One of the biggest challenges my clients struggle with when they come to see me, and you may struggle with this too, is knowing what to eat and improve your diet.
Which diet to follow, how many calories to have, which foods you can or can’t have. There are so many programs out there, so many conflicting stories, it can all be overwhelming.
It can also be very frustrating if you’re cutting down and cutting a lot of foods out yet you’re not seeing the kind of results people on social media are posting.
What if there was an easier way to lose weight? What if you could still eat the things you enjoy AND lose weight?
One of the key components of my Move Better Feel Amazing program is nutrition and improving HOW and WHEN you eat as much as WHAT you eat. I want to share with you some of the best strategies I’ve used with clients that have helped them get amazing results. Here are 3 ways you can improve your diet without changing what you eat.
- Eat Slowly
- Eat Within A Time Window
- Eat In Relation To Your Goal
This is a very powerful one. Many people struggle with reducing portion sizes as they usually feel hungry later. A very easy way to do this naturally is to put your fork down with each mouthful, chew 20 times then take a sip of water as you swallow and repeat. Stop eating when you begin to feel full.
Also, sit away from your workstation when doing this, keep your phone in your pocket and avoid any other devices.
When I started working with my client, Ian, one of his goals was to lose weight but told me that he was already eating very healthily. When you’re already eating healthily, perhaps what you’re eating isn’t the problem. He told me he was guilty of eating quickly so I asked him to eat slowly, as suggested above. Just by making that change, he lost around 10lbs in the first 4 weeks.
Why this works:
Most people eat quickly as they have limited time on their breaks and browsing emails, the internet or social media will likely prompt you to eat quickly too. By slowing things down and chewing more, you take longer to break food down and digest and you’ll feel fuller sooner. Rather than waste what you don’t eat, you can always keep the rest for later but you’ll start to reduce your portion sizes naturally and feel less likely to snack before your next meal.
Eat Within A Time Window
This is the basis of time-restricted feeding, more commonly known as intermittent fasting. Research has shown that around 50% of us spread meals and snacks across 15 hours or more in the day. Having periods of time when we’re not eating is essential for our body to repair itself and strengthen our immune systems.
I listened to an interview with Professor Satchin Panda, who wrote the original paper on time-restricted feeding, on the brilliant Feel Better Live More podcast with Dr Rangan Chatterjee.
For anyone who grew up in the 70s or early 80s, what I heard from this podcast, and others since, is essentially what we grew up knowing as breakfast, lunch and dinner. My memories of growing up revolved around those meals and the occasional snack. Sure, some of the food we ate may not have been that healthy but there wasn’t the abundance of food available that there is now.
Why this works:
The research suggests that when you eat within a time window, you make better choices at mealtimes and become less likely to snack and also, eating at set times every day becomes easier on the gut. The optimum window is suggested to be 10 hours but that may be a tall order for many people. I would say to begin with 14 hours, or even 12 if you can manage it, then reduce gradually as you get used to it.
Eat In Relation To Your Goal
This is the most powerful strategy I’ve ever used. A client, Vince, came to me once wanting to lose weight.
When someone says their goal is to lose weight, I will ask them what they want to do when they’ve lost the weight. What are the clothes they want to wear, where do they want to go etc. Weight loss in itself has no emotional attachment so to say you want to lose 2 stone, is just a meaningless number.
When you focus on the things you want to do, the places you want to go, the clothes you want to wear and how you want to feel when you’ve lost weight, you have a much more meaningful image of where you want to be and easier to stay focused on.
When I asked Vince this, he told me about a cruise he and his wife were to be going on and he told me about how he wanted to feel while he was on the cruise and had mentioned a jacket he wanted to wear to dinner, which was currently too small for him.
He always asked about certain foods, whether they were good and if he could have them. I said to him that when he’s thinking about these foods, to ask himself if they would help him fit into his jacket. If yes, to have them but if he had to think about it, put them down and have something else instead.
What happened next was very powerful. He told me he’d stopped eating biscuits and didn’t miss them. He made lots of similar decisions with other foods that weren’t serving him any purpose. The best bit was when he came back from his cruise, told wonderful stories of the places they’d visited etc and then said that the jacket that had been too small for him, still didn’t fit him as it was now too big for him!
Why this works:
Using your imagination to conjure up the future version of you is very powerful. It’s easy to set a goal but knowing what it actually looks and feels like once you’ve achieved it, takes it to a whole new level. One of the things I do with every client is to get them to imagine that they’ve achieved their goals and to become aware of everything that comes to mind. Where they are, what they’re doing that they maybe can’t do right now, who they’re with, the clothes they’re wearing and also tune into how they’re now feeling as if it was happening at that moment. This makes the goal much more meaningful.
My strategy is always to start with the finish in mind, learned from marathon running, then work back the way to create the steps to get there. It’s not just about achieving ‘a’ goal but to achieve the goal you want, your way.
When you know exactly what your definition of your goal looks like and will feel like to achieve, it feels somewhat more desirable than to lose 2 stone and get fit.
When you have that clear vision of your goal, the cheeky glass of wine you have on a Wednesday, the packet of crisps/bar of chocolate/biscuit or other treat you allow yourself now seems much less appealing.
Think of how that would make you feel to consciously decide not to have something that was previously a mainstay in your diet and also, not miss it. Pretty good right?
When that happens, everything becomes possible!
If you’d like to learn a better approach to eating as well as exercising, that puts you first and gets you the results you want, get in touch and let’s have a chat :)
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