And to make matters worse, there's a whole host of common, everyday traps that we all fall into along the way. But with a bit of awareness you can overcome them, get those pounds off and keep them off too! Here are five classic diet mistakes you'll probably recognise (and even make today)... and the easy ways to avoid making them.
1. I'm too tired to diet
Feeling exhausted can be a trigger to reach for food as your body tries to compensate for lack of energy.
Choose foods that will fill you up and give you slow release energy without lots of calories. Good options for meals are porridge, pasta, chicken or fish sandwiches made with grainy bread, or vegetable soup. Snack on nuts, dried or fresh fruit and low fat yogurts. A moderate caffeine hit at lunch time (a cup or two of coffee) will help you through that afternoon dip, but don't overdo it.
2. I'm feeling emotional
You've just had a blazing row with your partner so you reach for the biscuit tin.
Occasional comfort eating isn't a major problem if you get back on track and don't beat yourself up about what's happened. But you can't solve a serious emotional eating problem unless you tackle what's causing the unhappiness in the first place. You may need help from a dietitian who specialises in emotional eating disorders.
3. I'm feeling guilty
Many of us feel so hung up about eating 'naughty' food (like chocolate or cake) that we eat large amounts quickly, and guiltily, without really enjoying the experience.
Start loving food again by noticing which foods genuinely please and satisfy you, and which make you feel sick or uncomfortable. The welcome outcome is that you'll learn to stop eating food when it stops tasting good, or when you're full. Remember no one food is 'bad', it's your overall diet that counts.
4. I always eat on the run
A sausage roll grabbed here, a packet of crisps there... It's really hard
to find healthy food on the run, and that can spell disaster for your
Always carry healthy snacks, for example fruit, nuts, a wholegrain
sandwich or a yogurt, so you're prepared. But don't miss proper meals if
you can avoid it. It's the sure way to put on pounds as you'll be too
hungry to make sensible choices when you do get to eat.
5. I've ruined today's efforts... why stop now?
Otherwise known an 'all or nothing syndrome', this is what happens when
you tell yourself you've blown it with just one slice of chocolate
cake - so you finish the whole thing.
A lapse isn't a collapse! Just get straight back on track with healthy
eating. If allowing yourself a small portion of your favourite
indulgence is too hard, you may need to keep foods that are a weakness
completely out of the way for a while. You need to eat over 12 Mars bars (3500 calories) to put on 1lb
of fat. So one bad day isn't going to spell disaster.
... And 5 ways to keep that weight off for good!
When you've lost your weight, how do you keep it off? Researchers in
America interviewed thousands of dieters who have lost more than 10 per
cent of their body weight and kept it off for at least a year. They came
up with the following advice:
- Be physically active for an hour or more daily.
- Severely limit the fatty and sugary foods you consume and keep a check
- Always eat breakfast.
- Weigh yourself once or twice a week.
- Maintain a consistent eating pattern across weekdays and weekends.
Where to next?
5:2 diet meal planners! Everything you need to get started