diet because of health concerns or to change how you manage an existing complaint, a GP should always be consulted first especially when attempting quick weight loss.

Share your diet goals: Statistics show that sharing goals often makes it more likely that those goals are achieved. Consider this, if you set a target to lose five kilos but don't tell anyone how much pressure is there to achieve the aim? It's very easy to slip, but tell a few people and they'll ask you how you're doing. The pressure to hit your goals is greater and with it the motivation; at times progress is achieved simply because the dieter is keen to avoid the embarrassment of having to tell others they've failed!

Don't ruin it! We've all had bad days and, when you're on a diet, it's all too easy for that bad day to end in a takeaway or a night-time ice cream eating session. However, on a low carb diet at least you could have a few fatty foods without feeling too guilty! If you do fall off the wagon, just hop right back on board, rather than it turning into an all-out binge.

Study some recipes: Just what sort of thing can you eat on each of the diets you're considering. Some, such as Atkins, allow you to eat steak, maybe washed down with a glass of wine. Other diets make you feel guilty for looking at food.

The best diet tip? Simply stick with it. Finding the right diet isn't easy and at times sticking with it might seem hard. But the right diet can have real life-enhancing benefits. Take the time to find the right one for you, then give it a chance by committing to it, following it properly and giving it some time.