Why don't diets stick? And how can we make sure the weight stays off? We've chatted to the experts to find out.
Here’s the experts’ view on why we fail…
‘There’s no denying that dieting can be really hard,’ says Boots nutritionist Vicky Pennington. ‘Success doesn’t just mean changing for a few weeks or months. Somehow, you’ve got to incorporate changes into a new healthier way of life and develop a different mindset about how you eat.’
‘When the scales stick, people lose heart and resume their old way of eating. The pay off just isn’t enough, unless their clothes continually feel looser and friends keep saying how great they look,’ says Zotrim health coach Laura Williams. ‘It’s not that diets per se don’t work, it’s that consistency is as important as the regime you follow.’
And here are 10 tips on how to keep on top of your healthy eating plan…
1. ‘Recognise you’re not going to change overnight. It takes time to build changes into your way of life,’ says Vicky Pennington.
2. ‘Try to stick to a regular pattern of meals and snacks to stave off hunger pangs. We all have a tendency towards “all or nothing” thinking but it’s only natural to make mistakes. You will slip up but what’s important is getting back on track. One mistake doesn’t mean you have ruined your diet – move on and try not to punish yourself,’ she adds.
3. ‘If you feel like you’re going off the rails, try keeping a food diary and write down everything that you eat and drink. Research suggests that just the simple act of writing down what you’re consuming can double weight loss.’
4. ‘A little bit of what you fancy can be good – your new lifestyle doesn’t have to be about denial and nobody’s saying you can never have a biscuit or a piece of chocolate again. If you want to have a treat, make it something small, preferably under 100 calories.’
‘Most people on a diet feel they are completely confined to a restricted plan with no end in sight,’ says The Nutri Centre
nutritionist Lorna Driver-Davies. ‘We suggest eating really well and sticking to your plan for 6 days of the week and allowing yourself a 7th day of fun. This doesn’t mean going crazy on fatty or sugary foods, but treating yourself to a little more than you would usually allow.’
6. ‘Many begin by cutting out everything at once. We recommend cutting down slowly – master and get used to eating less of one food before you cut any more foods out,’ she adds.
7. ‘Diet food can be plain so don’t forget to add a little sea salt, tamari or soya sauce, onions, garlic, relishes, herbs and spices to jazz up your dishes. Thai food, for example, can be really light and tasty.’
8. ‘Try exercising more to eat more. If you sort your exercise plan, you may find you can eat well without having to cut down on food so dramatically. If you’re burning off a great deal of what you consume, you can reach a happy medium.’
9. ‘Remember that “fat-free” can actually mean you eat more. Healthy fats give us a feeling satiety, so instead of sticking to fat-free products, just eat less of the full-fat versions. That way, you’ll feel filled-up and less tempted by more extra calorie-rich food.’
10. ‘Be aware that using sugar substitutes is actually a very bad idea,’ says The Nutri Centre nutritionist Eloise Bauskis. ‘Firstly many of them are toxic and damaging to the body, especially aspartame. And research has repeatedly shown that the consumption of artificial sweeteners actually encourages you to gain even more weight than eating sugar! They trigger a complex set of biological reactions that can lead to excess weight gain regardless of the amount of calories you consume.’