With the New Year’s resolution of dieting losing forward momentum I thought it would be a good time to talk about sustainable dieting. I work with a lot of clients who have had limited success with fad dieting; often getting initial positive results which are often followed by a relapse and a return to previous negative dietary habits! From my experience in the nutrition field this is often due to the lack of sustainability of the diet they are undertaking. Unfortunately the media are obsessed with radical diets which promise amazing results in fast time frames, all of which entice people in.
Performing a quick internet search of ‘how to lose weight?’ or ‘how to eat healthier?’ results in pages of the newest dieting fad, or companies selling the next magic supplement. Unfortunately this advice is often misleading and the scientific evidence behind their claims simply doesn’t exist. So what advice would I give to a customer embarking on a diet, be it to lose weight or increase athletic performance?
Firstly choosing a sustainable diet, as in one you can adhere to long term, would be my key advice. Make small realistic changes to your current dietary habits and before you know it these will be ingrained into your behavioural patterns. From here you can introduce further changes to optimise your nutrition and before you know it you have dramatically changed your diet and health. From my experience in the nutrition industry not only do fad diets lead to non-adherence but often lead to nutrient deficiencies as the priority is to eat foods low in calories rather than considering the composition of these foods.
Another important factor to consider when dieting is daily protein intake. There have been numerous studies (see links below) that have looked at the large satiating effect (feelings of fullness) protein produces. If your goal is to lose weight, try to increase the protein content of your meals to aid in appetite regulation. Combining this with nutrient dense carbohydrate sources (fruit, vegetables and unrefined grains) will ensure you are able to stick to your diet and succeed with your goals. A perfect meal to fit into any dieting strategy would be the Kurt’s burrito here at Street Food Chef. It combines lean chicken high in protein with nutrient dense carbohydrates (Beans, tomatoes, and avocados) and will keep you full throughout the day.
Finally, why not try and increase the amount of exercise you are doing. An increase in daily energy expenditure will make your body composition goals much more realistic. By combining exercise with a sustainable diet you are much more likely to hit your goals and succeed in the long term.
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