Diet books, meal replacement plans, calorie counting, low calorie (but often high sugar) ‘diet foods’… the diet industry sells weight loss to us hard - and no wonder: conservative estimates value it at around £2 billion in the UK alone.
So if you want to lose weight safely and sustainably, what should your approach be? We spoke to Nathalie Chantal de Ahna, a highly respected nutrition and homeopathic medicine expert, about her own experiences.
“I went from one diet to another; South Beach, Weight Watchers, Atkins - you name it, I tried it. Unsuccessfully and unhappily, I should add. I went raw (and back again), tried cleansing and even tried the cabbage soup diet. I managed a week. Nothing seemed to last; the pounds I lost through dieting always came back - along with some extra weight, too. After severely limiting my food selection for years, I developed an eating disorder and depression. Not exactly a success story.
Along the way, though, amongst all the false starts and mistakes, I did create a ‘pick and mix’ way of helping me change my lifestyle and staying at my ideal weight. Firstly, I made a list of all the natural weight loss tricks I had ever encountered. Next, I copied them out, cut them up and put them in a jar as if they were sweets. Two or three times a week, I would take a ‘sweet’ and if it resonated with me I’d make it part of my routine. I hope that some of these will inspire you too:
★ Drink a glass of lukewarm lemon water first thing in the morning. It kick-starts your digestion beautifully.
★ Make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep each night. This will help you balance your hormones, including those that regulate appetite.
★ Eat some protein with each meal. It helps reduce hunger and boosts your metabolism.
★ Eat a handful of nuts every day. Almonds (unsalted), for example, are particularly good at helping to reduce cravings.
★ Drink a green smoothie/juice each morning instead of the usual breakfast. I love wheatgrass juice and it is so effective in stopping your cravings. Shop our wheatgrass juices.
★ Drink at least 1.5-2 litres of water during the day. Fill up a bottle in the morning and ensure it’s empty by the evening. Add a sprig of fresh mint, a lump of root ginger or a slice of cucumber for a natural flavour addition.
★ Find seven new smoothie recipes and make one every day. Here’s three to get you started.
★ When you feel the need to snack, try distracting yourself with another task or going for a walk. You might find the urge to eat passes.
★ Eat foods high in omega 3 fatty acids and take an omega 3 supplement. This is really helpful in eliminating your cravings. Here is the one I use every day.
★ Find 10 recipes with oats and make one of them. That’s a healthy snack or breakfast made for later in the week.
★ Drink a glass of grapefruit juice 30 minutes before each meal. Numerous studies show that doing so helps minimise weight gain.
★ Eat three main meals and two snacks each day and do not eat between meals. If you are tempted, go for a walk to the ‘pick and mix’ jar and choose another health tip.
★ Eat from plates which contrast with your food. As crazy as it may sound, research has shown that we eat more when our food blends in with the pate colour.
★ Eat more black beans. High in fibre and low in fat, they help maintain stable blood sugar.
★ Don’t eat mindlessly in front of the TV - you’ll eat more. And don’t eat standing up!
★ Snack on watery foods such as cucumber, celery, lettuce, radishes or tomatoes
★ Buy yourself a pedometer and start moving. Your daily goal? 10,000 steps per day.
★ Buy yourself a beautiful diary and note what you eat, how this food makes you feel and why you eat. Stop buying something that makes you feel bad.
★ When you wait for dinner at a restaurant, don’t fill up on bread - ask for a small salad instead (and easy on the dressing)
★ Brush your teeth before a meal. Having the feeling of a fresh mouth will make you think twice before you eat and at the same time you are more likely to notice whether you are really hungry or just eating out of habit.
★ Find five ways to move more. Walk the dog, take the stairs instead of the lift, dance while brushing your teeth. Have fun! Be creative!
★ Use a small spoon for sampling dessert instead of eating it all.
★ Spice up your food with HOT sauces and salsas. Spice is great for the metabolism.
★ Make a herbal tea out of fresh marjoram or oregano. It helps boost your metabolism.
★ Wear tight clothes when eating out to encourage modest portion sizes.
★ Rinse your mouth with vitamin C powder dissolved in water when you get cravings.
★ Eat carrot or cucumber sticks while watching TV.”
Not all of these will inspire you but if you use even half of them you’ll be well on your way to a sustainable and manageable healthy eating programme. Browse our range of highly nutritious, organic, outdoor grown superfood juices here.