- Keep it simple
When it comes to a healthy diet, we’re not doing ourselves any favours by overcomplicating things. One of the biggest dieting mistakes I see is people trying to follow strict rules that aren’t maintainable in the long term (think fasting and heavily restricted calories).
At the end of the day, the diet that’s going to give you the best results is the one you can stick to. Make sure that the healthy changes you’re adopting are realistic and sustainable. You shouldn’t look at it like a diet – but as a lifestyle change. Getting yourself out of the ‘dieting’ mind-set is the first crucial step for achieving healthy, lasting results and breaking out of the ‘yoyo dieting’ cycle.
Concentrate on making small, effective changes, such as cutting out alcohol during the week, increasing how many serves of veggies you have each day, or drinking more water. Then concentrate on maintaining these changes consistently. Focus on feeling good – not restricted.
- Be prepared
Food prep is a great way to remain on track with your diet during the week, but I hear you – it can take a lot of effort, planning and time, which we don’t always have. The key is to be prepared for those times when you haven’t been grocery shopping, you’re tired and haven’t had time to cook, or you’re just simply feeling unmotivated (it happens to all of us!). Have some healthy pre-made meals in the freezer (I’m a huge fan of Super Nature Wellness bowls) or some quick basics you’ve cooked on a quiet weekend. Having a reliable stock of healthy options in your freezer can be a saving grace in moments of weakness, so the first thing you’re reaching for isn’t the delivery menu!
Filling your shopping cart with healthy diet staples should form part of your weekly grocery shop. Some healthy foods to throw in include frozen veggies (perfect for a quick and easy stir-fry), eggs (to whip up an omelette in no time), bean mix and tuna (for a fresh and healthy salad).
- Treat yourself
I’m not encouraging you to indulge in cake and donuts every day (sorry), but to prevent binging and distorted eating habits, incorporating a little treat here and there into your diet can be a healthy habit. Whether it’s a bliss ball after lunch, a couple of pieces of dark chocolate after dinner, or a baby scoop of gelato here and there, if you’re in control of your eating, then you’ll still see results long-term. The reason being – by not depriving yourself entirely and avoiding the all-out binge, you’re actually most likely to consume less overall.
- Keep a food diary
Keeping a food diary is an effective way to help identify what you’re actually consuming and pinpointing areas for improvement. This isn’t something I’d suggest sticking with long term, but if you track your food and drink consumption over a week or two, you’re likely to learn a whole lot more about your energy consumption – and picking up on a few sneaky calories you weren’t necessarily aware of before! This exercise is also helpful for shedding light on the causes of other symptoms you might be experiencing as well, such at fatigue or uncomfortable bowel movements.
- Eat real food
One of the easiest and most effective ways to maintain a healthy diet is to eat real wholefood – it’s as simple as that. When I say wholefoods, I mean those foods that are not in a package with a list of ingredients you need a chemistry degree to understand.
When shopping, stick to the outer isles of the store – the fruit, veggies, meats and dairy sections. Only go into the isles for a few extra staples such as eggs, seasoning and oils – but know what you’re looking for and don’t go wandering through the isles without purpose.
If it has a label – read it. Carefully. If you can’t understand the ingredients then put it back.
If one of the top 3 ingredients listed is sugar – or if you aren’t sure what it is – you know it’s not something you should be putting into your body. These are the foundational habits that will get you eating whole, real food. Habits your body will thank you for!
Steph Canning – Xtend Barre Essendon owner and instructor since 2014, Bachelor of Human Nutrition from Latrobe University.