After an indulgent festive break, many of us are on a quest for a fitter physique for the New Year. Ditch the dull diet and unhealthy weight loss quick fixes. We look at diet mistakes to avoid, from fitness experts in the know...
1. Treat Bans
“If you say you are going to lose X amount of weight and cut out all your treats including coffee then you can be setting yourself up to fail. You need to embark on a sustainable eating plan that includes a treat meal. Giving up coffee is not always necessary unless you are sensitive to caffeine, but cutting down is a good idea. My clients love the fact that I allow them to have coffee on their plans as they see it as their treat! And they love their weekly treat meal. Once my clients have reached their goal weight I suggest that they continue to eat in that way 80% of the time to sustain their weight and new found health benefits.” Pippa Campbell, Nutrition & Weight Loss Coach pippacampbellhealth.com
2. Scrimping On Sleep
“‘People who are sleep deprived have an increased appetite. Inadequate sleep lowers levels of leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite, and increases grehlin, a hormone that increases food intake and is thought to play a role in the long-term regulation of body weight. All this suggests that sleep deprivation can make weight loss extremely difficult because it causes your body to work against you!” explains Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading Nutritionist and Author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar.
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3. Crunching The Calories
“Calorie counting is a common mistake people make! It’s just not that simple as sugar calories cause fat storage and spikes hunger, while calories from fat and protein promote fat burning. What counts more is the quality, not the quantity of the calories,” explains Pippa.
4. Loving The Leftovers
“If the night before you had oven-cooked salmon with herbs and a green salad, then having the leftovers for breakfast is not a bad idea… but if you indulged in pizza or fish and chips, then maybe rethink the dinner leftovers as a breakfast option. It is essential to start the day with energy and a clear mind to sustain activities throughout the day. Choose foods rich in fibre, antioxidants, and good protein and fats. A healthy and fulfilling option can be poached or scrambled eggs on a piece of whole grain bread and a freshly made green juice,” explains Martina Della Vedova, Nutritionist at Natures Plus. naturesplus.co.uk
5. Dodging The DNA
Rather than following what your friend or colleague recommends, find out what works for your body. Everyone is different. Pippa runs a three-month programme, Metabolic Balance (£890, pippacampbellhealth.com) with her clients.
The Metabolic Balance programme is 100 per cent personalised and actively supports a person’s own biochemistry and nutritional needs.
To begin a blood sample is taken from the client, which is then analysed by medical experts, so that a customised and unique plan can be prepared. The programme aims to strengthen and balance your entire hormonal system, so that you are able to naturally manage weight loss, through minimising hunger and reducing cravings.
“Metabolic Balance is a long term approach to feeling and looking in peak health and is backed by 20 years of research by physicians and nutritionists, that has helped over 600,000 clients in 28 countries worldwide. The plan entails eating three meals a day of normal, wholesome foods,” explains Pippa.
6. Sugary Snacks Pre Workout
To give yourself enough energy to work out – and to enjoy it – base your diet on foods that release their energy slowly and steadily. We’re talking mainly about whole foods such as vegetables, whole grains, meat, eggs and fish, nuts and seeds.
The opposite – processed foods, high-sugar snacks or sugary drinks – will give you an initial burst of energy followed by a slump that can leave you feeling drained. Not ideal in the middle of a workout!” explains Nutritionist and Fitness Instructor Cassandra Barns.
7. Obsessing Over Others
Weight loss can affect people differently; so try not to be disheartened if you feel that other people are losing weight more speedily than you are.
“Weight loss depends on a number of things especially the medical conditions of the client. The Metabolic Balance blood tests show a number of out of range markers such as C Reactive Protein (which is an inflammatory marker), liver enzymes and thyroid, which may take the client longer to get to the fat-burning stage.
This is when the body starts to burn fat for fuel, when this process occurs then the weight loss really happens,” explains Pippa.
8. Perk Up With Protein
It’s important to perk yourself up with protein at breakfast.
“Protein-rich foods are more satiating than carbohydrate-rich foods – in other words, they can fill you up more quickly and for longer. They seem to do this by slowing down the emptying of the stomach, and by reducing the release of hormones such as ghrelin that stimulate appetite.
The result is that you’re likely to eat less over the course of the day, making it easier to control your weight,” explains Nutritionist Cassandra Barns.
“To ensure you’re getting your daily dose of protein, try a plant based protein powder. They are easy to digest and can be low-calorie. They can be used to make smoothies or shakes, and also added to savory foods such as stews and soups. I’d recommend Natures Plus Almond Protein,” (£40.50, naturesplus.co.uk)
9. Fussing Over FADs
“FAD diets are not sustainable. It is important that the client learns how to prepare simple meals and what to choose on menus or the weight will just go back on. It has to be a lifestyle change. Starving yourself for example on juice diet can cause your body to go into shock, thinking that it is in starvation mode. This can cause the body to store fat, so after the FAD diet is over you can put on even more weight than before,” explains Pippa.
10. Goodness For The Gut
Our stomach is made up of good and bad bacteria, called gut flora, which has a controlling influence over many important body functions, including metabolism and fat reduction.
However, our lifestyle habits (taking antibiotics, diet high in sugar, stress, alcohol) damage our gut bacteria. So how can we balance it? A healthy gut is made by limiting the bad bacteria and encouraging the good one to grow.
“Feed the good bacteria with fibrous foods and plenty of probiotics, which you can find in fermented foods (Kombucha tea, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir and apple cider vinegar are all examples of probiotic-rich superfoods that help to balance your gut flora) or include a supplement in your diet. Look for the one with different types of strains of bacteria, such as Tum8Biotix by Quest Vitamins. Probiotics may help to reduce the number of calories you absorb from food,” advises Cassandra. (£15.50 qnutrapharma.com)