COLUMNIST: To diet or not to diet in 2018?

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To diet or not to diet in 2018? January, the month when hundreds of people all over the country will embark on a diet.

As a serial dieter in the past, I can see their appeal.

Quick results in minimum time sounds very appealing and time and again we are told by the popular press and social media that to stick to a diet and see results all we simply need is to eat less and exercise more.

If only it were that simple.

Statistics show that only 1 to 5 people will lose weight successfully and out of that tiny percentage, 66 per cent will gain the weight back, and more.

So how can we avoid falling into the dieting trap?

One way is to make sure that we get a good, healthy balanced diet: cut right down on processed foods (bread, pasta, biscuits, crisps, wheat products, cereals, cakes, desserts, flavoured yoghurts, snack bars etc); increase protein intake. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient. Think eggs, beef, chicken, fish, game etc. Tofu is a great option if you are vegetarian; increase the amount of fibrous fruit and veg that you eat. Fill your plate with a rainbow of colour; Stay hydrated. Drinking 2-3 litres of plain water every day will promote health and weight loss.

Make sure you include some healthy fat – olive oil, butter, coconut oil, avocado.

Movement is crucial for weight loss and general health. Find an exercise programme that you like and can stick to. Group exercise is great as you get the added support and camaraderie of the group and the guidance and expertise of the instructor.

Sleep and relaxation are often overlooked when it comes to weight loss. Sleeping well and being more mindful are both great ways of promoting health and weight loss.

Losing weight and becoming a healthier you needn’t be done at break neck speed. Putting yourself under too much pressure to get everything right can often backfire and result in yo-yo dieting behaviour.

Accept that you may not always get it right and understand that if you are making good healthy choices most of the time, then the odd ‘blip’ here and there really won’t matter at all.

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