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How to stop falling off track with your diet

If you feel your diet is making you deprived to the point that you need a break from it at the weekend, then you have probably gone too restrictive during the week.

I will never encourage anyone to have a strict, unfulfilling diet. Growing up I watched my mum attempting every now and then to limit herself to a grapefruit for breakfast. A GRAPEFRUIT! Was it any wonder that she would quit the diet only to start all over again on Monday?. 

If you're feeling the need to blow out on the weekend then you're seeing your diet as a short term thing. One that you will maintain for as long as you need to and then go back to old ways.

A healthy longterm diet is something you can maintain seven days a week, forever.

You should easily be able to consume 1800 - 2000 calories a day (depending on how active you are) and still feel fulfilled and satiated by eating the right kind of food that is lower calorie, higher protein and, more importantly, filling. 

Side note: I hate the word diet because it carries negative connotations. When I use it I'm referring to the food and drink we consume in our daily life rather than a commercial diet plan. 

Reframe the way you think about weekends

As the saying goes, fail to plan, plan to fail. If you don't organise your meals for the whole of the week, then things will undoubtedly fall off track at the weekend.

If you decide that Friday nights are Pizza night then plan your calories for the other days accordingly. 

So for example, if your calories are 1800 a day but you want a 1000 calorie pizza at the weekend you could reduce your calories by 50 calories a day so that you can plan that meal in. So taking your calories down to 1750 a day.

That could literally be, if you drink tea with milk and sugar, having one less cup a day. Or if you have a bag of crisps everyday, having two less bags a week. 

 

If you don't make these micro changes to your diet or if you keep going with the all or nothing mentality of eating restricted and then overeating, you will probably have the same result a month from now. When you keep starting over on Monday.

How to satisfy cravings

It’s not realistic to live on a diet that doesn’t include some of the foods that you crave. You are unlikely to live on just clean foods and if you try that you’re going to get tired of it.

I want you to eat healthy, but make sure you are eating food that you actually like. Don’t force healthy food down that you hate. There are literally hundreds of fruit, vegetables, meats and salads, and there are hundreds of ways to cook them to make them taste more delicious too. Don’t live on steamed broccoli and plain chicken because you’ve heard it’s good for you. No one is going to be happy with that long term!

So if you love chocolate, plan a little into your weekly diet so you don’t end up getting uncontrollable cravings where you end up binging on lots at a time. The risk is if you do this you’ll go into self sabotage mode and either give up or beat yourself up about it.

Portion control the things that you crave into your day, so you don't have such strong urges. 

Eat to nourish your body, improve performance. Ditch the diet culture.

Stick to eating what you can happily maintain forever. 

Start and end your day with Protein

I prefer to start and end my day with lots of protein to fight off mid-morning and evening hunger. So I will either have scrambled eggs with avocado and a thin granary bagel, or muesli with blueberries and Greek Yogurt (high in protein). 

People often react to my scrambled egg choice as though it's time consuming (it actually takes less time than toast) or that it's an over indulgent, fatty breakfast. But when you eat protein you stay fuller for longer because it takes much longer for your body to break it down and digest it compared to cereals which fly through your digestive system and therefore leave you hungry an hour or so later. 

With a high protein breakfast there is less chance that you will a) get cravings b) eat mid-morning snacks and c) fall off the diet because you found it too restrictive. 

Eggs are not the culprit for why people gain fat, it's the snacks in between meals, or the highly processed foods and drinks that are usually to blame. 

If you are doing a diet and you know it’s not something you can sustain long term, as in forever, then the chances are you are doing a diet with the idea that once you’ve lost the weight you will go back to eating how you did before.

And guess what will happen...

Some people can get away with that approach, but for most people as soon as you return to your normal diet then you start to gain fat. 

Crash dieting may have short term benefits of fast weight loss and you can feel happy with the dropping digits on the scale. But a healthy long term diet, although slower, will last!