When people talk about obesity, the first word that comes to mind nowadays is sugar Simply saying “just don’t eat it” is the wrong approach. Completely changing your entire diet means there is way more potential to fail. Just as when people try a fad diet, they inevitably end up back where they were.
It’s about making some small, and some big changes to what you consume over time, with a few mindset changes thrown in there too.
Let’s begin with those fizzy drinks.
Stay hydrated the right way
We need water to live. It helps you regulate temperature through sweating, it is important when it comes to circulating nutrients and without it, well, we’d die! Water is (more or less) free, it’s free of sugar and apart from milk, which of course has lactose sugar in it, is the best thing for hydration.
The amount of sugar in fizzy drinks is very high. In a 500ml of Coca-Cola, you get 54g of sugar. That’s over half your daily allowance of sugar in one bottle. A 300ml bottle of Tropicana has 30g of sugar, and though this is lower, and is from a natural source, you should really be cutting down on that too.
“Jazzing” up your water is one way to make things interesting, by using fruit infused waters or sugar free squash. If you are a fizzy drink addict, then make the change to diet options. They are still better than the “full fat” versions, even if many people have doubts over the ingredients.
Pack your breakfast with protein
Breakfast is lovely isn’t it? A bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee and you are good to go. But that is where a lot of people get it wrong. A lot of cereal tends to be packed with sugar, and though it’s convenient, it is where most people fall down.
Protein however, not only helps to build rippling chunks of muscle, but also helps you stay full far better than a bowl of coco pops or a slice of toast ever will. Eggs, lean meats or protein pancakes are all much better options than any cereal you can chuck into a bowl.
If you are pushed for time in the morning, then try overnight oats, or just be sure to prepare things like boiled eggs the night before.
Switch up your snacks
The odd biscuit, a bite size flapjack or a Freddo; all lovely, all small, but all full of the sugar we are trying to avoid. So what to do to cut down?
Well you can change your snacks in the first instance. Though still full of sugar, there is way more nutritional benefit from fruit than a chocolate bar or biscuit. But if you are trying to cut down on sugar, and still want a snack, then you should look at nuts or a protein flapjack. Nuts do have fat in them yes, but you need fat to function and most demonisation of fat has been proven to be somewhat unfounded (though that doesn’t mean you should have a McDonald’s every day either).
In a perfect world, you would cut out snacks altogether, as snacking is the time where most of us struggle to self regulate our intake, and also consume the most sugar. But baby steps work best.
Do you really need the pudding?
That’s the question you should ask yourself when you’re out for dinner, or just at home. Is it going to change your life and is it going to keep you alive? No and no. Yes it’s great, but for many, the obsession with a sweet after your main is part of a wider problem with portion size.
Knowing how much you actually need to eat, via a calorie calculator, will give you a solid guide on whether you can really “afford” that sweet treat. Most of the time the answer is going to be no.
What you also need to remember, is something called the “law of diminishing returns”. If you have something everyday, say Nandos, it becomes less epic as you grow more and more used to it. The same is true of pudding.
Learn how to cook
Eating healthily does not have to be expensive. If you can prepare your own food, then you cut down costs dramatically. Mars even recently took the step to bring in advice on how many times a week you should use their sauces.
If you can cook, you can easily make breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks that don’t have as much sugar in.
Learn the basics of food prep first, and take it from there.