If the excesses of the festivities have left you struggling to button up your favourite jeans, starting a diet might not be the best plan. Of course, anyone can lose a ton of weight by following a strict calorie-counting regime, but does it stay off? Not usually. This is why changing your attitude to food could be the best option – because it means long-term weight loss is genuinely attainable.
Upon finding herself with lot of extra weight to lose after having a baby Mia Karlsson, an entrepreneur from Finland, devised a healthy eating system she could stick to. Basing her system on the Nordic Plate Diet, dietary advice followed in households throughout Finland, she also used findings from recent research on the importance of regular eating patterns. Mia soon found her weight dropping. In fact in total she lost 30lbs – all without dieting. “For the first time ever I finally feel I have a normal relationship with food, fitness and sugary treats. I wish everyone struggling with their weight could get to where I am today”, says Mia.
And the good news is, you can. With the help of an authorised nutritionist, Mia has now turned her system into an app that helps users manage their weight in the same way – the Nordic Diet Coach. You use the app to photograph each meal – research has found that photographing your food just before you eat encourages you to change your eating habits – and the app helps you assess your meal’s content and gives you feedback to help you improve your food choices. You also get regular reminders to eat and snack so your energy levels don’t dip – meaning you’re far less likely to binge on unhealthy foods.
Like all things Nordic the Nordic Diet Coach system is simple and effective. So effective that the app has been one of the top-selling health apps in Finland since it launched in January 2014. And now it’s set to change our attitude to food in the UK.
Here is Mia’s advice for anyone trying to manage their weight without going on a diet:
You should eat 4 to 6 times a day. You can work out the total number of meals and snacks suitable for your body by your feelings of hunger and fullness throughout the day. This might mean you find yourself eating more, not less, than before, yet you’re losing weight because your digestive system is more active and your brain and stomach are not making you crave unhealthy foods.
Never miss a meal or snack
Your metabolism slows down if you skip meals. What’s more, missing a meal often means you eat too much at the next one. Eating regular meals keeps your blood sugar levels stable, so you won’t tire as easily, and it also reduces sugar cravings – which means you’re less likely to dive for crisps or a Snickers bar from the corner shop on your way home from work.
Snacks should include vegetables, fibre and protein. For example, a healthy snack is fruit, natural yogurt and a healthy sandwich.
Slow eating will help your stomach to notice earlier when it is full. This means you can prevent yourself eating too much.
Get the right balance
Quantities on your plate should be as follows: 50% vegetables, 25% carbs (potatoes, rice or pasta) and 25% protein. This is the Nordic Plate Diet system. And don’t forget to include some healthy fats like rapeseed oil or olive oil, and use margarine (no less than 60% fat content) instead of butter.
Notice how you feel
After lunch do you feel sleepy and sluggish, or light and energetic? Always aim for the latter, and base your choices on these feelings. If you are prone to tiredness in the afternoons you should check the size of your lunch and especially the amount of carbohydrates, which make you sleepy. Remember, you are also having substantial snacks between meals, so you shouldn’t stuff yourself at mealtimes.
Eat protein and fibre
Protein (fish, meat, chicken, beans etc) brings a long-lasting feeling of satisfaction – so you’re less likely to pick at unhealthy foods. Fibre will make you feel full for a long time and allow for a slow increase in blood glucose after a meal, meaning you don’t suddenly find your energy flagging – and you’re less likely to binge on unhealthy snacks. So include both in meals and snacks.
The Nordic Diet Coach app is now available for iPhone. For more information go to www.nordicdietcoach.com.