It was a fun Saturday today for Lagosians who participated in the 2016 Lagos City Marathon. As expected, the winners (Male & Female) were both East Africans, the Masters at Long distance races. I am not going to be talking about running a marathon today, I am sharing a few tips on how to achieve a sustainable diet plan. Some of us are usually confused when embarking on a new diet plan, we are often confused on what to eat, what not to eat, some of us have been led to believe that a healthy diet consists of only lettuce and tomatoes, some others believe you need to kick out Carbohydrates completely. With so much information out there and seductive advertisements from healthy food companies, I do not blame anyone for being confused. 

If you are starting out a new diet plan or trying to create one, here are a few tips to bear in mind in order to create a sustainable one:
  1. Eat Right for your body type: Knowing your body and the areas where you store fat easily should guide you in making the right food choices. For example, if you are overall slender, your body may do well on a diet that incorporates healthy fats, which may decrease the risk of cardiovascular problems, whereas if you tend to have a pear shape (bigger hips and thighs), you may want to watch your fat intake altogether.
  2. Set Achievable Goals: A lot of us are moved by sight, so if for example a persons main reason for creating a healthy diet plan is to lose weight, he/she would most likely give up on the plan if no result is seen after a month or two. Set achievable goals, our bodies respond differently, so get to know yours.
  3. Slowly introduce your body to the new plan: Whether your diet plan includes incorporating large volumes of vegetables, or decreasing your intake of red meat, you need to wean yourself off and slowly introduce your body to the new diet. If you have been eating red meat all your life, cutting off suddenly may leave your body feeling deprived. Start by reducing the quantity and number of days you have such foods in the week and then slowly progress to doing without them.
  4. Bear in mind the availability of foods in your area: I see many people do this, especially here in Nigeria. if your new diet plan consists of quinoa, kale and blueberries, I am sorry but you may find a hard time keeping to such a plan as there are certain food items that are not readily available in Nigeria. It would be more realistic and attainable if you work with food that is readily available in your area, even if this means taking a trip down to your nearest market or supermarket to find out what healthy food options you can readily get and then planning your diet accordingly. 
  5. Learn Quick Cooking Tips: Many people tend to have "no time to cook" as their number one excuse for not maintaining a healthy diet. The good news is that there are quick meals one can learn, so do yourself a favor and learn some.
Lastly, try to keep a balanced diet. How have you maintained your diet plan? Kindly share with us.

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