Ok, so this is the blog post I get asked for again & again.
I'm not going to give you some faddy diet that will help you lose a stone, only to find it again next month.
Because it's a waste of both of our time & it's bad for you. That's why.
Instead, I will give you my tips, rules & advice to living your life, & losing weight along the way.
1. First & foremost you need motivation.
I'm going to go out on a limb here & say that as you're reading my blog, you like the internet. You're smarter than your average bear & I bet you check Facebook nearly every day. So, how about we use that as your basic motivation? Let's say that by the time summer comes around, you'll be ready to jump into a bikini and mess around with your friends. The next day, when you realised you've been tagged on Facebook, you don't get a feeling of dread incase you look like the fat one, you're just excited to see them because you all look great!
That's your goal. By summer, you're going to be so comfortable with your body, you'll be able to strip off & jump in the pool or run giggling (not jiggling) down the beach.
2. Now, let's work on hunger. There is a big difference between real hunger & emotional hunger. It's important to pay attention to real hunger, and really important that you recognise emotional hunger. My beautiful little chart should clear this up-
3. Hunger is also one of the first signs of dehydration. If you're not drinking enough it's your body's way of saying "Please!! Need liquid, I don't care if it's the water from a cheap burger, I just need it!!" Not great. Whenever you feel hungry, stop, have a big glass of water & wait 10 mins. If you're still hungry, eat! The water will aid your digestion anyway & you'll absorb less of the fat from the food you eat.
4. The key to a healthy lifestyle & shedding unwanted pounds, is understanding that there are levels of hunger. Think of it as a scale:
You should start eating at around a 3 or a 4.
If you wait until 2 or 1, your body will go into starvation mode which means when you do finally eat, your body will hold on to every bit of fat it can get it's hands on incase you decide to starve it again. Not great news for weight loss.
If you accidentally get to this level of hunger, take it slow. Have something light or you'll go right from a 1 to a 10.
If you're actively trying to lose weight, stop at 5. If you're happy just maintaining your current figure, stop at 6.
You'll soon train your body to eat what's just right for you. It's just a case of being in tune with what your body needs.
5. Talking of needs, let's move on to cravings. A craving is your body's way of telling you you're lacking something. However, craving an enormous ice cream sundae with extra chocolate sauce doesn't mean you should eat it! Here's a breakdown of what your cravings really mean:
Sweets/Candy Your body's lacking Chromium, carbon phosphorus, sulphur, Tryptophan.
You can get these from: Broccoli, grapes, cheese, chicken, fresh fruit, beef, liver, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, cranberries, horseradish, kale, cabbage, turkey, sweet potato & spinach.
Bread You need nitrogen. You'll find this in: High protein foods; fish, meats, nuts, beans.
Fatty snacks You're lacking calcium. Eat more: Mustard, greens, dairy, legumes & sesame seeds.
Coffee Your body's craving phosphorous, sulfur & iron. Try eating more: Chicken, beef, liver, fish, eggs, dairy, red peppers, garlic, onion, sea salt, apple vinegar, seaweed, greens & black cherries.
Carbonated drinks You need more calcium. Eat: Mustard, broccoli, kale, legumes, dairy & sesame. *If you crave a specific drink, this is an addiction, we'll talk about this later.
Salty foods You need chloride. Try and eat: Goats milk, fish & unrefined sea salt.
Cigarettes Obviously this is a physical addition to nicotine, but you can ease cravings by eating more silicon & tyrosine. Eat more: Nuts, seeds, citrus fruits, green vegetables.
PMS Put down the chocolate, zinc is what you need young lady! Get your hands on some: Red meat, seafood, leafy vegetables, root vegetables, marmite or bovril. Now, don't go thinking meals have to be boring, just because they're healthy. My Epic Fish Taco recipe is a great balanced meal & a fab craving buster.
Skinny Spagetti is a total crowd pleaser...
Carb Free Carnitas are brilliant if you want something to take to work, or be ready when you get home...
And if you're on the hunt for something sweet, try my Guilt Free Chocolate-Peanut-Butter Gelato.
It's a game changer!
Don't even get me started on 100 calorie Chocofudge Brownies!
6. Ok, while I'm getting you away from the bad stuff, stay away from McDonalds.
I know it sounds obvious, but the 'just once wont hurt' attitude is what's keeps you going back for more.
The chemicals in fast food are highly addictive & trigger your brain to want more. This effect can last for several weeks.
Stay away and soon you just wont want it any more.
You need to get off your ass.
I'm not saying you have to be in the gym every day. But you do need to get active.
Get off the bus a stop early and power walk the last bit.
Take the stairs, not the escalator.
Carry your shopping bags home, don't drive.
Next weekend, go for a long walk or a run. Don't kid yourself that you don't have time.
If you have the time to go online, you've got time to go for a run!
Little changes will make a big difference in the long run. (Run... geddit?)
8. Give up fizzy drinks, even diet ones.
This is by far the hardest step. I've been addicted to Diet Coke for as long as I can remember.
I've had at least 2 cans a day for the last 10 years.
I quit just over a month ago & without changing anything else I lost 5lbs.
When I was eating all day every day with no regard for the hunger scale!
Let's just put that into perspective:
There have been countless articles & news stories explaining just how bad diet soda is, but I'd been putting it off for years.
In the end my friend & I quit together, and now I see the difference, I seriously recommend doing the same.
This article explains why it's bad for you, but basically the artificial sweeteners trick your body into thinking you're ingesting sugar. This means you produce insulin & stomach acid to break down the sugars. Obviously as there are no sugars, this just makes you hungry & you'll need to eat.
The most popular sweetener used by drinks companies is Aspartame, which is widely hailed as a cause of cancer (there is some dispute about this, but seriously? Is it worth the risk?).
This doesn't mean you should skip on over to regular Coke. Most full sugar fizzy drinks contain around 200 calories, but wont fill you up.
This is what 200 calories looks like...
All for just a can of drink? If you really can't cut them out all together then see them as a treat. Something to enjoy now and then, but not something to drink mindlessly while you're eating. Try and get into fizzy water if you really crave the bubbles at meal times.
9. The most important part of The Anti Diet is to remember that you are not on a diet!
This is a way of life & in order for it to be sustainable, you have to be naughty sometimes.
That's why I live by the 80/20 rule.
80% of what I eat is healthy, delicious, nutritious & good for me.
If I know I'm having something naughty for supper, I'll have fruit for breakfast & soup for lunch.
Or if I've had a couple of really naughty days, I'll make sure I'm good for the rest of the week.
10. Last but not least.
Don't stress about your weight too much.
Food is for enjoying, not worrying about.
Eat little & often. Snack at your desk, but try and make it carrot sticks, not a family pack of biscuits (yes, we've all been there).
Quit weighing yourself. It's not a true reflection of how you're doing & you'll only feel miserable.
Go on how you feel, how you look & how well your clothes fit.
I guarantee, if you follow these easy peasy rules, you'll have lost 10lbs by the end of February, easy.
Oh, and remember...
Your body deserves better than they way you've treated it in the past.
You need to decide to love yourself & change for good.
A year from now, you'll wish you started today.
I've read pretty much every diet book ever written, through a process of trial and error I have worked out what really works and what doesn't.
I'll let you into a little secret... it's not as hard as they want you to think!
If you follow these tips I guarantee you will loose weight (I did!)
I don't make any money from this, it's free advice & you are free to take it or leave it, but trust me when I say that living this way will keep you happier & healthier than any new 'celebrity' diet.