If you are first-time dieter like me, consider these things before you jump into a diet. Planning and research are key for successfully completing a diet plan.
Ok, I am not a seasoned dieter and this is by no means expert advice on best and worst diets and their health benefits or side effects. This is a beginner’s checklist really. For someone like me who has never ever gone on any sort of diet and have no clue as to what it entails. A few simple things to contemplate upon before you embark on a journey chasing health and weight-loss. Now that I am on my last week of the Fast Metabolism Diet (yayyyyyy), I feel like these pointers are so important in selecting, kickstarting and sticking with a plan.
What do you hope to achieve by going on a diet?
Weight loss, detox, cholesterol issues, diabetes scare, heart problems or simply change of eating habits? In my case, it was primarily the last – kicking my addiction to sugar and making fresh fruits and veggies a bigger part of my regular meals. Putting down a goal helps to remain focused and not get distracted. For example, if your personal objective is to get blood sugar under control but somewhere into the second week you get too caught up with the weighing scale and didn’t see much weight loss, but saw improvements in your blood-sugar levels, should you be depressed and de-motivated? Focus.
Research Research Research
It is easy to pick a diet because you saw an ad for it 20 times last night while watching Survivor but it may not be the diet for you or suitable to your goals. Read up. The one good thing about so many people creating content is that there is hardly a dearth of information. Do lots of research, find FB groups, talk to friends, ask on your social platforms. Jumping into something with lots of determination and then realizing that it was not for you, is such an enthusiasm killer.
How busy are you?
I mentioned in my last post that I was wondering, how people who have full time jobs and busy schedules can manage a diet like the one I am on. Do you have time for loads of grocery shopping for fresh ingredients? Do you have time (and inclination) for meal planning, menu planning? Do you have time to cook all your meals everyday? Or cook all your meals on the weekend and freeze them? Do you tend to rely on energy bars because you are always driving from one meeting to another and can’t make room for proper meals? Do you have a job that requires lots of entertaining over expensive lunches / cocktails etc? Do you have time to squeeze in work-outs? It is so important to consider your lifestyle and schedules. For example, The Fast Metabolism Diet requires me to eat within half an hour of waking up and eat every 3 hours till it is time for bed (no energy bars allowed). Now, if you can’t do this, then really no point on being on this type of a diet, right? You will simply be setting yourself up for disappointment. Again, research!
Do you enjoy cooking
I heard about someone who was pumped about starting a similar diet and gave up within one week, because they couldn’t cope with the amount of cooking required. If you are someone who has one frying pan, lots of ready-to eat meals in the refrigerator and you consider your most important appliance to be the microwave, prepare yourself before taking up a highly-involved diet that requires you to cook all your meals. You will not find those kinds of meals in any restaurant so forget about take-outs. This is where assessing your goals is important. Diets that focus on lots of fresh ingredients, whole grains, preparing your own meals, are great for lifestyle change and long term healthy eating habits. But if you are simply looking for instant weight loss and don’t care about long term health, maybe you will be inclined towards carrot/protein shake-diets (I am sure it exists).
Think of this as a time for real change and being creative instead of being scared. There are plenty of resources – most good diets have cookbooks as well that guide you step by step. Additionally, there are so many blogs for healthy foods. Channel your inner Jamie Oliver and buy yourself a nice apron!
Have a support group
Whether it is a friend, or your partner or a Facebook group, find someone who will either do this along with you, or will motivate your every step of the way. I know, I have had some tough days, where all I could think about all day was coffee or chocolate cake. There have been days (especially the first few) where I felt downright shitty from the caffeine and sugar withdrawal. This is where, someone who can steer you gently in the right direction matters! I have support at home, and I have gotten so much cheering and motivation from my blogging friends (thanks guys) and my Insta friends. Everyone can get weak sometimes, especially if you are not a seasoned dieter and have some food addictions, so, trust me, a support system really helps!
I ate this chicken soup almost every week. It is a tad time-consuming because you are making it from scratch, but so easy to make and comforting. You will feel so proud of having made a delicious, creamy chicken soup without using store-bought broth, bouillon cubes, canned products or dairy!
I would highly recommend making a double or triple portion of broth and storing it in the freezer.
I also make broth from the carcass of roast chicken in the same way. It is a great way to put the carcass to additional use and it still tastes delicious.
The cilantro brings a unique fresh flavour to the soup. Please do not skip it unless you hate cilantro (that is totally weird)
To make it extra cozy, add oat dumplings. They are soooo good. Use ground steel cut oats, almond milk, and coconut oil.
Ingredients – 4 servings
For the broth
½ kg chicken – any part bone in, skin on
1 carrot – sliced
1 celery stick + leaves
1 onion – sliced
2-3 sprigs of cilantro
2 garlic cloves – smashed
½ tsp salt
Put everything in a pot and bring to boil. Let boil on medium low till the liquid is reduced to half.
Remove the chicken pieces and let cool. Once cool, remove skin, take meat off the bone, shred and set aside.
Drain the broth and chuck all the left-over veggies.
For the soup
2 – 5 carrots, depending on size – diced
½ celery stick – diced
2 cloves garlic
2 broccoli stems (use heads for stir-fry) – chopped
½ pint mushrooms – chopped
1 medium zucchini – chopped
3 – 4 sprigs of cilantro
½ tsp salt
2 cups of spinach – chopped
In a large pot, add the broth, carrots, celery and garlic and broccoli. Let boil till all the vegetables are cooked.
Add the mushrooms, zucchini, cilantro and salt and keep boiling till all the veggies are soft.
Remove from heat, add ¾ quantity of the soup to a blender. Lock tight and blend on low till smooth. Be careful while handling. Add the blended soup back to the pot with the remaining chunky soup.
Add the shredded chicken and the spinach. Add little water if too thick. Bring to boil and set aside.
Season with salt and pepper, if required, top with some chives, slurp hot!