Once the Christmas binge is over and we approach the start of New Year, most of us resolve to shape up and lose a few lbs. Before you start that Atkins diet, OutUK correspondent Thomas Wines has come up with some tips on healthier eating which will help shift those extra inches.

Start your diet with a food diary, record everything you eat, what you were doing at the time, and how you felt. That tells you about yourself, your temptation, the emotional states that encourage you to snack and may help you lose once you see how much you eat.


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Instead of eating the forbidden piece of chocolate, brush your teeth. If you're about to cheat, allow yourself a treat, then eat only half a bite and throw the other half away.

When hunger hits, wait 10 minutes before eating and see if it passes. Set attainable goals. Don't say, "I want to lose 50 lbs." Say, "I want to lose 5 lbs a month." Get enough sleep but not too much. Try to avoid sugar. Highly sweetened foods tend to make you crave more.

DRINK LOTS OF WATER

Drink six to eight glasses of water a day. Water itself helps cut down on water retention because it acts as a diuretic. Taken before meals, it dulls the appetite by giving you that "full feeling." Diet with a friend. Support groups are important, and caring people can help one another succeed. Start your own, even with just one other person.

BE ACTIVE

Substitute activity for eating. When the cravings hit, go to the gym if possible; or dust, or walk around the block. This is especially helpful if you eat out of anger.

If the pie on the counter is just too great a temptation and you don't want to throw it away, freeze it. If you're a late-night eater, have a carbohydrate, such as a slice of bread of a cracker, before bedtime to cut down on cravings. Keep an orange slice or a glass of water by your bed to quiet the hunger pangs that wake you up.

REWARD YOURSELF

If you use food as a reward, establish a new reward system. Buy yourself a non-edible reward. Write down everything you eat - - everything - including what you taste when you cook. If you monitor what you eat, you can't go off your diet.

Weigh yourself once a week at the same time. Your weight fluctuates constantly and you can weigh more at night than you did in the morning, a downer if you stuck to your diet all day. Make dining an event. East from your own special plate, on your own special placemat, and borrow the Japanese art of food arranging to make your meal, no matter how meagre, look lovely. This is a trick that helps chronic over-eaters and bingers pay attention to their food instead of consuming it unconsciously.



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SHOP SENSIBLY

Don't shop when you're hungry. You'll only buy more fattening food. Avoid crisps and snacks that are easy to eat in large amounts. Avoid consuming large quantities of sugary fattening liquids, which are so easy to overdo. And this includes alcoholic drinks.

SNACK HEALTHY

Keep plenty of crunchy foods like raw vegetables and air-popped fat-free popcorn on hand. They're high in fibre, satisfying and filling. Leave something on your plate, even if you are a charter member of the Clean The Plate Club. It's a good sign that you can stop eating when you want to, not just when your plate is empty.

DO IT FOR YOU

Lose weight for yourself, not to please your boyfriend, your parents or your friends. Make the kitchen off-limits at any time other than mealtime. Always eat at the table, never in front of the TV set or with the radio on. Concentrate on eating every mouthful slowly and savouring each morsel. Chew everything from 10 to 20 times and count! Never ever skip a meal.
If you want to lose weight we recommend The Gi Diet. Nothing to do with the US Army Gi stands for Glycemic Index which measures how quickly carbohydrates are digested and release their sugars into the bloodstream. Foods with a high Gi rating release glucose rapidly, their energy is rapidly burned up and hunger quickly returns. The Chinese meal syndrome, where you're hungry half an hour later, is the perfect illustration of this. Low-rated slow-release foods, by contrast, provide long-term energy and tend to require the body to do more work to convert it, which means they are better for your weight and well-being. The GI Diet is available online from Amazon

 

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