What does the word “diet” mean to you? Does it send off deprivation alarm bells? Or does it signify one last pizza and a milkshake before the carb-cut-down begins? Whatever it is, all diets have one thing in common…they end! I think the longest diet I’ve ever done lasted 2 weeks. I cut out practically every carb on the planet and by the last few days, my energy levels were non-existent and I was one moody cow to be around! I came to realise that dieting changed the way I thought about food. Suddenly it became the enemy and meal times brought on feelings of anxiety and stress. Not fun! I may have ended up a few pounds lighter but as soon as I came off the diet, those pounds came straight back! I now understand that a healthy, gorgeous body won’t come from restrictions and feelings of deprivation, you’ll be forever yo-yo dieting and your body will not be a happy one. We’ve compiled our top tips on how to stop dieting and start looking at food in a positive and healthy way!

Stop counting calories and start looking at ingredients
Calorie counting can be bad news as it can divert your mind off the most important thing, the ingredients. Of course, calories are to be considered. If you aren’t using up as much energy as you’re putting in then it will cause problems, but your body is a very good judge at how much energy you need and if you are feeding it healthy and wholesome foods as well as exercising, it will let you know when enough is enough.

Put the emphasis on “health” rather than “weight”
This tip really helps me when I think about why I choose to eat a nutritious and balanced diet. It’s easy to get caught up with the desire to loose weight, but try and switch the mentality of “I’m eating these blueberries because they will help me lose weight” to “I’m eating these blueberries because they have so many antioxidants and they are going to benefit my health”. You will start to see food in a more positive way that doesn’t always revert back to whether it will make you “thinner” or “fatter”.

Find a Hip & Healthy substitute
This is a tip that you can add in to your lifestyle immediately. Earlier on, I talked about the hassle and stress of restricting foods. The reason why you feel deprived when you do this is usually because you have nothing to replace it with. Where’s the pasta gone? Where’s the bread gone? You notice a gap in your diet and that makes you unhappy. Well we have a solution, (a very easy one!) Find a healthier substitute! For example, swap refined white bread for rye or spelt bread. Or if you’re feeling like a weekend baking sesh, give our Gluten Free Quinoa and Chia bread a go! http://www.hipandhealthy.co.uk/gluten-free-seeded-quinoa-chia-bread/

Have a blowout meal once a week
This is a tip I learnt from my time working as a personal trainer at Bodyism. We would encourage our clients to allow a “cheat meal” into their diets once a week, and we suggested this for a few reasons. Firstly it’s good for your mind as it takes away the feeling of deprivation. It’s something to look forward to and it can really help keep you on track during the week. Secondly it can help you lose weight! (it’s true!) Bodyism founder, James Duigan says “when you’re following a good, healthy diet all the time, your metabolism stays steady. However, when you eat more than usual, your metabolism goes into shock and starts working overtime to burn off the extra food”. We like the sound of that!

words by Molly Jennings