Here at BioGanix, we know how hard it is to stick to a strict diet. We also know that most of us will end up gaining the weight back, and sometimes more than we started out with. The truth is, starving yourself is not going to help anything. First of all you will be miserable, and low morale can make us crave food even more. Secondly, researchers have found that willpower is a limited resource; we only have so much to give. So forget about quitting smoking, exercising more, or changing anything else in your life if you are dieting. And finally, your body may actually store more fat as a result of calorie-cutting. It makes sense: if your body thinks there is a famine outside of it, the natural response is to prepare for hard times.
We’ve done a lot of research and with the amount of information available to us, and the variety of opinions out there; it can be hard to figure out what really works. Often, it's not about eating less, but more about clean eating. Every human body is different, so no definite rules can really apply to everyone. And you know your body best, so often the best thing to do is to just listen to it. You may not really be hungry, but bored; you may not really need that second cookie, but may be anxious instead. To make being healthy without restrictive dieting and calorie counting easier for you; we have composed a set of general guidelines. Here they are.
- Eat Real Food
- By this we mean food as it came from nature. We’re not suggesting you go fully Raw or Paleo by any means. Just try to limit processed foods as much as possible. Rule of thumb: if it looks completely different than its original source, it’s probably processed.
- Example: a roast chicken is always better than breaded nuggets
- Eat consciously
- Here, we’re getting at the all-too-familiar stress eating we’re all guilty of sometimes. Looking down to realise you don’t know where that box of cookies just went is not only demoralising, it is also very confusing to your stomach. Take the time to chew, really taste your food, and put down your fork once in a while.
- Eating a meal in less than 20 minutes means your body has not even registered you’re eating yet. Keep that in mind.
- Put plenty of plants on your plate
- And do it every day. If possible, every meal is even better. That food pyramid that told you protein and dairy are necessary with every meal? Forget it. Fruits and vegetables are. Ideally, your plate should be at least half green (not the lime jello kind of green) and the rest should be carbs, proteins, and dairy. Leafy green vegetables really are your health’s saviour.
- Drink water
- Around 2 litres (68 fluid ounces) of water per day is a good rule of thumb. When you think you’re getting hungry, try drinking a glass of water first. Often, you’ll find you were actually thirsty.
- Count calories, count veggies instead
- The average human needs about 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Each serving must weigh at least 60 grams (or about 2 ounces). They must also be different.
- For example: 120 grams of grapes does not count as 2 servings. Have 60 grams of grapes and 60 grams of blueberries instead
- Don’t cut anything out completely
- If you love a slice of cake or pizza once in a while, don’t forbid yourself to ever have any ever again. Allow yourself some treats, and your body will thank you. Frustrating yourself will only make you want to binge more. And the more frustrated you are, the bigger the binge will be. So be kind to yourself and keep finding pleasure in food.
- Stay hungry
- Whatever you do, do not starve yourself. You will end up hungry all the time, binging later, and storing fat in all the wrong places. Instead, opt for healthier snacks. Replace cookies with fruits, and chips with a salad. It is ok to eat often. As a matter of fact, some studies suggest that eating smaller meals more often is healthier than the recommended 3 times a day.
These are by no means definitive. One setback should not demotivate you. If you do slip, pick up where you left off and keep going. This list of Dos and Don’ts is more about changing daily habits on the long term than it is about an unrealistic instant overhaul of your nutrition. Take these one step at a time, think about what you put into your body, and most importantly: enjoy each bite.
Written by Juliette Benard
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.