Does this formula exist? No. Today I am going to focus on food and changing unhealthy food habits.
There are so many diets around that claim to be the answer - slim fast, diet chef, The Atkins Diet, 5:2, slimming world. All these diets are a means of reducing your calorie intake, they are not a magic formula or a quick fix. They work for some of us but they will only work in the long term if we adopt new habits to reduce our calories and increase our exercise everyday.
There are many ways to reduce your calories and when trying to start new habits, you need to look at what works for you.
If someone is overweight it is normally down to having habits that cause them to eat too many calories and not do enough exercise, unless of course it is down to health issues or medication (underactive thyroid for example). The way to lose weight and to keep off is to form new habits that do the opposite.
I am making it sound easy but it's not and it does take willpower and the need to reward yourself.
Our bodies and minds love habits as they make life less stressful and use less effort and willpower once they are set in stone. The difficulty is getting them there in the first place.
Here are some ways of reducing your calorie intake and turning these into new healthy habits.
To make a start write a food diary with times, look at your routine and look at your triggers for overeating - we are all different and be honest with yourself.
You may skip breakfast and have a bag of crisps at 11am and a chocolate bar with lunch and a cheese sandwich. At this stage don't judge yourself, just write it down. If you are overeating or eating something you know is high in calories - write down what the trigger was - stress, boredom, habit (always at a certain time) etc.
After you have done this for a week look at the habits you need to remove and new one's you want to create.
Sometimes you might want to switch a habit from an unhealthy one to a healthy one - this might mean switching a chocolate bar for a nakd bar or fruit so it lessens the pain. If you're body is used to eating at a certain time these habits can be harder to break.
If you are aware of the trigger and have an alternative way of dealing with that you are more likely to be successful.
Here are some ways of reducing your calories and how you might incorporate them into a your life to make them a habit forever.
1) Fat per gram is more calorific than carbohydrates and lean protein.
If you reduce your fat intake you can quite quickly reduce your calories.
How: Use a spray bottle or buy oil in a bottle so you use less oil to cook
Have wraps for lunch and don't have any butter on them
Only have cheese in an evening meal and have half the portion
Don't buy crisps or cakes
Don't put a chocolate bar in your pack lunch box replace with a low
If you are buying processed foods aim to only buy processed food under
These are just simple ideas. I am not saying you shouldn't eat cake again or crisps but if you don't buy them with your weekly shop you will eat them less.
2) Portion sizes - you can double your calories per meal just by the portion size. Men and teenagers need to eat more than women and as you get older you need even less. Unfortunately ladies unless you are particularly active or tall, cut those portions.
How: Use a smaller plate.
Don't go back for seconds
Simple and if you keep it up daily after about a month it will become habit. Never do it as a short term fix as the weight will come back on. Make it a life change.
3) Eat breakfast - It has been proven that you are more likely to be overweight if you don't eat breakfast for many reasons - it reduces your metabolic rate by fasting, most people make up for it by overeating later.
How: This is one of the toughest to fix as it involves looking at your routine and writing and formulating a new one
It may require getting up earlier and choosing a healthy breakfast.
4) Planning meals
How: Choose a day and a trigger it could be on your day off when your alarm goes off or when Eastenders is on (anything that will prompt you) and plan a week's worth of healthy meals and then do a food order or shop. Planning helps prevent failure.
These are just some of the ways of reducing your calorie intake, there are so many more. The important thing is whatever changes you make they need to form habits. Once you do things on auto pilot - like me having my porridge with fruit this morning, nakd bar at 11am and now healthy wrap at 12:30pm - life becomes easier and you don't need to think about it anymore, it just happens.
If you want to have more success at forming habits you need to make sure you reward yourself - this might simply be saying to yourself 'well done you made the right choice' or by doing something nice while doing your food order, or having one piece of chocolate at the end of the day if you follow through on all your new habits. It is better if the reward is immediate or the same day, as it tells your brain it was worth the effort and you are more likely to keep it up.