Are you ready to make this the year you reach the weight you want? And stay there? You can do it, with the right mental approach. Here are 3 winning ways you can use with 5:2 to help you feel and look at your healthy best…
Many of us have been through the “new year, new you cycle”: starting afresh on January 1, only to fall off the wagon after a few days or weeks, finding life or emotions scupper our very best intentions.
So how can you make this year’s story have a happy ending? As a former yoyo dieter myself, I can absolutely relate to the hope-despair cycle, and having broken that myself with intermittent fasting, I’d say 5:2 is the way to go. But whatever your approach, here are 3 things that apply whatever diet or approach you’re deciding.
Strategy 1: Plan to stay on track: most of us have a lead-up to starting a new regime, and this planning time can make all the difference. Work out the day you’re starting your approach, write it in your diary and in the days leading up to it, make time to:
- Get rid of unhelpful foods (especially the ones you know make you eat more) from your cupboard and replace with better options: place the processed foods out of reach or throw them out, lay in fresh and frozen veg and lean meats for meals.
- Share your plans and dreams with those close to you: explain why this matters to you and what support you need from them, whether it’s keeping the biscuits out of sight, or encouraging you to take a walk each evening.
- Plan some healthier meals in advance – you could make soup now and freeze it, and make sure you have the right ingredients for your first couple of fast days.
Strategy 2: Eat thoughtfully: from Day 1, think more carefully about what you’re eating. This means:
- Think before you eat: is this a good choice for you right now? Is it going to fill you up and nourish your body? Aim for a range of different coloured vegetables to accompany lean meat, fish, eggs or veggie proteins. If you are craving something that won’t help you, try writing down your feelings before eating and seeing if there’s something else that might stop any negative emotions: reading a book, calling a friend, doing something practical in the house?
- Think as you eat: eat slowly, savour the smells, flavours and textures, put your cutlery down between mouthfuls, and try to eat at the table with friends or family, which will naturally slow you down and give your body time to feel full from what you’re eating.
- Think after you eat: what aspect of the meal did you enjoy? Can you adapt the recipe for future days, freeze leftovers? Jot down your ideas so you have a record you can refer to in future.
Strategy 3: Learn from your lapses: we all have lapses. People who keep the weight off learn from them, so they can avoid them happening again.
- Why did you eat something unhelpful? Was it circumstance – a birthday cake offered at work – or was it a response to something emotional? Or perhaps you were hungry and there was nothing healthier in the fridge?
- How can you stop it happening again? Think about strategies you can use next time round:
- Taking a slice of that birthday cake to eat a non-fast day, or taking a quick walk, till everyone has finished and the cake’s cleared away!
- Writing down your feelings, or finding a friend to chat to rather than eating when you’re low or vulnerable.
- Keeping a list of quick, healthy recipes handy to help you when you’re hungry but inspiration is lacking.
- Don’t agonise too much over any lapses: staying a healthy weight is a lifetime story, and no single indulgence will undo a mostly good, balanced diet. It will only knock you off course if you let it. Instead of thinking it’s ‘all or nothing’, simply start again with a great choice of meal next time you eat.
For a happy ever after weight loss story, you need to take the long view: train yourself to take better decisions, most of the time; create a home environment that encourages great health; and decide to learn from mistakes instead of beating yourself up. We’re only human… and by working on the right strategies now, by this time next year, eating well and maintaining a healthy weight will come naturally for you.
For much more information about how to make 5:2 work for you, take a look at the 5:2 Books – 5:2 Your Life is about strategies to improve your whole life, while Good Food Kitchen and the Ultimate 5:2 Recipe Book offer delicious recipes and inspiring case studies to help you make intermittent fasting work for you.