The question we hear most often regarding fat loss and taking control of our health back is “Where do I start?” or “How do I start?” Not knowing where to start is not your fault. We’ve all conditioned ourselves to eat a certain way over a number of years. So asking someone to change those habits is akin to asking someone to change their religion! It doesn’t need to be that hard. Here are a few things you can begin to put in place today in order to ensure lasting success in following this lifestyle:
1. Remove one “bad item” from your diet. Only when you have successfully cut this out, introduce another change. You know what these bad items are. Removing and replacing bad items from our diet is better than introducing a new item to your diet without letting go of another one. In order to begin a clean eating lifestyle it’s essential we start with as clean a slate as possible. The number one processed food that people find hard to give up: soft drinks. It just goes so well with certain meals. But soft drinks are liquid calories that pile on fat fast. It’s basically instant fat, loaded with chemicals that wreak havoc on our digestive system.
Would you buy it or consume it as freely if it was called ‘Fast Fat’? If you drink a can of coke on a daily basis, see if you can cut down to 2-3 times a week. If you are down to 2-3 times a week, cut down to once a week. If you are down to once a week, cut it out altogether. Don’t actively look to replace this item with other ‘diet’ or ‘sports’ or ‘energy’ drinks or fruit juices, which are just as bad, if not worse. Replace it with water with a slice of lemon. You’ll instantly start feeling better for it.
2. Start small. When following a new diet or a new training regime, usually around New Year’s resolution time, it’s easy to tell ourselves we can make all the changes necessary in order to lose weight. The reality is, this sucks. It can become boring very quickly. We don’t expect anyone to be able to do this and make it a lasting change. All too often, people who start this way, go back into old habits, perhaps with even more fervour, which is the opposite of what they set out to do. So our advice is: Start small.
This could be as simple as introducing a side salad with your evening meal every day for two weeks, so it becomes so ingrained you do it without thinking about it. Once you’re at this level, introduce another change: for example, eating half an avocado at breakfast.
3. Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry. This is not a new trick. Many of you are aware of this already. The minute you walk in the store to do your weekly shop, you will start putting things in your trolley that have no business being in the trolley of someone who is determined to take back control of their health. We also give ourselves ‘licenses’ to put items in our trolley and this is not purely down to you – it’s the way supermarkets and point-of-sale marketing strategies are designed. E.g. why is the crisps aisle right next to the soft drinks? Why is the donut stand right next to the self-service checkout? Do you find yourself thinking, “Well I said no to all of the junk back there, I deserve a donut.” You’re not alone. The supermarkets know this.
If you do find yourself putting something in your trolley that shouldn’t be there – ask yourself – do you want to test your will power for the 30-45 minutes you spend in the store, or test your willpower for an entire week when that item is in your cupboard or your fridge at home? If it goes home, it will get eaten, you will feel bad and “I’ll start next week” pops in to your head. Don’t give yourself that excuse.
4. Hide the junk. Make it harder to get to. If you are following point 2 above you will be starting small but that doesn’t mean you keep the junk food in plain sight. Hide it. If you want it, you have to work for it. Put it in your shed or in your basement (or your attic!) not in your kitchen. Not within easy reach. At the same time, move the fruit and veg front and centre in your kitchen. If you can move the veg to eye-level in your fridge, do it.
Treat your fridge or pantry like you want to treat your body, by only keeping the freshest, healthiest ingredients in there and the results will just happen.
5. Have treats outside of the home. We don’t expect anyone to give up all junk food forever and ever. At the same time, we don’t expect everyone to eat junk items on a daily basis. Having a treat day (cheat day) is healthy for your mind when first transitioning to a lifestyle like this. We do urge that you make it better quality junk food than the processed, pre-packaged stuff from supermarkets. Our answer to make things homemade with the freshest ingredients (check out Fahim’s pancakes recipe!) but if this is not possible, go out to a nice place.
Go out for ice cream, make it an occasion, once every so often, rather than buying a tub of ice cream. Go out for a cheat meal at that new gourmet burger place rather than hitting up your local Dixy for the cheap stuff, cooked in cheap trans fats.
There you have it. Our five tips to help you unprocess your diet and make the rest of the changes you want to make easier to instill as habits.
As always, feel free to comment below, ask any questions or contact us for pointers. We’re always standing by, ready to help.