Susie Burrell

‘your food, your body, your life’

The easiest diet changes for a healthy 2022

While much diet talk of the minute focuses on weight loss the truth is that most extreme and restrictive diets will fail. So imagine if you could make some simple changes to your daily and weekly food routines to not only lose a few kilos safely, but keep them off long term? I have the simple changes for long term dietary success for you!

1. Make 1 meal a day about vegetables

It may be a vege based smoothie for breakfast, a salad at lunch or adding a soup to dinner but the simple act of significantly increasing your daily intake of vegetables and/or salad is one of the simplest dietary strategies to help you eat less and lose weight. In fact, studies have shown that you eat up to 100 fewer calories a meal when you enjoy a soup or salad beforehand. The added benefit of eating more vegetables is that you will also significantly increase your fibre intake which in turn will help to reduce bloating and keep your digestive system regular. A win-win result from both a weight and health perspective.  

2. Consider your daily coffee order

There are plenty of good things we can say about regular coffee consumption – it helps to reduce heart disease and blood pressure plus it is one of the cheapest ways to get at least 10 minutes of pleasure (should you have the right barista) but let’s get honest, the milk and sugar calories really do add up. So if you regular enjoy milk based coffee (cappuccino, latte), it may be time to rethink your order. Consider a smaller size, even if it means ordering a piccolo; wean off added sugars from sugar, honey and syrups if you can and remember that the coffee is good for you, too much extra milk is not.

3. Get your timing right

This change is actually not about what you are eating at all, rather when you eat. Breakfast at 9, lunch at 2 and dinner at 8 or 9pm will simply not be doing your metabolism any favours. The human body is programmed according to a circadian rhythm, which means the more calories you consume in the first half of the day, the better it is for weight control. For this reason simply aiming for breakfast as early as possible, lunch by 1pm and dinner by 6-7pm is the easiest thing you can do to support weight control.

4. Reconsider snacking

As many of us live increasingly inactive lifestyles, so too does our calorie requirements reduce. For many of us this may mean we do not really need to snack. Ideally a nutritionally balanced meal will keep us full for at least 3-4 hours which means that we are unlikely to need a mid-morning snack unless you are eating breakfast at 6am, and perhaps only a light late afternoon snack to take us through till dinner time.

5. One light day

Chances are at some point during the week you will eat too much – it may be over the weekend, or at Friday night pizza night but overeating on at least one occasion each week  is completely normal. An exceptionally easy way to help buffer this is to factor in a lower calorie day each week. All you need to do is focus one day each week on vegetables, salad, soup and a light meal at night to achieve calorie balance and also you to enjoy your occasional treats and blow outs without guilt or worry that it will adversely impact your diet overall.  

6. Treat don’t binge

You may love chocolate, or biscuits or cake, or a divine cheese plate and bottle of French may be more your thing but whatever your food or drink indulgence is the key to dietary success is to learn to enjoy controlled amounts and not feel the need to binge simply because you have access to them. This means stopping after one of two biscuits or a few glasses of Champagne rather than feeling the need to demolish the entire bottle or packet. One you work towards this controlled intake when you really feel like indulging, then tempting foods have lost their control over you.

7. Only eat when you are really hungry

Easier said than done I must admit but chances are a significant number of the calories you consume each day are consumed mindlessly i.e. not because you really need them rather because it is a meal time; the food is there or you are emotional eating. Once you commit to only eating when you are truly hungry, your weight will take care of itself.