Most of us, having overindulged over the festive period, will have some thoughts of dieting once January hits - whether it’s as extreme as a detox juice diet, or simply cutting back on the unhealthy foods. But while vowing to eat more healthily is a good thing, attempting a strict diet at any time of the year, especially at the start of January, is likely to fail – and here’s why…
The tempting leftovers
You’ll often start January with leftovers of all sorts of yummy foods – whether it’s celebratory chocolates and biscuit tins, desserts, or a fridge full of cheese. It can be difficult to avoid all of this food if it’s in your home so there are two options; throw it or give it away, or eat it. Unfortunately, January is also a time for tightening the money belt and throwing food out is wasteful and expensive! So what’s the solution? Put the non- perishable items that haven’t been opened in the back of the cupboard and save them for a couple of month’s time when you’ll appreciate them more. Any perishable food, either share with work colleagues and neighbours or eat in small portions and enjoy. You can still have a balanced meal by combining a little of the less healthy foods with a lot of the healthier foods – for example, if you’ve got creamy desserts leftover, have a small amount with a big portion of fresh fruit. Or have a small amount of cheese in a big leafy salad or healthy root veggie soup.
Summer is the perfect time to make the most of lighter, healthier dishes – but choosing a salad that’s not got any protein, or is very low in calories won’t help with your weight loss efforts. Instead, make sure your salad packs a satisfying protein punch. Try seafood, chicken or turkey, eggs, beans or marinated tofu, and add a portion of good fats – avocadoes, pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil is a great combo.
Diets that cut out any major food groups, or involve denying yourself of all of your favourite foods will never be sustainable. Instead of starting the year with another diet failure, choose one thing each week to focus on. The first week, it could be swapping your can of coke for a piece of fruit, the next week, limiting yourself to one small sugary treat a day. This way you’ll be less likely to fail and you can build on your achievements into Feb!
Written by Dr. Noel Duncan