Nutritionist Rachael Anne Hill tackles diet myths and explains how to change your attitude towards weight loss
Lose 10 pounds by thinking yourself slim!
Severing emotional ties with food is half the battle when you’re trying to lose weight. We’ve all been there – you’re dealing with a stressful situation and reach for a bar of chocolate. Or the first thing you do when you come home after a long day at work is grab a bottle of wine from the fridge. We all do it, but this strong link between our emotions and overeating (or drinking) isn’t doing our health – or our waistlines – any favours.
But don’t worry – shifting your mindset can make all the difference to tipping those scales. That’s why we asked nutritionist Rachael Anne Hill for her top tips for changing that attitude towards weight loss – and the good news is that she believes overhauling your outlook is easier than you might think.
Rachael has picked ten of the most common situations where we would normally reach for the biscuit tin, and provided us with simple solutions to each scenario. So whatever your usual thought process, you’ll now have the tools to tackle them head on. Always reach for a sugary treat when you feel tired? Not any more! Or perhaps you use the I’ve worked hard, so now I deserve a treat,’ trick. With Rachael’s clever thought-replacement tactics, working hard will no longer mean you sabotage your weight loss goals by rewarding’ yourself with biscuits.
Not only will these new tactics help you live a healthier lifestyle, but you could lose 10 pounds or more just by using the power of your mind!
So, start losing by flipping those most common psychological weight loss hurdles on their head…
Looking for an easy-to-follow diet plan to help you lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks? Try the 2+1 Diet.
Using food or drink to cheer you up or to reward yourself rarely works and is a sure-fire way to put on weight. Find alternative ways of treating yourself, such as a long bath or a new lipstick. Even better, try a new fitness class or hobby that’ll help you achieve your weight loss goals: an hour of ballroom dancing burns up to 275 calories.
New thought: What I really deserve is a slim, fit and healthy body I can be proud of.
Big mistake. The human mind is a very complex thing. The minute you tell yourself that you are not allowed to eat a certain food, it becomes even more desirable. Allow yourself one or two biscuits, however, and you’ll be less tempted to scoff the whole packet. Have a ‘cheat day’ once a week when you allow yourself to indulge in your favourite treat – if you stick to a low calorie diet for the rest of the week, this could even help you lose weight by revving up your metabolism – win win!
New thought: Everything is ok to eat – but in moderation.
Dr Prentice of the Dunn Human Nutrition Unit in Cambridge says, ‘There is no doubt that your metabolic rate goes down when you diet. It’s the body’s way of fighting back when it thinks it may be facing starvation, but we’ve found it recovers after a few weeks of the diet ending.’ Keep your metabolism stoked by eating small, regular meals and snacks, not skipping your cheat days and exercising for 30 minutes a day (a brisk walk counts). Once you’ve reached your goal weight, ease back into ‘normal’ eating slowly – in order to maintain your weight, you’ll need to make exercise and healthy eating part of your everyday life for good.
New thought: My metabolic rate is functioning normally and I can make it burn an extra 200 to 300 calories with every 30 minutes of exercise I do.
No problem! You don’t need to make an enemy of food to lose weight. Make the most of the opportunity to try out new foods, recipes and ways of cooking. Experiment with herbs, seasoning and clever swaps like courgetti for spaghetti and you’ll soon find that you naturally reach for healthier options over your old favourites.
New thought: Good food doesn’t need to be covered in calorie-rich creams, oils, fats and sauces to taste great.
Remember the golden rule – if you eat more calories than you burn off, you’ll put on weight, so no matter how virtuous a food may appear, don’t overdo it. Listen to your appetite and stop when you’ve had enough. Use a food diary app to track your daily calorie intake, and focus on eating mindfully.
New thought: A low-GI/fat/sugar/calorie food won’t be of any benefit to me if I use it as an excuse to eat more of it.
Scientists have discovered that people who carry the ‘obesity’ gene can lose weight just as easily as those who don’t. So ditch the excuses, pull on your trainers, and start training your brain to eat less.
New thought: I can’t alter my DNA, but I can make sure I am the best that I can be.
When you are feeling tired, a sweet snack will increase your blood sugar levels, which is why it often gives you the quick fix you crave. But this ‘sugar high’ is very swiftly followed by an even bigger ‘sugar low’, leaving you feeling more tired (unless you follow your sugary treat up with a workout). Try to eat little and often during the day – snack on fruits, nuts and whole grains. If you feel tired, rather than hungry, have a nap or cup of coffee instead.
New thought: When I’m feeling tired, it’s sleep that I need.
Use the 80:20 rule. If you follow a healthy, portion-controlled eating regime 80 per cent of the time, you don’t need to worry too much about the other 20 per cent. If you know you’ll find it difficult to resist dessert, pick a low-calorie main. If you can never resist a creamy, carb-laden pasta dish, follow it up with a sorbet or cup of mint tea, rather than an ice cream sundae. Check the menu in advance when eating out.
New thought: ‘One treat at a time – I’ve pushed the boat out on the main, so I’ll have a low-calorie option like fruit or sorbet.’
It goes against the grain to waste food, but remember – if you put it in the bin, it’s gone for good; but put it in your mouth and it may hang around on your hips, thighs or stomach for years to come! Eating from a small, brightly coloured plate or bowl, and using a smaller serving spoon, can help to make you think twice about overdoing it. Try using a portion control plate.
New thought: If I’m not hungry, I simply won’t eat any more.
The words ‘lite’ or ‘light’ tend to lead one to assume that they are either low in calories or fat. However, neither is necessarily true as it may simply mean that product is a lighter colour or texture than another similar product. ‘Reduced-fat’ does not necessarily mean low-fat. One crisp manufacturer makes reduced-fat crisps that are 50 per cent fat compared to 62 per cent in its normal crisps. Both are still high in fat. ‘Low-fat’ may not be as it seems either. As fat gives many foods their taste, manufacturers often replace this with more sugar. Learn how to read nutrition labels like an expert so that you can make the best choices.
New thought: I won’t see labelling as a green light for a treat or extra helping.
If you weigh nine stone, you would need to run for just under an hour to burn off 500 calories. To eat 500 calories would take less than a couple of minutes in the form of a Big Mac, bar of chocolate or a milkshake. Regular exercise will help you regulate your appetite and eat healthier foods, but unless you watch what you eat as well, when it comes to weight loss, you’ll be fighting a losing battle. Try using an app which allows you to track the number of calories you burn during exercise, as well as the number of calories you take in through food.
New thought: No amount of exercise will make up for an unhealthy diet or overeating.