We read all the new diet books and talk to their authors all the time, but also live normal lives with the odd treat thrown in!
Here’s the well-researched, tried- and-tested formula that works for us – aged from 20s to 40s, with different body shapes and sizes.
1- Base your meals around protein, vegetables and good fats. If you’re having a hungry day – maybe you’ve done exercise or you’re just famished – have a bigger portion or add a small amount of lentils, chickpeas or quinoa or a carb-dense vegetable, such as squash.
2- Don’t go hungry. You’ll be miserable and you’ll binge.
Snack wisely – they can be nutritious (nuts, oatcakes) if you’re hungry, or sweet (dark chocolate rice cake) if that’s what you’re craving.
3- Cook from scratch – you can control portion sizes, sugar and salt. We all have busy jobs and some of us have kids. What we mostly eat is as quick to make as bunging a ready meal in the microwave (sometimes quicker), and a lot more filling and tasty.
4- Don’t ban sugar, but do see it as your treat. That includes fruit, especially dried – use it to boost porridge or as dessert, when it won’t trigger a blood sugar spike. Be balanced – we’ll have a slice of office cake if it’s someone’s birthday, but we don’t have an office biscuit tin.
5- Build exercise it into your day.
‘Fasted exercise’ works for us: we cycle, run or walk into work most days before having breakfast at our desks. While diet has a bigger effect on weight than exercise, being active will keep your metabolism ticking over faster, so you’ll be burning up the calories you eat more effectively.