The term diet usually describes the restrictions we put on our eating in order to fit into a new dress, get beach ready or lose that holiday weight. Diet ‘wisdom’ is offered by friends and the media, ‘no carbs before Marbs’, ‘five small meals a day’, ‘never miss breakfast’ and a whole host of other plans. However short term success is often followed by slipping back to the original starting point.
One thing these strategies have in common is that they all reduce the amount of calories we consume. Everything we eat and drink contains calories which our bodies need to function properly. We have an energy balance of calories in and calories out. In simple terms, if we use more energy than we consume then we will use the energy already stored in the body and weight decreases over time. Conversely if we use less energy than we are consuming the excess is stored and body weight increases. At the end of the day, no matter what diet plan you choose, the reason it will work is if you are using more energy than you are consuming.
Most people have heard about calories in vs calories out but here’s where it can get tricky. If all you do is dramatically restrict your calories your body will not have the energy it needs to perform well. Over time, this will have a negative impact on your weight loss and overall health. As with many things in life the key is balance. Your body needs calories to function so let’s look at how you can start making changes that will bring you long term results.
Small changes have a big impact… over time. Start by substituting sugary cereal and pastry for scrambled eggs or a green smoothie, swap that lunchtime sandwich and crisps for a tuna salad (skip the creamy dressing!) and enjoy a delicious chicken stir fry in place of fried chicken and chips for your evening meal. Remember, no crazy plans are needed, just consistent healthy choices will start you on the road to diet success.
This article was originally published in the August issue of Idle Talk Magazine.