You need to understand your own dietary needs, which is why we suggest spending time taking advice from a nutritionist. Nothing beats getting your own position evaluated with an expert.
However, there is a simple approach that will work every time:
- Restrict your calorie intake
- Limit alcohol
- Avoid sugar
- Follow a Mediterranean Diet
Restricting your calorie intake is something you should do with care. It is true that if you do this, in a controlled and sensible way, it has enormous benefits, but if you merely cut out too many calories, you can do more harm than good.
So, you need to be careful to ensure your complete bodily needs are serviced by whatever calorie level you target. You must ensure you have the right mix of nutrients going into your body.
That tick list above – how do you score?
If you can give yourself a mark out of ten for each, what score do you think you have out of forty?
Really, for maximum benefit you need to be close to forty.
To change your current score, you need to work on each area and to develop a plan to get that area to ten out of ten.
For many people, this will inevitably involve substantial changes, so it makes sense to do the following:
- Take the area which you think is most pressing for you to change;
- Then learn all about what you need to do – or can do – to correct your position in that one area;
- Work on this for a while until you can build a new habit;
- Once you have clearly eradicated an old bad habit and introduced a new good habit then move onto the next area.
The biggest challenge for most is the restriction of calorie intake. This is the hardest new habit to develop, as it means cutting out so many of those pleasures you have been conditioned to, such as sweets, treats, crisps, snacks, cakes, big coffees, and so much more. It probably means cutting down on the meals you eat, certainly changing them as well, and putting your body through some short-term hell. The food industry, like the tobacco industry, has become adept at getting us hooked on things we don’t need, are not good for us, and are actually stimulating a greater need to eat. So, much of the modern food we consume is basically creating a desire for even more food.
Learn as much as you can about how to limit calorie intake and change from a high intake to lower intake. Do not count calories, we think that is a poor way to approach this, and focuses the mind on the wrong things.
Any change in this area is going to cause hunger, so learn how to deal with hunger and how this urge will positively change over time. For example, learn how consuming liquids when you are hungry can cause the hunger to go away. A couple of glasses of water can help offset the hunger pangs. The reaction to lowering your calorie intake can be miserable in the short-term, but long-term your body will adjust and it will become easier.
The more you lower your calories, the better you will feel, you will look better and the greater energy you will have. Over time your prospects for suffering ill-health will improve, as will your longevity prospects.