Help when Deciding on a Healthy Eating Programme
Healthy Eating Regime – what does it mean to you?
Nowadays, we are bombarded by images and adverts that depict ideas of a healthy lifestyle. However, there are so many out there, which one do you choose? Which healthy eating regime will be the best for you? Which healthy eating regime will give you the results you desire? Is it a eating regime that is a quick fix or is it one for long term health?
These are questions that should be going through your mind when you are thinking about starting a new healthy eating regime. Note that I do not mention the word “diet”!!
All too often people start a diet with the primary goal of losing weight for an special occasion or something like a holiday, and once they reach their ideal weight, they stop their “diet” and gain all their weight back again - plus a little bit extra for good measure.
Does that sound familiar? It was to me, as it is what I did for years and years!! I was a serial yo-you dieter! Each time I dieted, I lost the weight, stopped that diet and gained it back and that little bit extra too.
So why did all my dieting fail me?
The countless dieting failed because it was a diet!! A diet traditionally has a start date and a finish date! I didn’t learn anything about my eating habits, I didn’t address my relationship with food and back then all I wanted was a quick fix. It was like I was putting a sticky plaster on something trying to fix it but each time the plaster failed!!
How did I finally get in control of my eating habits and adapt a healthy eating regime?
I used a programme back in 2013-2014 for 19 weeks and I lost 41 pounds. I was so shocked that I was able to do this as normally I only ever lost a pound a week (and I was totally miserable for every minute of the week)!!
Now in 2020, I can say that I have never found that weight again!! Result!! I am not only healthier but I am also able to work out at the gym on a regular basis - this was something that I couldn’t do for years due to my back and pelvis issues. In a way I lost my weight and gained back my life.
What was different this time? Why did it work for me and why has my weight stabilised?
There are a number of reasons and I could talk about them for hours but let me give you a brief summary as to why I feel that I have had such a massive success:
- Ate real, non processed foods
- Drank at least 2 litres of water a day
- Did not eat "diet" foods
- Increased my healthy fat intake
- Increased my nutrient intake
- I found the foods that are suitable for my body
- Fuelled my body with what it needs and now have energy to burn
- Am not longer reliant on sugar for my energy.
- Educated myself
- Had personal programme for ME!
- Now never ever need to “diet” again.
I have found freedom when it comes to food and dieting. It took years and years to find it, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you are looking for a way to lose weight, why not let SMASH help you through finding the right programme for you.
The diet industry is a mine field and I know how it feels when it comes to starting a new healthy eating regime. The industry prays on womens’ sensitivities with their weight and tries to make use feel that we should always be on a diet. We are bombarded with images and quick fixes that make us feel inferior unless we look like them or do the latest “trend”. Many of the diets/plans/quick fixes that are being promoted are anything but healthy. It’s no wonder that around 80% of women are continually on a diet.
I’ve been there, done that and it feels awful.
Now, I never diet. I have broken that diet circle and I am living a life of freedom when it comes to food. I still really enjoy my food and I live life to the fullest, but nowadays I do it with the knowledge of what is right for my body and life.
If you at at stage in your life where you are trying to decide on a healthy eating plan and you are struggling with what to do, I feel your pain. I advise you to look at the points below and then base your decision on what you think about the points raised and what is best for your life and your body.
Points to consider when choosing a New Healthy Eating Regime
- Will the regime fit into your lifestyle? – Make sure that you are able to do the things that the programme recommends. Will you have the time to do what is expected of you? If there is a lot of home cooking, are you able to do it? Do you have room in your freezer so that you can batch cook and make things easier for you? How much time do you have to commit to your new lifestyle? It is important that if you are going to embrace a new change in your life, it needs to be something that will fit into your life quite easily, otherwise it will be very easy to give up on it.
- Is your weight loss dependant on doing lots of exercise? If this is the case, be aware that if you use lots of physical exercise to lose weight, you need to continue with that level of activity. When this happens, the reason that you have lost weight is due to the massive calorie deficit that you have put your body under, due to your body burning more calories whilst exercising and potentially eating healthier. You will automatically lose weight when this happens. If you stop exercising and stop burning those calories, there is a risk of you gaining that weight back on again. This happened to me on many occasions after doing an intense “boot camp” for a number of weeks. It just wasn’t maintainable.
- Do you have to attend a group in order for success? Can you fit this into your routine? Think about the purpose of going to the group. Are you going to benefit from sitting in a room with 50-100? Is the service offered personal or generalised at the group? Is it a “one thing fits all approach”? Are you going to learn anything or is it just a social occasion? Will you get the chance to have a personal consultation with the leader? Is the leader living a healthy lifestyle? Are you inspired by the leader, are they someone that you desire to be like? Do you want to be “a number” in a large room of people? If you are comfortable being “hidden”, then a large group is the way to go for you. If you would like a more personal approach then this wouldn’t necessarily be suitable. Also calculate how much money you will spend on a weekly basis attending these groups and how long it will take you to reach your target.
- Are you encouraged to eat “their foods”? There are programmes out there that encourage you to eat “their” foods. These foods tend to be highly processed and quite often filled with artificial sweeteners, salt and lots of artificial flavours and preservatives. The nutritional value of these foods tends to be very low too. The long term effects of these foods are not great. Fresh homemade cooking, using whole, non processed foods is much more beneficial for your body.
- Does the programme encourage you to drink your calories and not eat real food? Yes, you will lose weight very quickly with this but as soon as you go back to eating actual real food again, you will most likely gain your weight back again, plus some extra! Your body is design to chew food and it is so important for the digestive process that this happens. Some people find these kinds of programmes great for a very quick fix but I highly advise you to avoid these as a long term solution as I know many people who have struggled with their health after doing these kinds of shake diets.
- Are you encouraged to eat as much as possible of certain types of foods? For example lots of potatoes/pasta/rice. These high carb foods can have negative effects on your blood sugars which then in the long run can lead to fat storage due to the insulin rollercoaster that you put your body under. Your stomach will also stretch to accommodate all the “free” food that you are eating so that then in the long run you will need to eat more to fill your stomach, to feel full, which will then lead to weight gain. Portion control is vital for long term health and weight management.
- Are you being encouraged to have “treat/cheat” days? When you are embarking on a healthy eating regime to lose weight treat/cheat days totally set your body off track. The foods that you tend to eat on these treat/cheat days tends to be highly addictive, full of sugar, artificial flavourings and trigger your brain to want them again. This makes your long term goal harder to reach. You must change your mindset with food in order to achieve long term success. Check out my blog on this topic.
- Are you being encouraged to eat fat free/calorie free/sugar free foods? This is a huge warning to me that a plan is unhealthy for long term health. Your body needs a certain amount of good fats. Fat is not evil! Fat free foods tend to have lots of sugar/salt/sweeteners in them to make them tasty. Again, these are not good for your body. I have coached so many people that are addicted to diet drinks that it is scary. These can have serious detrimental effects on your body. Sugar free foods are full of artificial sweeteners which can also have negative effects on your health and can trigger food cravings.
- Is the plan a one plan suits all plan? Are you being told that the plan works for everyone and if you just follow the guidelines it will work for you? Alarms bells should ring if this is the case. Everyone is an individual and no plan will work for everyone. You need a personalised approach for your specific needs and lifestyle. Everyone’s bodies process certain foods differently. For example, if you are being told to eat lots of carbs and you have a gluten intolerance that you are unaware of, you will feel like crap on that plan – but you will be told that you are doing something wrong!! That the plan works for everyone!!
- Are there rejoining offers? If the programme that you are looking at continually does promotions for rejoining or restarting, ask yourself the question – if this plan really works, why would people need to rejoin?
- Are you being told to take a magic pill and not change anything and you will still lose weight? Have a look at the ingredients of anything that promises to do this. They are most likely full of caffeine and stimulants. The caffeine will cause your bowel to empty - so yes you will lose weight, but it isn’t really weight it is poop! Caffeine in high doses is a laxative and the average person has about 15lbs of poop stored in their guts so in reality, all you might be losing is poop. A intestinal cleanse is good but not to be done on a daily basis as your body absorbs all its nutrients from food in the intestine and if you are speeding up this process too fast, you may end up malnourished as your body can’t absorb what it needs. Artificial stimulants will help you to feel good initially but in the long run your body shouldn’t be stimulated like this. The body needs supported whilst going through a weight loss regime not artificially stimulated. Again this might be good for a quick short term fix, for example if you needed to get into a certain outfit, but for long term health this is not ideal.
- Do you have to count calories? Are you going to have to tally exactly what you eat over the coming weeks whilst on your weight loss regime? Does this fill you with fear? Does this seem like a lot of hassle? Many people dread the thought of doing something like this but in the long run they realise that it is not as difficult as it sounds. There are lots of apps out there that make it easy to do, or if you have a fear of technology, it can be done manually as well. It might seem like a right royal pain in the butt, but when you truly understand the volume of what you are eating, and where you calories are coming from, you become aware of what you can change to benefit your body in the long run.
- Are you choosing a programme because of a photograph that you saw online of someone? There are so many photographs on social media showing “amazing” results of people’s weight loss journey . Unless you know the person personally I would try to avoid using this strategy when deciding upon a programme to use. So many people online edit their photos, and many people are told how to stand in their first “before” photo compared to the after photo. If you are inspired to try a new programme based on a photograph, please make sure that you do your research on the actual programme that you are going to embark on as it really may not suit you, and could potentially damage your health.
- Are you considering a programme because a celebrity is endorsing it? This is a major bug bear of mine. There are celebrities out there that get paid a lot of money to endorse certain “diets/gimmicks/exercise regimes” etc, etc. Do not be fooled by them. They tend to love the money more than the programme that they are endorsing. There is one at the moment, and it is seriously scary what she is endorsing, when you do the research on it!! It is just scary!
These would be my top 14 questions to ask when you are starting a new healthy eating regime, there could be many more, but these are the most important ones.
When you ask yourself these questions and can answer the questions honestly and are comfortable with the answers, you have found the programme that is right for you. It is so important that you enjoy whatever programme that you choose and that you can see yourself doing it for longterm benefits. Try not to go for a quick fix. Try to think of the long run, never needing to diet again and feeling amazing every day.
If you can find a lifestyle that you never need to diet from, you have found the right one.
We are all individual and it is really important that you find something that is right for you. You longterm health depends on it.
I am forever grateful that I found what worked for me and that I can live my life in that way that I do nowadays. I love how I feel at the minute and I love helping others feel this way too.
Healthy eating is not a diet!! It is a lifestyle in order to ensure your body can function properly! I think to sum my thoughts up, it's just eat real non processed foods that you enjoy and are really tasty, get some exercise in and support your body where it is lacking in something.
If you need inspiration for tasty meals, check out The SMASH Way for over 120 recipes.
If you need any other advice about a plan you are considering, give me a shout and I can have a look at it for you.
Yours in Health & Happiness
PS Watch out for a new blog that will help to explain if your eating regime is right for you and the correct results that you want to be getting!