There are some rules I live by when dieting so I wanted to share some tips with the help of some fellow bloggers for keeping up the hard work and making your new healthy eating a life change rather than a faddy diet.
1. Always go Light - When it comes to picking ingredients for recipe's most state 'butter' or 'milk' but by opting for light spreads and skimmed or semi-skimmed milk you are cutting lots of calories off but still getting the flavour.
Light , reduced salt and sugar, low fat or reduced fat options are always a good choice and are always a staple in my kitchen. I can barely notice the difference between the full fat products and the light ones but they definitely help cut the calories!
2. Think Outside The Box - A lot of products are packaged into the recommended portion size by the manufacturer but just because there are 3 in a pack doesn't mean you have too eat all of them. With snacks like the Go Ahead style biscuits I unbox them all and put them in a airtight container and portion them myself.
3. My Fitness Pal - You will begin to think I am endorsing this app but it really has helped me a lot to track my eating. When you are noting down how much you are eating it makes you think about calories differently. Be careful though as sometimes it can become addictive and you might find yourself trying to beat yesterdays low score (not a good step, always eat what you need to stay healthy). Thanks to Mrs Bishop for recommending MFP to me!
4. Don't Trick Yourself - If you aren't honest about what you eat then you aren't tricking anyone but yourself. If you slip up and eat something you shouldn't have that is ok, just log it and move on. Just remind yourself of why you are dieting in the first place.
5. Exercise is Key - So many people think it is all about the food but being healthy and losing weight means keeping active (something I need to work on myself). Louise from LouiseBunnyHop suggests having a snack of banana/apple with a nut butter as a healthy pre-workout snack, remember to keep energy levels up.
6. Keep Hydrated - Emma from Life According to Mrs Shilts reminded me that sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger pangs. Try having a glass of water when you feel hungry, wait half an hour and see if you are still hungry.
7. Find a Balance - This means making sure that you eat all of the right things and all in proportion. Check out portion size charts online for meals and remember to treat yourself too. As long as you are eating a balanced diet it is ok to have a treat once in a while, Jess from Our Baby Blog makes great treats (recipes on the blog) and still manages to stay in shape!
8. Embrace Meal Planning - Think about your meals before you go shopping, this will stop the panic in the aisles and allow you to stick to your goals. I always decide on 4-5 meals for the week plus a few lazy meals like soups, jacket potatoes or frozen stuff for the boys. I'm not strict about which days I have those meals but know that's what we have for the week.
Kate from Family Fever pointed out to never shop on an empty stomach as you will gravitate for the junk food and also don't shop after just eating as you will not even want to look at more food!
9. Trust Your Body - If you feel unwell at any point in your diet always consult a doctor. Low blood sugar and dizziness are common when reducing food intake but take care to eat balanced meals and have healthy snacks in between too reduce risk of sugar crashes. Faddy diets are always plastered across the internet but are not always good for your health so consult your GP if you are unsure about a drastic diet.
10. Love Yourself - Dieting should always be about making yourself healthier. Whether you are looking to lose weight or gain it your sole goal should be to be a weight that is healthy and where you are happy in yourself. Sandra from Thinking Slimmer Blog has some great suggestions - Take time for yourself when you are losing weight. Relax and de-stress yourself as much as possible. Then you will be able to hear the inner voice that tells you to eat when you are hungry, and ignore the signals to eat when you are bored, tired, angry or upset.
These are just tips that I think will help you to make the right choices when considering weight loss but my opinion has always been to do what is best for you, take care of yourself and always aim to be a healthy, happy you!