Suddenly starting a diet can be a substantial shock to the system and considerably reduce your chances of success. Get it right first time by creating a Pre-Diet diet to get used to healthy eating and diet ideas then, when the day comes to start, you will sail smoothly into your diet and never look back;
Dieting can be a considerable shock to the system, especially if this is a first time, and that is why many people never get past the first week. To help prepare you and your body here are five quick and easy tips to get you ready to take on a diet.
Try them for a month and at the end of the month get ready to start your diet. The tips will suit most diets but are not suitable for a low carb ‘Atkins’ or ‘South Beach’ type diet.
BreakfastThis is the most important tip, eat something for breakfast and it is better if the breakfast is a good one. Most diets insist on a proper breakfast and so it is a habit you will need to get into.
If you already have a breakfast then check the diet, make any changes and just carry on. If you have not chosen your diet yet, just have a bowl of cereal and a glass of juice or, if you want something more substantial, try grilled bacon and reduced-sugar baked beans on wholemeal toast.
If you read that and thought: “No, I’ve tried breakfast and it’s just not for me,” make a slight concession and eat a banana first thing and maybe have a cup of tea. Bananas are easy to eat, highly nutritious and will usually make you hungry soon after eating. The most important thing is that it is a start and you will soon find that you are ready for food in the morning.
Five-a-dayYou know the recommendation, we should all eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day but five portions is a minimum. If you don’t eat this much already (or if you don’t know how much you eat) this can sound a lot but try and get up to speed with this as soon as you can.
When you are there, or if you already eat this much, try to increase this to seven or more portions.
To help you, you can take advantage of the tremendous snackability of most fruit. They are tasty, fun and quick to prepare, so keep some fruit ready to eat in the fridge so that they are the first thing you see as you open the door.
As well as this, have a bowl of dried fruit not too far away, as I do, for a tasty snack and, for top health, add a few nuts to the fruit.
Most diets (but not Atkins style low-carb diets) recommend large amounts of fruit and vegetables and it is sometimes hard to suddenly subject your body to this so increasing vegetables like this will help prepare your body for most diets.
The whole of the grainYou have heard it all before: throw out the white and only eat brown! So eat plenty of wholemeal rice, wholemeal pasta, wholemeal bread and brown potatoes.
Brown potatoes? Yes, that is my name for potatoes cooked with their skin because a lot of nutrient is trapped just below the skin and peeling tends to remove it.
Don’t worry, by the way, if you have heard that wholegrains are fattening. What is fattening is eating too many calories, wholemeal food in a diet is highly nutritious and an important staple.
If you are not sure how much to serve, try covering a third of the plate with pasta or rice or potatoes and leaving a third (plus a little) for vegetables and whatever is left for chicken or fish.
Don’t be a sweetieYes, it is hard to cut down on sweet things but we all know that they are loaded to the hilt with calories so you will have to make an effort. All diets (Atkins’s diets included) will not let you eat candies and chocolate and a whole host of other things so now is the time to get your body used to not eating sugar.
In fact, reducing sugar intake is a good thing to do whether you are on a diet or not but if you are one of those people who simply cannot resist something sweet and if you know that this is your downfall then you will have to be drastic.
Giving up sugar is easy, simply choose a day next week and on that day stop eating anything that contains sugar and make it a decision for life. I know it sounds hard but if you are serious you can do it and your body will thank you for it for the rest of your life.
Change the main courseOK, this is the main recommendation, change your main course for something that is healthy. Of course, this is easy to say but I know it is a lot harder to do so make the change a gradual process.
To drive the point home, stop a minute and think, or jot on a piece of paper, what you normally eat in a week or what you ate last week.
Your goal is to change your diet so that you reduce the processed meals to a minimum and put in their place either fish or chicken or a vegetable option.
Changing what you consider to be the main part of the meal is not easy because you can feel very lost but it is an important change.
Both fish and chicken (without the skin) make delicious meals and both will run rings around normal processed food for health so see what you can do.
Your ultimate goal is to be ready to eat the food that your diet recommends so try using one or two of the suggested meals in place of your normal meal. If you have not yet chosen, have a look at a few diet books or articles and get some idea of main courses and begin with these.
This is also useful since it gives you an idea of the cost of your diet.
Once you have done all this and put these tips in place for a month you will be ready to start your diet and the change to diet food will not be so great. Not only will you be on more familiar ground but your chances of making a success of the diet will be all the greater.
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Mike Taperell is a nutritionist, researcher and prolific author who writes with great understanding and clearness about health and holistic matters. He is Chief Writer and a founder of www.healthandholistic.com a site containing a wealth of articles, information and advice on anti-aging, fitness, food and eating, reflexology, stress avoidance and weight loss.