Diets Are Doomed: Fall in Love With These 12 Simple Eating Habits 

Diets mostly fail – fail, not in losing weight but in keeping it that way.

3 min read
Just eat it (Photo: iStockphoto)

We all know of people who lost massive amounts of weight and kept it off permanently. But we know many more who started diets and gave up.

It is estimated that 95% of all those who lost weight on a diet gained it back. This is because most diets are deprivation diets. That is the reason, they mostly fail – fail, not in losing weight but in keeping it that way.

Research in psychology and marketing has brought forth powerful principles which can improve weight loss.

Wait, But Why?

Before initiating an altered lifestyle, it is important to know why you are going through with this i.e. what is the motivation to start? Body image and health are two compelling reasons.

Secondly, are you open to change? Do you have a willingness to change?

Finally, are you ready for mindful eating? Knowledge of foods along with knowing principles of healthy eating is all that it takes to get where you want.

But don’t beat yourself over it. Almost all of us have oft eaten simply for pleasure. Here are some tips which can help keep you from doing so.

1. Don’t Have That Last Chapatti

The traditional saying is to stop eating when you still have hunger for one more chapatti. As a rule, you should eat until you are just 80% full.

Don’t eat with your eyes, eat according to your hunger.

Learn to say “no”. Avoid the “just one more” helping request.

2. ‘Pre-plate’ Your food

People eat about 14 percent less than when they take small first servings. Most people also tend to eat less if they are able to see how much they are going to eat, like in a ‘Traditional Thali’ or the Japanese “Bento Box”.

3. Use Smaller Crockery

Smaller plates, bowls, spoons, cups and glasses help create an illusion about the volume of food you eat.

4. Eat Slowly

Make overeating difficult. Don’t keep unhealthy food around in your room or home. Hide or lock unhealthy food.

5. Create Distractions

When there is an urge to eat, distract yourself. Resist your urge to go to the fridge. Try water, fruit or a healthy snack.

6. Identify Your Danger Zones

Fix food according to the atmosphere - in the evening, late night or while watching television, studying, partying, etc. Find suitable fixes.

7. Make Comfort Foods More Comforting

Try smaller portions of your favourite comfort foods or choose healthier options. Honey coated nuts instead of biscuits is not such a “sacrifice”.

8. Half Plate Rule

At least, half of your plate should be vegetables and fruits and divide the rest in protein and starch.

9. Do Not Use Food as a Punishment or reward

Healthy food should be fun and a way of life. Vary, innovate and create new recipes.

10. Beware of ‘Smart Marketing’

Many so called ‘diet or health foods’ may be giving you higher calories, fat or sugar more than the regular ones. ‘Fat free/cholesterol free’ may be loaded with trans fats or sugar.

11. Write a food diary

Keeping a food diary helps. It’s like a mirror. So, next time you resolve to improve your diet, start by reaching out for a pen and a paper.

12. Portion and Balance

If you must have unhealthy food, have a smaller portion, rather than struggle with your will-power. If you ate excessively, then balance it i.e. have a light next meal.

A good diet should teach you to eat rather than avoid or deprive. The best diet is the one you don’t know you are on. “Diet” must be a way of life.

(The author is clinical nutritionist and Founder,, Whole Foods India, and Founder President, Celiac Society of India)


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