If you’ve ever tried to lose weight or tone/shape up then you’ve probably gone through a diet plan or two. Usually, we find that diet plans work and give us the desired results and once we’ve achieved those results, it’s “bye bye diet plan” and back to eating as usual and therein lies the problem!
You see, diet plans don’t teach us the basics of proper nutrition. Typically, someone puts together a plan where we have to cut out all the things we love to eat, so we look at these diet plans as something we need to grin and bear for a period in order to achieve the desired goal. We basically set ourselves up for failure from the start. Diet plans usually give short-term results if what you’re looking for is long-term results, then what you want to do is build good habits around your nutrition. Good, sustainable, long-term habits.
Personally, I hardly do diet plans. I do like to plan my meals as that keeps me on track for my health and fitness goals and it just generally makes my life easier and more organized when I’m not constantly thinking to myself “now what am I going to eat today”. I also don’t cut anything out of my diet 100% (unless, of course, I have some major health issues and can’t have certain foods).
Here are a few steps that have helped me to build good habits over the past 8 years
1. Start with small achievable goals: Don’t try to change your whole diet in one day. Start with small goals that you can achieve daily and consistently. Take me for example, I used to be a sweet tooth, in fact, I believe that due to all the dental work I’ve had done, I might not have any teeth left by the time I’m fifty. Rather than ban candy from my life all at once, I first limited the number of times I ate candy to 5 times a week instead of every day. once I had achieved that I then moved on to 3 days a week, then once a week. Now, I can go into a candy store and leave empty-handed. I only have candy once in a blue moon when I feel like it. Same goes for soda.
2. Always think of healthier ways to make your meals: If you follow me on Instagram then you would have heard me talk about my love for fried plantain (by the way, if you’re not following me on Instagram, you should do so now, click here. Done? Ok great!). I cannot, scratch that, I will not stop eating fried plantain, I love it too much. What I have however learnt to do is not deep fry my plantain, I fry my plantain in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil (coconut oil is also awesome), same great tasting plantain, healthier version.
Here are a few more suggestions:
– oven bake your fish and chicken instead of deep-frying them.
– Take the skin off of your chicken before cooking it.
– Invest in an air fryer (it’s totally worth it)
– Cook your beans, vegetable soups etc with less palm oil (seriously, they don’t need to swim in all that oil).
3. Focus on having a well-balanced plate: Think of filling your plate with the right kinds of food that you enjoy. If fish isn’t one of your favorites foods, then a diet plan with fish will not help you build long-term results. A well-balanced plate is one that will look like this:
Simply fill your plate with foods that fall into these categories that you enjoy.
4. Decrease food portions: I don’t know about you but if I dish my food onto a massive plate, chance are I will finish everything that I’ve piled onto that plate even though my brain will tell me at some point that it’s too much food. The truth is most people eat more than they really need and in Nigeria that usually tends to be loads of starchy carbohydrates. So, decrease your food portions, use smaller plates or bowls and you might be surprised at how much/little it takes to get you full.
Remember, it’s all about keeping it simple, no complicated diet plans, no quick fixes, just long term sustainable habits.