The 7 food hacks slim people swear by – from ditching scales to eating more of your fave treats – The Sun

YOU’RE in limbo – you want to order dessert, but you feel like you shouldn’t. Your inner voice is saying: “Why can my slim friend seemingly eat whatever they want, but I just look at a tiramisu and blow up?” 5Follow our tips to help you rebuild your relationship with foodWhile environment and genetics influence weight, so can your mindset. “Women come to me to lose weight, but weight is a symptom of the problem, not the problem,” says Dr Aileen Alexander, a former GP who founded Nourish to help women break up with fad diet cycles.“It’s hard for women in our culture to lose weight and keep it off,” Dr Alexander says. “They lose unhealthy amounts in the early days of a new diet, and when they don’t continue losing weight they feel like they’ve failed, as they weren’t able to stick to the process.”Research suggests that 80% of people who lose a significant amount of weight will regain that amount within 12 months.* Why? “These all-or-nothing approaches can alter women’s relationship with food. It impacts food choices and erodes self-esteem,” says Dr Alexander. Before you know it, that tiramisu doesn’t just look tasty – it’s a source of comfort, leading to a binge and guilt. If you’ve been on all sorts of diets, it’s time to try something new – a change in mindset. Most read in Diet & Nutrition“It’s about learning how to tune in to our hunger and satiety signals, being aware of when we’re comfort eating, and ultimately being kind to ourselves, mentally and physically,” says Dr Alexander. Follow these tips to help you rebuild your relationship with food and reap the health benefits.What is intermittent fasting? How the weight loss diet works and potential benefits1. Eat what you want5Allow yourself to eat chocolate, cakes, crisps and biscuitsCredit: GettyBreaking up with diet culture starts with simply allowing yourself to eat chocolate, cakes, crisps and biscuits. “We end up tending to want those foods less when we give ourselves permission to have them as part of a healthy, balanced diet,” says Dr Alexander. “Eat 80% whole foods – things that are naturally occurring and unprocessed – and 20% of whatever you want.” Switching your mentality to allow yourself to eat what you want can be scary and you may even binge on previously forbidden foods to start with, but that’s part of the process. “It usually takes four to eight weeks to allow yourself to eat what you want, but it depends a lot on someone’s background,” explains Dr Alexander, such as if they have a history of yo-yo dieting or an eating disorder.2. Stop when you’re fullSlim people stop eating when they feel full. But yo-yo dieters often lose a sense of their hunger cues – the natural way of deciding when to eat and when to stop. If your life revolves around calorie counting, for example, you may think more about numbers than you do your hunger levels. “What I give to my clients is a hunger-to-satiety guide to use for a while,” says Dr Alexander. Using a scale of one to 10 – one being starving and 10 being uncomfortably full – you can reconnect with hunger cues. “Once you train yourself, you know where you are, as it’s programmed into your brain,” says Dr Alexander. She warns that ultra-processed foods, such as a bar of milk chocolate, interfere with these signals. “When we eat these, they create a bliss point – the perfect combination of sugar and fat. We don’t think about mindfulness as much when we’re eating them.” As explained, there is no need to ban these foods entirely, but you’re now armed with the knowledge that they are designed to be moreish.3. Don’t skip meals 5Do not skip meals Think to avoid overeating later on in the dayCredit: GettyThink that swerving breakfast will save you calories? It may do – if you have the willpower to avoid overeating later on in the day. “When we skip meals, we get over-hungry, and mindful or intuitive eating becomes harder,” says Dr Alexander. “Eating regular meals helps us respond to our body’s signals and promotes balanced energy levels and productivity, too.”4. Understand cravingsAre you hungry or are you reaching for food to deal with stress? Slim people don’t tend to use food as a way to cope with emotions. “I’m a big fan of journalling, walking and exercise for stress-management,” says Dr Alexander. “I always say the way to figure out if it’s hunger or a craving is to ask: ‘Could I eat an apple?’. If you couldn’t, you know it’s a craving,” says Dr Alexander. “If this is the case, try to understand what’s going on. Are you tired? Fatigue and stress cause hormonal imbalances, which lead to cravings. Are you sad?” Deal with the real cause, rather than the craving.5. Be mindful at mealsYou’ve likely heard about mindful eating before, but what exactly is it? “It’s about savouring the taste and texture of food, creating an enjoyable eating environment and being present with that food,” explains Dr Alexander. Eating while distracted can cause you to overeat. Often, those who are slim savour every bite and listen to their brain telling them they are full. “How can you make sure you fully savour and experience eating that food? Sit down. Eat at the table. “Put your phone away. Make sure eating is the only thing you’re doing,” suggests Dr Alexander.6. Ditch the scales 5There are other ways to track health improvement that are not the so-called ‘sad step’Credit: GettySlim people may or may not use weighing scales to check weight gain after a holiday. But if you want to lose weight, there are other ways to track health improvement that are not the so-called “sad step”.“The scales don’t tell us how healthy we are – they’re a marker of total body weight, which fluctuates for many reasons, for example during your period or after a high-salt meal,” says Dr Alexander.“Focusing on markers of progress beyond what the scales say is integral to long-term success.” Think about how good you feel in clothes that flatter your shape, or how much your mental health has improved now you have the energy to go to the gym and exercise.7. Be sociable5Don’t miss out on socialising to lose or maintain a certain weightCredit: GettyYou’ll still find slim people eating out, but those on a diet often label it a “cheat meal” or avoid it completely. “When there’s a social event, people panic. But you should go,” says Dr Alexander. “Health has three components – physical, mental and social. The social aspect is so important. If you have to miss out on socialising to lose or maintain a certain weight, then it’s unsustainable.” Diets themselves aren’t sustainable, which is why weight creeps back on when you slip into old habits and you feel like a failure. Instead, make tweaks that work for you. “Women want to be liked,” says Dr Alexander. “Maybe you go out with the intention of not drinking, but then your friend orders a wine and you say: ‘Oh, go on then.’ “But they may not understand you’re on a health journey.” Try a new activity with a friend, such as tennis lessons, instead of a meal out. How to lose weight safely
Losing weight should be a long-term commitment to healthier living, rather than any drastic measures.
The NHS tips – which can be adopted slowly – include:

Get active for 150 minutes a week – you can break this up into shorter sessions
Aim to get your 5 A Day – 80g of fresh, canned or frozen fruit or vegetables count as 1 portion
Aim to lose 1 to 2lbs, or 0.5 to 1kg, a week
Read food labels – products with more green colour coding than amber and red are often a healthier option
Swap sugary drinks for water – if you do not like the taste, add slices of lemon or lime for flavour
Cut down on food that’s high in sugar and fat – start by swapping sugary cereal for wholegrain alternatives
Share your weight loss plan with someone you trust – they can help motivate you when you have a bad day

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