I’ve been seeing a disturbing amount of poor dieting advice and down-right unhealthy weight loss ideas flung about all over twitter and the general web-o-sphere recently, and it’s really getting on my nerves, so I’ve decided to do a short post on the ‘Autumn Slim Down’!
It’s not a traditional time of year to be embarking upon a new diet or trying to shed a few pounds, but after the holidays of the Summer months and ahead of the decadence of the Christmas period, I feel that now is the perfect time to get back in shape; even if only so that we can splurge all the more over Christmas!!
As I’ve repeatedly mentioned, for me October is the real beginning of Autumn and a fresh start and time for a new beginning. So a new Autumn diet? Why ever not!
I’m not about to post a whole bunch of recipes and build diet plans and calorie counts etc: I’m not offering a service or trying to sell something, all I’m going to do is give my advice and my own experiences on dieting and being healthy.
Even if you’re not looking to lose weight, eating healthy is important! It’s good for the skin, for the mind and for the heart and soul! You will have more energy, a clearer mind and will feel a whole lot better with a diet full of fresh, natural ingredients and a good balance of nutrients!
There are two things that really get me when it comes to health and dieting;
Firstly, all the fad-diets and solutions and products and pills and downright awful advice. Low carb – I tried it for a while a couple of years ago – the weight does come off, but guess what? When you try to start eating normally again, you put it all back on! High Protein – awful for the kidneys and gives you bad breath and is, once again, not a long term solution. Juicing, Low-Gi, Raw-Food…the list goes on and to be honest, they’re all a bunch of nonsense and they’re so damaging to your health and body in the long (and short) term!
Secondly, a poor diet really really irritates me. The obesity in the world, the constant stream of fast food and the overwhelming dependency on the cheap, quick, easy take-away food really gets to me and just makes my skin crawl and blood boil! I get overwhelmingly bewildered by my flatmate, who doesn’t appear to eat a fresh, home-cooked or remotely healthy thing EVER. Sugar-packed cereal in the morning, supermarket meal-deal for lunch and frozen Pizza/Battered Fish/Kebab/Burger/Battered Chicken etc. for dinner and then endless bags of cookies and doughnuts and sugar-coated baked goods throughout the day. He’s not fat, but he’s incredibly unhealthy and it’s going to catch up to him!
But I’m not preaching or anything…!
Honestly, I do eat sweets and chocolates and biscuits and eat a fair amount of ready meals (being as busy as I have been, sometimes you need something quick!) but I always add a whole load of fresh veg to the meals and try to choose ones that are less processed and have fewer artificial ingredients and preservatives in them. I’m not saying don’t do it, I’m saying do it less!
When it comes to dieting, the only formula you need to know is this: Reduced calories = Reduced Weight. Cut down on the calorie intake and you will lose weight, it’s fact, its science and it’s general common sense. The problem is, so many people are out for a quick fix (we are the instant gratification generation after all!) that they want instant results so cut their calories massively and then end up falling off the wagon after two weeks due to what is literally starvation and as a result of not having seen the completely unrealistic results they were hoping for.
So reduced calories. I could talk about TDEE and BMR and all the rest, but I don’t see the point, I’m no expert and you can find that info freely elsewhere. What I’m saying is, cut the calories, but NOT TOO MUCH!! The general consensus seems to be 1200, but I think even that is too low. 1300 at the least. The weight loss is slower, but the results will be more permanent and you will be able to actually stick to the diet effectively for a prolonged period of time!
By cutting out around 500 calories a day you are set to lose about 1lb. a week (or more depending on your stats) and although that doesn’t seem like much, the thing about weight loss is that it needs to be a lifestyle change. You need to set yourself up with habits that will last a lifetime, not just 2 months on the diet! If you take it slow and learn new habits and a new way of life then you will be able to MAINTAIN the weight loss and hopefully never have to diet again!
So what have I said…oh, that’s right, EAT LESS TO LOSE WEIGHT! Don’t rush into it and don’t expect a miracle, it won’t happen like that. I yo-yo dieted for years but it’s only in the last year that I really found out how to lose weight, keep it off and not go completely crazy thinking about weight/food/dieting etc all the time. A small cut makes a big difference in the long run.
When I say eat less, I also mean, eat less but balanced. Every meal should have carbs, protein and AT LEAST one portion of fresh fruit or vegetables. I will post a few meals and recipes at some point highlighting this, but what I’m saying here is, DO NOT DENY YOURSELF! Denying yourself things just creates an obsession. So I have chocolate, I have crisps, I have anything I want as long as I’m careful about what else I eat. And it works, it truly and honestly works.
The reason why the crazy diets such as no-carb, low-Gi, Raw-Food etc work for a while is because they cut out a huge food group and therefore force you to dramatically reduce your calorie intake, but the problem is that they don’t teach you a lifestyle – do you really want to never have a carb again? – and the minute you go off the diet and try to eat ‘normally’ again, you put all the weight back on (and often more!) That and you can do some irreparable damage to your body and metabolism and mental health. Look after your body for god’s sake, we don’t get to trade in every 24 months!
So don’t deny yourself, but don’t over-indulge every day. It’s fine to indulge on holidays, or at Christmas or for special events, but don’t make it an everyday habit! Everything in moderation!
Eating Healthily really requires these same rules, but without the calorie reduction. Eat something from every food group (those pyramids that they’e always showing us…) and make sure you have as much organic, clean, fresh, un-processed food as possible. But always allow yourself treats! Eat what you like, and find new ways to introduce the healthy foods into your diet – I love risotto, but it’s so stodgy and I’ve recently invented a quinoa based variation that I love! I will post the recipe some time. But finding ways to make your favourite ‘un-healthy’ meals more healthy and clean is the way to go!
Goodness, this was supposed to be a quick note, but it seems to have spiralled out of control! I just get very irritated with all the dieting advice that claims to be expert and healthy and effective etc. and it actually just an utter load of crap!
Basically, eat fresh stay fresh! If you eat less, then you will weigh less…it’s really as simple as that. A healthy diet is the best thing you can do for yourself, in every way. Your diet affects everything about you, from your sight, to sleep, to concentration, physical appearance, mental health and even IQ! So make sure that it’s a good one! Never deny yourself, but learn moderation! Eat as healthily as you can but allow yourself indulgences and you will be just fine. Whether you want to lose weight or not, eating a balanced, healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.