I blogged last month about how the multitude of different diet books on the market can cause confusion about what we should be eating, and what to do about that, particularly if you want to lose weight (you can read that blog here).
Since then I’ve been continuing to think about this overload of diet advice, and about how it actually hampers our attempts to improve our diets. And I have been speaking to people who own dozens of diet books and healthy recipe books, but who haven’t put any of the advice in those books into practice. Why? Because they have so many options and so much advice (much of it contradictory) they don’t know where to start.
So this blog is about how to just make a start and get the ball rolling.
Here are my tips:
First of all, forget the superfoods. You don’t need spirulina, quinoa, coconut oil, maca powder or any other specific ingredient in your kitchen cupboard to make a start.
If you want to lose weight and know you’re overeating at the moment, the one thing that will make the biggest difference is eating less, not superfoods. You don’t need to replace your current diet with miracle ingredients to make a difference. (I appreciate that reducing what you eat might not be that simple, but the purpose of this blog is to give you the truth about what works – if you want some tips on how you can bring about changes in your eating, take a look here).
Next, you don’t need to cook complicated recipes from scratch in order to eat healthily. Me? I don’t cook anything which needs more than five ingredients. Nor do I use ingredients I can’t pronounce or if I don’t completely understand what they are. Not because I am against exotic and interesting ingredients, but because I am a lazy cook and a lazy shopper and I don’t want to spend hours of my time searching out ingredients and learning new complicated recipes. You only need to spend a few minutes on each meal to eat healthily (stir fries, slow cooked casseroles, omelettes, grilled meat and salads, soups, etc).
And you don’t have to spend your Sundays “prepping”. In fact I’d really recommend you don’t dedicate half of your precious weekend to shopping, cooking and filling up Tupperware containers with meals that you probably won’t fancy by Wednesday. Learn where you can buy healthy lunches and put together a list of quick meals for the evenings so that you’re not reliant on a pile of what are essentially ready-meals for the week. And consider this – if Sunday meal prep is critical to your healthy eating plan, what happens when you go away for a weekend? The plan falls apart.
Finally, it’s not about perfection. Yes, I know I bang on about this constantly, but that’s because it’s so important. You don’t have to have a complete list of superfoods in your fridge in order to get started on improving how you eat. You haven’t failed if you’ve eaten well all week but then run out of avocados. And you certainly haven’t failed if you have an occasional treat.
The key is just to make a start. Don’t get stuck at the planning stage – poring through clean eating recipe books, spending a fortune on new and obscure ingredients and buying Tupperware. Add more vegetables to your plate, cut out some sugary snacks, drink more water, reduce portion sizes. Most of us know what needs to change, and it’s not a switch to green smoothies. Just make a start.