Fitness: Why not to diet and what to do instead

Dieting, that frightening word that conjures up feelings of hunger and deprivation. It seems every month there is new fad diet on the market, each promising your leanest, strongest, and most attractive body yet. 

It is little wonder that countless weight loss or body sculpting goals fail with diets that were doomed from the start. What you eat doesn’t have to be governed by a long list of often confusing and restrictive rules. These simple tips will have you on your way to a happier and healthier relationship with food.

Forget the word diet

As kids, if we were told we couldn’t have something, often we then wanted it even more. The same goes with diets, the stricter it is, the more likely we will crave whatever we are banned from eating. The more the temptation, the more likely we will lapse and then spurge on that naughty no-no. Many diets fail because they are just too restrictive. We are only human after all and we need to indulge every now and then. Rather than sticking to a diet, focus instead on forging healthy eating habits that are sustainable enough to last you a lifetime. Consume a balance of different nutrients, eat clean the majority of the time and occasionally, treat yourself.

Consume consciously

In today’s society we are so far removed from food in it’s original state. Food goes through numerous processes before it reaches our hands from the convenience of a supermarket shelf. With any type of food available at any moment of the day, we often take it for granted, meaning we consume more and think less. To change this mindset, savour each bite and appreciate every element and resource that has gone into your food. With this approach you will be more conscious of what you are putting into your body and waste less too.

Eat for the right reasons

With food available all the time, it is easy to forget the real purpose of eating. We should eat to provide vital nutrients for our bodies to perform and thrive, however many people eat for reasons such as boredom, comfort or as procrastination. Next time you eat, consider why you are eating; are you hungry and need fuel, or are you just bored? If it’s the latter, get up and do something about it rather than reaching for the fridge.

Eating and exercise – A happy marriage

Consuming healthy food alone is not enough for a healthy lifestyle. Eating and exercise go hand-in-hand. A vigorous training regime can’t undo the damage of consistently bad food choices, and a clean diet alone can’t combat the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle.

Coupling healthy eating habits with an active lifestyle and regular exercise is key to not only achieving your body and fitness goals, but also your longevity. Aim for an hour of mild activity every day and complement this with nutritious, quality food.

Eat real food

If you check ingredients of most of the packaged goods in the supermarket, you will notice many ingredients that you can’t pronounce, let alone identify. Preservatives, additives, sweeteners and flavouring are all part of the cocktail of artificial chemicals that we put into our bodies on a daily basis. In our highly processed world where sugar and fat have become a staple, we have forgotten what real food should taste like. If you have a sweet tooth, try natural sources of sugar like honey or dates to sweeten your desserts. If you have a weakness for fried, fatty food, instead look at incorporating more natural fats into you diet like fish, eggs, avocado and nuts. Avoid processed food as much as you can, and instead stick to food in it’s purest form.

Let me know your tips for healthy eating habits.

Expert

Nidhal Aouali

Coach, Oman Kickboxing Club

Instagram: @nidhalaouali and omankickboxingclub

Fitness: Why not to diet and what to do instead
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