Being able to make your diet a success is very important…
…especially when it’s for a big event like your wedding.
You want to look amazing in your dress and not have people judging you as you walk down the aisle.
For an important event like your wedding you want to make sure don’t make the mistakes that often lead to people not getting results with their diet.
I’d like to introduce a simple strategy that will help you succeed where most people fail on their journey to slimming down and toning up.
I’ve named it Remove, Prepare, Control.
As long as you’ve got the diet principles in place (being in a calorie deficit), then the remove, prepare, control strategy will go a long way in helping you to be consistent and adhere to your diet.
You can’t eat what you don’t have, and you’re not influenced by what you don’t see.
- How many times have you eaten something because it’s just there when it comes around to mealtime?
- How many times have you eaten something because you’ve seen it on your kitchen counter and suddenly had a big craving for it?
- How many times have these foods been unhealthy rather than healthy options?
The “remove” strategy is all about getting rid of temptation.
While you are on your wedding diet, the first thing you need to do is get all unhealthy food out of sight. Put it away in cupboards and preferably high up so it’s not at eye-level when you open the doors.
Make sure you then replace what you’ve hidden away with a healthier option. That way if you do get hungry, you won’t have to go looking in your cupboards where you might find the more unhealthy options.
This might mean hiding away the jar of cookies and making sure that fruit is on show instead.
It’s all too common to get a craving when you haven’t even been thinking about food at all, but then you suddenly see something and just fancy it. Think how much danger this poses to your wedding diet success!
The next thing to think about is to remove “bad” items from your house (or even, not buy them at all). This can be more difficult if you are living with a partner or family. It’s often impossible to avoid buying more unhealthy options if other people around you want to continue eating them. It’s important to make them understand that you would like to avoid eating these things though.
You could ask them to:
- Not offer them to you.
- Not leave them on show.
- Tell you off if you do eat them.
Implementing strategies like keeping the unhealthy items separate and even locked away with a key (although extreme), might be necessary to stop you from being tempted unnecessarily.
Depending on how much respect you have for the people around you, simply saying “I’m not going to eat these” might be enough for you to feel bad if you do get tempted.
I like to use the advent calendar test here. Are you the sort of person who respects that you can only open one window per day and eat only one tiny chocolate? Or can you not resist and open more than one? If you are the former, than you respond well to rules. If you respect the advent calendar rules, then you can follow similar rules around other treats as well. Maybe it means buying individually wrapped portions, smaller pack sizes, or just putting the packet away after you’ve had one.
If you had a business, would you think about selling it while it was doing well and earning you loads of money or when it took a drop and was not doing so well? Most people would go for the second option because they’d be feeling more negative and want a quick solution to the problem. However, we often make bad decisions when we are stressed and backed into a corner. In the business situation, you’d receive a lot less money for the sale if your business wasn’t doing so well, so may not be the best option for you.
The same thing happens when you’re on a diet. At the end of a stressful day at work, you’re low on energy, a bit stressed out and don’t have much willpower. If you don’t have a plan, you then have to use extra energy to think about and prepare food or decide to go to the gym.
This is a really bad idea as again, when you’re feeling negative you’re more likely to make decisions which make you feel better. i.e. a bit of comfort food and a rest rather than the gym.
When you make a plan, you have something to follow. You don’t have to expend your energy deciding what you’ll eat and even going out to buy the food. It should all be prepared so you have to do as little as possible at the time.
A plan should be made when you are feeling good and there should be one rule after that – follow it.
Ever been for a run and halfway through you feel you’re tired and decide to cut it a little short? This is your mind trying to sabotage your progress while you’re feeling stressed and tired. If you already have a plan to run say 5km, then you can say to yourself, “no, I have to stick to the plan”.
That’s the difference between saying I’ll go for a run and I’m going to run specifically 5km. If you have a specific plan, it’s much easier to follow.
Regarding food, a simple strategy is to take one day of the week (Sunday if you have it available) and plan out what you’ll eat on each day of the following week. After that, make sure you get the food in that you’ll need for those meals. An extra step which makes things so much easier when it comes around to mealtimes is to then pre-prepare some food. You can pre-cook time-consuming things like meats, you can chop veg, or even bulk cook meals in a slow cooker which you can then even freeze if necessary. Being able to take a frozen slow-cooked stew out of the freezer and have it ready in 10 minutes will stop you being lazy and choosing a quick unhealthy option.
Planning also applies to your workouts. If you’ve planned in a workout, the way you’re feeling when it comes around is less likely to make you skip it. Getting out of bed an hour early or heading to the gym after work when you’re tired is less likely to happen if you decide then and there. Having a pre-decided plan of when and what you are going to do reduces the decisions you’ll have to make and you’re more likely to take action.
This one is all about how in-tune you are with your body’s signals.
- Are you the sort of person who waits to feel hunger before eating, or do you just eat because it’s time?
- How long do you wait after feeling hunger before eating?
- Do you eat after feeling the slightest twinge?
Hunger, after all, is just one of the many impulses we get in our daily lives. We get impulses to buy new clothes; to watch TV, even to sleep. However, we can ignore them.
The same goes for hunger too. You’re not going to die or be ill if you ignore your hunger signals for a little while (unless you have a medical issue). Hunger signals are there as a notification from your body that it’s a good time to eat. Your body doesn’t know that you’re on a diet. You don’t always have to follow what it says.
Ignoring hunger is a learned skill. At first it’s more difficult as you’ve not experienced the feelings before. They are a bit uncomfortable sometimes. However, what most people don’t realise is that the hunger signals peak and then fall again so will subside after a little while.
The same goes for cravings. These are slightly different from hunger as they can often come on out of nowhere. Whereas hunger is usually a gradual thing, cravings can often appear from triggers. It could be a food advert you see, someone talking about specific foods, or even the smell of something nice. The main difference between hunger and cravings is that cravings can usually occur when you’re not actually hungry. A good way to quickly realise if you are hungry or craving something is to ask yourself: “if I were to eat something more neutral instead like a salad, would I still want to eat?” If not, then your impulse was probably a craving rather than actual hunger.
A great way to learn about, tune into and start to control your impulses more, is to experiment with intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting (or IF) is just a method of leaving bigger gaps between your meals.
Everyone already fasts without realising it when they sleep and spend up to 12 hours without consuming a meal – unless you get up during the night to eat, that is. There are also a few popular diets that incorporate fasting – the 5:2 and the 16:8. The 5:2 diet involves restricting calories on 2 days of the week while the 16:8 involves having an eating window of just 8 hours per day.
IF can be implemented any way you’d like though. You can even go as far as eating only every other day.
The point I would like to make in this article though is that you can use IF to learn how hunger feels and how to ignore it. Once you’ve felt how hunger feels and not given into its impulses, then it becomes much easier to deal with and resist food temptations.
Combining these three strategies together to remove temptations, have a plan to follow and control impulses (which could potentially make you deviate from your path) will help you get more success with your wedding diet.