WE are a nation obsessed by diets. Everyone you know is probably on one or about to start one … on Monday. They are a staple of current affairs programs and the basis of almost every New Year's resolution.
Hardly a week goes by without the release of some breakthrough miracle diet that will allow you to shed those five kilograms while tucking into a chocolate croissant.
And as you sneak those chips through the checkout, you are bombarded with images of skinny celebrities showing off perfect bodies allegedly a result of the latest fad diet and nothing to do with the graphic artist's airbrush.
Yet in this country we continue to struggle with a terribly serious obesity epidemic. The Health Department suggests that by December next year, some 70% of Australians will be above their healthy weight range.
Perhaps the focus is so heavily weighted on miracle cures that we have forgotten about good old-fashioned nutrition. Eating a balanced diet, yes including carbohydrates, getting enough rest and some exercise is still the best recipe for a healthy lifestyle.
But while we all know that using more energy than we ingest is the only real secret to weight loss, it remains a difficult strategy to implement.
A nutritionist with Nutrition Australia, Kristie Bell, says the single most important thing after committing yourself to getting healthy is to have a plan.
“Concentrate on setting realistic and healthy goals you are willing to work toward,” she said.
“If your biggest weakness is chocolate, then don't start with giving it up completely. Perhaps it would be more realistic to start out by having a piece of fresh fruit with your breakfast every morning instead.
“By setting small goals in a step-by-step fashion, rather than trying to change all of your bad habits all at once, you are more likely to stick to the changes you make.''
Losing weight and keeping it off is hard work. Most things in life worth having usually are.
- Set out your breakfast the night before – perhaps a bowl of wholegrain cereal and a banana to help to get you going in the morning.
- Prepare snacks and pack lunches before you go to bed. This way you can simply grab your lunch on your way out the door.
- Chop some vegetables and put them in a reusable container in the refrigerator for your snack the next day. If you have food already prepared, you will not need to visit the office vending machine when you feel the urge to have a snack.
- For dinner, balance your plate so at least half of your plate is covered with vegetables and quarter is covered with a wholegrain such as brown rice. The other quarter of your plate may include a lean protein such as chicken or fish.
- Have fruit for dessert instead of cookies, cakes, or ice cream.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.