Can I Have Chips With That?

Losing weight is a slog; keeping it off is even harder – more than 95% of dieters regain their lost weight within five years. But you can do it, once you realise that only all-round effort leads to long-term results. There is no silver bullet for weight loss, despite what celebrity-endorsed diets claim.

Dieting triggers hunger hormones that make your desire for food overwhelming. This is not your fault. It’s your body’s way of preventing you from starving to death. Recent studies show you need to maintain your new, lower weight for at least six months before your appetite falls back to normal, explaining why faddy diets you can’t stick to eventually lead to rebound weight gain.

There’s no need for obsessive calorie counting, special diet foods, expensive ingredients or complex cooking. A new book, ‘Can I have Chips?’ explains how to make weight loss permanent by taking little steps and compensating for the inevitable increase in appetite by eating the right foods. Your weight loss journey begins when you start cutting out foods containing added fat or added sugar and stop drinking soft drinks. Our love of sugary drinks is linked to the obesity epidemic. Liquid sugar does not fill us up as much as foods containing solid sugar so we don’t compensate by eating less later on.

Hunger is the enemy of diets. The best way to curb this is to eat three meals a day consisting of a serving of protein supplemented with a moderate amount of starchy carbs, vegetables and fruit. Protein suppresses your appetite and carbs help you avoid the food cravings that sabotage low-carb diets. But to maintain your lower weight it is not enough just to eat differently, you also need to modify how you eat. If you revert to old eating habits after a diet, the weight goes back on.

Large portions also undermine any diet, particularly if you eat while watching TV. When out, share one dish with a friend, or ask for a doggy bag – no you don’t have to have a dog! Swap those yummy processed foods for a chicken quarter and a few fat chips! They are much less fattening than pastry as they contain water.

Create useful strategies, like studying menus online or writing a shopping list. This can help you make healthier choices. Once your body is no longer corrupted by fast foods you can tune into it and know what to eat and when to stop. Start to find the upside in all life throws at you. It makes you feel happier and less inclined to treat yourself like a dustbin to fill with rubbish. And when you fall off the wagon, as you surely will, there is no need to give up your diet and head straight for a chocolate biscuit. By getting straight back on, you are well on your way to the body you desire.

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