Successful long-term dieting is one of the hardest things to do.
I thought it was fear but apparently, devotion is the key; sticking to it, but that’s easier said than done, and very rarely is it explained to us in a way that makes sense. What really is dieting devotion?
A study in the Journal of Nutrition stated that; “Dietary intervention success requires strong participant adherence”. So what can be done to keep on track?
IMHO it is eating in a way that is particular to your personal goals, be that body shape, sporting prowess, or just good health: which is not a million miles away from the way you eat now.
Sounds straightforward doesn’t it? You know; how your diet has failed you, but you very rarely fail your diet. Because feeling like you are battling to adhere to your diet will fetter your ability to stick to your diet and no-one likes to feel like they have failed.
So how do you work out how to fill up on tasty food, which doesn’t explode your calorie counter, and which leaves you with at least a feeling like you are winning the weight-loss battle?
Well, knowing that some foods fill you up more than others is a good place to start, this is known as the Satiety Index, developed by the Australian researcher and doctor, Susanna Holt, satiety value, is the degree at which food gives a sense of food gratification (highest satiety value is expected when food that remains in the stomach for a longer period produces greatest functional activity of the organ) limiting food intake after reaching the satiety value helps reduce obesity.
This index will give you a framework to help you work out why 450 calories of your favourite breakfast cereal do not have the same effect on you as 450 calories of Brussel sprouts, even though scientifically a calorie is a calorie, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association states that:
…foods, and more specifically macronutrients, with the same
caloric content exert different effects on satiation and satiety
independent of their caloric value.
In layman’s terms, different foods will do different things to you and which foods you choose will govern your ability to stick to a particular form of eating: simples.
Now that you are equipped with the staff of rudimentary knowledge you ready to yomp across Porton Down and start battling the much-feared daemon of hunger.
10 WAYS TO OVERTHROW THE HUNGER DAEMONS & STOP FEELING HUNGRY
- HIGH FIBRE
Fibre for us is insoluble so it has to pass through you before reaching its final destination. Generally, fibre is found in almost all vegetables and fruits. Beans can also help boost your intake.
Nutritional information is often on the packaging or uses Google if you’re not sure.
Protein is mostly lower in calories when compared to carbohydrate or fat-rich foods. Protein is a good dieter’s choice, who binges on boiled chicken breasts or tins of tuna?
You burn up to 25% of the calories contained in protein sources as you digest them, thereby helping your calorie debt without harming your intake. Hunger daemons can be kept at bay while developing the selfie-fit bod you see on Instagram.
- HIGH VOLUME/LOW CALORIE
When your belly needs filling, that’s usually the signal for your brain to put the oven on and fill up a tray with Finland onion bhajis, onion rings, onion pakoras, onion sausage rolls, OK, you get the picture and when you’re done and lolling over the couch, it sends another message to ease off and watch GoT from the beginning.
Those signals that the brain sends out are important in reducing the banshee screams of the hunger daemons screaming out for jelly babies. Think of the difference between 500 calories of butter as opposed to 500 calories of broccoli.
- EMERGENCY FOODS
If the daemons take over and you just have to have something sugary, fatty or infused with salt, what do you do?
A scenario like this is unavoidable. Life gets in the way and shit happens you’re not prepared for.
The answer is simple; have ready, a stockpile of snacks, such as sugar-free mints, tins of fruit, protein bars or cans of your favourite diet drink, this easy step could be just the thing in an emergency that stops you giving up.
Whether it is green tea, coffee, or diet drinks, caffeine is a stimulant. Hunger is an unpleasant feeling and can leave you feeling sluggish and in desperate need of energy.
If you are going for caffeine, go large as you will get some stomach fill based on the volume of water.
Believe it or not, this is one of the most important and necessary features of the devotion notion. Research tells us that a lack of sleep can lead to your hard work going straight out of the window.
Do what you can with what you have. Environment is key, shift work is difficult, but not impossible, small children…hmmm, very difficult but also not impossible. Actively promote the idea around your house that sleep is as important as waking activities, you need a routine that will see you get an average of 7-8 hours most nights. Even 10 or15 minutes extra can be enough on top of what you already get to see an improvement.
- DANGER ZONES
Bacon butty Friday at work, birthday cake for everyone at the office, buying cream cakes ‘cos you clipped the kerb in the fire engine; you know who you are Blue Watch, stressful situations in general and the whole, I work hard, I deserve this; cake, pint, pie, pizza.
Nudge economics (Nudge theory, the idea that positive reinforcement or indirect suggestions to try to achieve non-forced compliance influences motives, incentives and decision making, tells us external influences can trigger positive and negative behaviours.
Mindless Eating expert Prof Brian Wansink looked at how visibility and proximity of candy ([sic] Hershey’s Kisses) affected consumption. Basically, if there’s sweet stuff at work, or at home, make sure it’s not immediately visible. In one experiment Wansink found that secretaries sitting close to clear dishes filled with Hershey’s Kisses ate 71 percent more of them, 77 calories a day, than those sitting near white dishes of the same candy. Over the course of a year, ‘the clear dish would have added more than five pounds of extra weight’, said Wansink.
Theses vulnerability vectors will always exist and by knowing that hunger, plus a stressful day can lead to poor choices from time to time. Prepare, and make sure one bad decision doesn’t lead to a one more.
- CHOICE ARCHITECTURE
When dieting, there is often an understandable preoccupation with food. This is normal and something that you have to take into account when doing your shopping and how you set yourself up for dieting success.
A simple analogy of how choice architecture (Choice architecture describes how the decisions we make are affected by the layout, sequencing, and/or range of choices that are available to us) can affect how you think and feel.
Linked to the idea above, how likely are you to eat a freshly baked, naked brownie that is eyeing you up from the kitchen counter, smelling sweeter than an Everton derby win at Anfield, against a bag of pears that are leering at you from the back of one of the cupboards.
In this scenario, your ‘choice architecture’ will be crucial and linked directly to your devotion to the cause. Have your emergency meals, snack or treats prepared and at hand to offset any daemonic behaviour.
- SAVING ENERGY
Food shopping can make or break all the good decisions and choices you plan for. Making decisions what not to eat or drink, what exercise or training to do can be tiring and will cost you energy, the energy you need to beat off the hunger daemons.
Plan ahead for your trip to Waitrose or Aldi fill your trolley with fruit and veg, foods high in protein, and low-calorie varieties of all the things you love to eat. The decisions you make now will define your ability to devote.
- SOMETIMES YOU WILL GET HUNGRY AND GUESS WHAT, IT’S OK
Definition of hunger: a compelling need or desire for food, the painful sensation or state of weakness caused by the need of food.
These feelings, however, can be short-lived, if you can just hold out. Recognise that those feelings may be unreliable, something else could be triggering them. They may be generated by your environment or how you are responding to a perceived stress threat.
Remember, you wanted to diet for a reason, whether that was purely for health reasons (mental or physical) or for that perfect Instagram body. Keeping a tight focus on those reasons may be your best weapon tool in beating the hunger daemons into surrender.
Remember pasta doesn’t make you fat, the amount of pasta you eat makes you fat.
Recognise the times and the environs in which your hunger daemons raise themselves and walk the earth. Have your stake ready; then have your steak ready.
They may win a battle here and there but know this, the war is long and ultimately you will prevail in the end.
If you would like more information or a little help getting nudged in the right direction, check out our Online Programmes for more inspiration. And remember to like us on Facebook for more of the latest dietary advice.