How to love food AND lose weight

  • Tracy
  • 24/02/2014 7:37 pm
  • Diet

I deliberately avoided writing this blog early in the New Year, as that time of year is always flooded with fad diets and the usual ‘New  Year, New  You’ malarkey. Now things have calmed down a bit and we’re all back to our regular routines, I thought I’d post a few ideas that might help anyone who has ‘fallen off the wagon’ and reverted to old eating habits (let’s face it – it’s so easily done in!)
couple eating

As someone with a fairly extreme obsession with food, I find myself thinking about my next meal several times per day. It may have something to do with the job I do, but actually it’s been that way for as long as I can remember, long before re-focusing my career towards my food passion.

So given this extreme love of food you might expect me to be carrying a few extra pounds – as indeed I was until recently. But thankfully, despite several failed attempts, I’ve recently been able to shift the extra pounds and return to my preferred weight and dress size.

The secret to my success came down to some careful consideration of what would be the easiest way for ME to lose weight – taking into account my lifestyle, my enormous love of food and my unwillingness to deprive myself of the unhealthy things that I love – namely wine, cheese and chocolate!

Before I start discussing how best to lose weight, I just want to add that I don’t think people should feel pressured by society into losing weight.  As long as you are happy and healthy as you are, it’s absolutely fine to be big and I absolutely love anyone who doesn’t feel compelled to look like a stick insect just because the fashion industry implies they should.  For me, it’s all about being comfortable, confident and with enough energy and good health to carry out your daily tasks without struggling.  If you achieve that then it doesn’t matter whether you wear a size 10 or a size 20.

Voluptuous and happy!

Voluptuous and happy!
Photo courtesy of http://ethnicpreppy.blogspot.co.uk

When people want to lose weight and don’t feel able to – that’s when I want to help.  So, if you share my love of food and want to have your cake and lose weight, one of my key aims for YOU FOOD is to help you to find the right information to enable you to eat sensibly, whilst also treating yourself to your favourite foods every now and again.

So, to help you to find that balance between loving food and keeping trim, here are some of my favourite weight management options…

‘Eat less, move more diets’

It does exactly what it says on the tin – if you burn off more than you put in you will lose weight. It’s often the preferred option for lots of men, as it’s based on scientific and mathematical principles – and if you stick to it, it works.  However, it is now proven that not all calories are the same.  Some sources of calories are harder to burn off than others, and the mix of those calorie sources determines whether you burn them or store them.

You can either moderate your own eating and increase the amount of exercise you do, or you can follow a guided plan such as www.weightwatchers.co.uk and www.slimmingworld.com

Calorie calculatingThe trouble with these plans are that they  can be time consuming – they work well if you are determined to put the effort in, but frankly, I can’t be bothered with monitoring my points or calories and keeping score all day. For me, it just takes the enjoyment out of food and life in general.  It also means that you can end up eating a load of processed rubbish, because so called ‘diet’ food has the information you need to keep track of your points on the packets rather than measuring and weighing natural ingredients.  (Actually if you use natural ingredients and cut out processed food altogether you will probably find that you lose weight naturally … but that’s a blog for another time).

Low-carb or low protein? 

These diets are good for people with a particular preference to a certain type of food.  For example if you are vegetarian, then choosing a diet focuses on vegetables and carbohydrates naturally makes sense, or if you are a meat or fish lover then going for high protein and low carbs would be more sensible.

The Low Carb Food PyramidI prefer the Low-Carb diet option – which we’ve covered in detail before, so you can read more about that here.

Having said that, I do also love pasta (and let’s face it’s an easy, popular, family favourite) so when I need a pasta fix I simply try to minimise the amount of protein I have with it – a bit like the theory behind the Slimming World diet without all the hassle.

There’s also Low GI diet – which I am currently researching more about, so in the meantime you can find out more by clicking here.  The glycemic index or glycaemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly blood glucose levels (i.e. blood sugar) rise after eating a particular type of food. Glucose (the defining standard) has a glycemic index of 100. The effects that different foods have on blood glucose levels vary considerably. The glycemic index estimates how much each gram of available carbohydrate (total carbohydrate minus fiber) in a food raises a person’s blood glucose level following consumption of the food, relative to consumption of pure glucose.  So in effect, Low GI is similar to low carb, as glucose is a carbohydrate, but it takes the science a step further by not just counting carbohydrate calories, but examining how they are absorbed into the blood from different food types.

Part-time dieting

The 5:2 diet

The 5:2 diet

The 5:2 Diet  is something that lots of people are raving about now and finding very effective – mainly because you only need ‘diet’ for 2 days each week.

Dieting only two days a week? Too good to be true you might think, however it’s a plan that has enabled people with busy lifestyles to make easy yet very effective stress-free changes to their eating. The main thing to remember with the 5:2 diet is that it requires very little planning and brain power. This can often be the off-putting thing with diets that require you to be constantly thinking ahead and pre-planning your meals every day of the week.

Your social life can often go out the window, as meals out and trips to the pub just rack up the calorie count – however these are things you can still do (within reason) on your non fast days. It may sound drastic, but it won’t be long before you find yourself rather enjoying the cleansing aspect of a 500 calorie fast day.

Fast-results diets

Weight lossWhilst in general, I wouldn’t recommend fast-acting diets – not least because you can find yourself feeling ill and lacking in energy, but also because they aren’t sustainable and you’re very likely to put the weight you’ve lost … and more … back on when you stop them.  However, there are occasions that occur unexpectedly that make you want to look good fast.  If that’s the case then I’d say it’s okay to try a quick fix – providing you listen to your body.  So if you start to feel unwell, then make sure you don’t ignore the feeling and find something nutritious, quickly, rather than giving up and reaching for the nearest fast fuel option.  Most importantly, you should also remember to have a continuation plan – such as another diet to move on to after your initial burst, so that you hang on to all your hard work instead of returning to your old habits.

Dukan diet weight loss

Dukan diet weight loss

The Dukan Diet claims it’s the ideal diet for people who want to lose weight quickly but can’t be bothered with counting calories – while you can lose weight quickly, it is a very strict diet, but it is easy to follow. Apart from keeping to low-fat, low-salt and high-protein foods, there’s no restriction on how much you can eat during your first two weeks.

There seems to have been a very high trend of people regaining all of the weight they’ve lost – 48% regained the weight within a year and 64% within two years, so while it may be a good plan for quick results, as I said before it might not be the best for those who want a permanent lifestyle change to keep weight off for good – and have time to do it properly in the first place.

Finding the time to diet

What I find with most health eating plans though, is that if you lead a busy lifestyle it’s very hard to find the right mix of food to fill you up, without piling on the weight – so reaching for fast fuel solutions is often where your best laid plans fall to pieces.  This frequently leads to people to resorting to junk food, heavily processed food or (in my case) simply skipping meals in the day and then gorging on something heavy in the evening.

Body By Vi shakes

Body By Vi shakes

For this reason, the answer for me was a healthy version of fast food – which actually comes in the form of a meal replacement shake.  Now, I previously never liked the idea of meal replacement shakes (it naturally goes against the grain to replace a meal with anything other than something delicious) but there is now a shake on the market that’s not only really tasty, but also very effective and full of plenty of all important nutrients to keep your body well-balanced and energised.  So I figured that if I was eating my favourite, most delicious ‘real’ food the rest of the time, then surely a tasty nutritious shake was better than skipping meals, in order to avoid reaching for something fast and unhealthy instead. Read our BodyByVi article here.

For many people this may not be the right solution, so what I’d really recommend more than anything is to simply do your research around the different diet options out there – then think really hard about which might be the most realistic plan to suit your personal tastes and circumstances.  Think about what your biggest downfall might be, and what best fits with your lifestyle.  If you love something that’s really bad for you, don’t try to go without it altogether, either keep it in moderation or trying cutting out something else that you can easily live without.

For example you could try to find a diet that allows one of your favourite foods to feature either in a small part; or in a very large part – so for me that would be fish, vegetables and cheese (not necessarily all together I hasten to add).

Progress Bakery, Hazlemere, cakes 2

If you love cakes and pastries, which are high in starchy carbs and sugar, then don’t ban them altogether as you are bound to falter – but perhaps reduce the amount of bread, potatoes and pasta that you eat to compensate … it needn’t be all three, but one or two would be a good start.  Or you might decide to reduce the amount of meat or cheese you eat in favour of a low-fat / low-protein vegetarian diet – but make sure you are getting your carbs instead, otherwise you will give in to hunger pangs and reach for protein again.

Be realistic and allow yourself a gradual progression towards cutting down a bit, getting used to that level of intake, then cutting down a bit more.

Again it’s not always as easy as it sounds, so if you keep trying, and failing then I really would recommend a properly trained and experienced professional.

Here are a couple I would personally recommend, as they’ve not only undergone their own amazing transformations, and have professional qualifications to support what they do, but they’ve also helped plenty of other people to lose the weight too.

Walking for Weight Loss

Sarah Liveing’s journey

– Sarah Liveing – offers a Walking for Weight Loss programme which combines exercise and professional counselling, while you walk with her … what brilliance I say!  Booking personally-paced walks makes you more likely to achieve the correct level of exercise (and it’s cheaper than seeing a personal trainer at the gym).

Plus you get a LOT of personally tailored healthy eating and diet advice while you are walking.  In fact, we’re running a special feature on Sarah’s service next month, but in the meantime you can find out more at:  walkingforweightloss.co.uk

Laura de la Harpe

Laura de la Harpe

– Laura De La Harpe of Nutritional Benefits delivers a programme based on achieving the right metabolic balance for your own personal circumstances.  It’s based around eating three nutritious meals per day, using the right foods and following a few basic rules to establish a simple food regime that works.  Find out more at: nutritionalbenefits.co.uk

 

 

At the end of the day – I just want people to enjoy food – and have a happy and healthy relationship with it, because it is such a huge part of our everyday life … and if you go around feeling guilty about what you shouldn’t have eaten then you’re not going to be keen to check out some of the fabulous restaurants and cafes that we’re currently busy discovering in South Bucks and Berkshire.  (More on restaurants with healthy / diet friendly menus options soon.)








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