sBack away from those fad diet books! – there’s nothing to see there. You don’t need to fork our lots of money on the latest books and DVDs to lose weight.
We all know in our heart of hearts that crash diets never work and the only way to lose weight is to readjust our expectations and re-condition ourselves to eating less, moving more and choosing the right foods. It isn’t rocket science, but somehow we all keep searching for that holy grail of the quick fix diet, in the vain hope that one day someone will discover a pill to help us. And the truth is, even if we found one and lost weight overnight, we’d still be fighting to keep it off. So make small changes to your lifestyle to help you lose a small amount of weight each week , while re-educating you and ultimately changing your habits to help you to maintain a sensible weight.
But with a little bit of help from your making and mending skills, losing weight can be easier and a lot more fun. Incredible as it may sound MIAMI skills can help you lose weight and kick smoking and other bad habits as well. Here’s how:
Sewing and Knitting
I’ve included these two together, because they have similar positive effects such as being a distraction. It’s very hard to snuggle down on the sofa on a cold, dark evening to watch TV and not be tempted to take a trip to the cupboard for a snack. Even if you watch a channel without the adverts, the films and programmes are full of people eating and drinking and it’s bound to make you think you want to eat.
But having a knitting project on the go means you’re far less likely to think about food while your hands are busy. And you’re more likely to think about eating if you’re worried you might get sticky fingers on your work.
But it’s not just the distraction that’s good for us. The actual act of making can have a really positive effect on our mental wellbeing. It can calm us, help alleviate depression, improve self-esteem and self-efficacy. All good things to be working on while we are trying to give up those bad habits. An added bonus is that sewing and knitting aren’t only great ways of distracting yourself, but also really useful for when you ‘ve lost the weight and need to alter your clothes!
Growing our own food encourages us to think about what we eat, but there’s also a huge sense of achievement from eating home grown food. You enjoy your food more and think about different ways of cooking it. It slows down the preparation process as you’re more conscious of what you’re preparing, where it’s come from and what you’re going to do with it. Research has shown that the more conscious we are of the food that we put in our mouths, the slower we eat it and consequently we consume less.
Gardening is also one of the best ways of losing weight that we have at our disposal. Digging holes, pushing a mower, weeding and carrying soil uses the same muscle groups as lifting weights in the gym and can increase heart rate, oxygen intake and energy expenditure. More importantly we’re less likely to get bored in the garden and more likely to keep going for more than the three weeks that most people last at a gym!
It sounds counter intuitive to talk about cooking as part of your diet. Most of us think we should padlock the oven closed, but contrary to popular belief, embracing cooking and baking, and making it a feature of your diet, will make you more mindful of what you put into your mouth.
The worst thing for our waistlines is all those ‘empty’ calories that we consume whilst on the hoof. The sort of snacks that we pick up from petrol stations or the local shop as we’re passing, are what tip our daily consumption levels way over the edge. By slowing the food process down a touch, we re-learn to think about what we eat and actually taste and enjoy the food a lot more.
If you want a cake, have one by all means, but make it from scratch first. Once you start weighing out all that fat and sugar you’ll soon start to reconsider your urge for a piece of cake,…but if the urge is still there once you’ve made it, allow yourself a small portion and then make sure you let others share it, or cut it into small slices and freeze it ready for the next time you have an urge.
By allowing ourselves a little of what we fancy, we’re more likely to stick to a diet and less likely to have cravings. The cravings tend to kick in when we deny ourselves food completely. By adopting an 80/20 approach, nothing is off the menu, just restricted to times when you really appreciate it. 80% of the time you stick to eating healthily, but 20% you can indulge your self…within reason!
Even good old DIY is good for us. Again it can act as a good distraction, but also helps boost our self esteem and self-efficacy – self-efficacy is that little known thing that means that we have a sense of control over our lives. By learning to make and mend things around the house and garden, you’re taking control of the small things in your life and making your home a little nicer.