Friday, April 30, 2010

Rules can break your commitment

I’ve just seen on Face Book that my niece is starting a ’major health kick 28 day plan’. She says she is giving up smoking and alcohol (both excellent commitments to make!), and that she intends to cut out sugars and fats altogether.

Alarm bells are already sounding in my head! Very few people can set these kinds of limitations, all at once, and succeed.

The greater the number of stringent rules you make for yourself when committing to a diet or health regimen, the less likely you are to keep them up. The only rules – not even rules, but guidelines - you need to implement to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle are:
1. Make healthy food choices
2. Master portion control
3. Consume sufficient kilocalories/kilojoules
4. Introduce gentle exercise
5. Don’t set a time limit

Making healthy food choices means eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, and choosing whole grain products over their refined equivalents – whole grain bread and pasta, brown rice etc.

Mastering portion control is a little more difficult and takes a bit of time. Use the Google search tool above, type in ‘food groups’ and it will list all the posts I have written in the past about how much of what equals a portion, and how many portions of each food group your body needs in a day.

Eating enough is tied in to portion control. If you eat the number of portions from each food group, each day, you will be getting sufficient energy from a healthy variety of foods. When you radically limit the quantity and quality of the foods you ‘allow’ yourself, you will be hungry, tired and quickly get depressed and down on yourself. All foods are 'allowed' - just watch your portion sizes.

Introducing gentle exercise is as easy as parking on the far side of the lot, before walking briskly into the mall or shopping centre, where you will use the stairs in preference to the lift or escalator.

Don’t set a time limit. You will more than likely set an unrealistic goal, not be able to meet it, and get despondent. You will lose faith in yourself, be de-motivated and give up on the whole idea! Slow and steady attains the goal – it’s not a race. Changing too much all at once means you have too much to think about and consider every time you want to eat.

Have a great weekend.

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