Say the word 'diet' and our stomachs start to whimper, our willpower gets put on high alert and before we even begin, it's impossible not to feel defeated. Deep down, in our heart of hearts we know that eventually we're bound to fall off the wagon.
What if there was a way to eat effortlessly, that required no willpower, no dieting and no stress, anxiety or guilt if you were to falter. Too good to be true? Think again. Follow these five steps and never diet again:
1. Fill up on the good stuff
Sounds simple enough, but the trick is to shift your focus. Instead of removing all of the 'bad' foods from your diet, focus on filling up on nutrient-dense whole foods like vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and good quality protein. Cram your plate with foods that nourish you first and when cooking see how you can add in superfoods to easily up your nutritional intake - I like to add IsoWhey Wholefoods Superfood Sprinkle to my smoothies, yoghurts, or as an ingredient in my protein balls.
2. Quit punishing yourself
Many of us fall into the trap of coming down on ourselves every time we stray from the healthy eating path. Often this can lead to a hands-up-in-the-air defeat and we end up bingeing and telling ourselves we'll start again on Monday. But how about instead of punishing yourself every time you fall off the wagon, you start measuring how fast you hop back on? I call this measuring your comeback rate - it's about allowing yourself to be human and then getting back on track.
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3. Make indulgence a part of healthy eating
Every healthy and balanced eating plan should include room for a little indulgence. But here's the kicker: you have to be able to enjoy it without the guilt. The only way to turn healthy eating into an effortless exercise is to ensure you never feel like you're going without.
4. Practice mindful eating
At its heart, mindful eating is about our relationship with food and recognising that eating healthily and having a healthy relationship with food are two very different things. There are many ways to eat more mindfully (find out more here) but my number one tip and a good place to start is to remove all distractions. That means when you sit down to a meal, put away your phone and tablet, turn off the TV and computer, and step away from your desk. Being present with your food and being consciously aware of what and how much you're eating is only possible when you're free from distractions.
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5. Have an affair with your kitchen
If you find cooking a chore, you're doing it wrong! If you want to eat well, be well and live well you need to be able to prepare your own food. There's only so long you can survive on store-bought cold-pressed juices, ready-made salads and protein balls. The key to falling in love with cooking is being realistic about what works for you and your skill set, budget and timeframe, and then harnessing that. There's a bunch of stuff you can prepare for yourself that doesn't even require turning on the stove!