We’re not supposed to say diet anymore. Slap my wrist. You know what I mean, though – you’ve done all your research, written your shopping list, bought all the stuff, prepped what you can and been healthy for a good two days before something terrible happens.
I’m not overweight, but only because I have to constantly police my diet. Is it because I order takeaway every night? Keep candy and ice cream in the fridge? Snack constantly?
Well, yes, a bit, but these aren’t my particular issue. I eat a varied and pretty healthy-ish diet and drink plenty of water. I never touch fizzy drinks (the only liquids I like to drink are water, coffee and wine). My issue is portion size.
I also hate denying myself, so I try to identify the triggers that’ll make me binge more, and remove them. I’m on the 5:2 diet so far and it’s going well – I have no issue with fast days, I just have to keep the feast days in check.
Ooo, if you’re currently on a healthy eating plan and getting NOWHERE this post may be of use to you.
I’ve managed to compile a little list of things that ruin my diet. I hope they’re general enough to be of some use to anyone else hoping to drop a couple of pounds, or that has the same issue with portion control I do:
1. Getting hungry
This is kind of a contradiction for me at the moment since on my fast days, of course I’m hungry, BUT since I know I can eat whatever I want (within reason, unfortunately) the next day, I manage fine. The issue is when I’m just trying to be generally healthier – a common weight loss tip is not to eat after 6pm, but if I get hungry it’s a nightmare. I end up stalking around the kitchen at midnight like some kind of crazed psychopath, looking for sustenance in the form of chips, hummus, chocolate. Anything. EVERYTHING.
2. Not sleeping
Seriously. I know this is a clichéd tip about your body resting and using fat and yada yada yada BUT my take on this tip is slightly less technical than that: if you’re sleeping, you’re not eating. Unless you’re a sleep eater, in which case condolences my friend.
3. Depriving yourself of pigging out
What can you eat a tonne of and not derail your diet? If like me, you’re a pig at heart that loves to be full to the brim, foods like melon and popcorn are great. Yeah, celery’s a traditional competitor in this event, but whilst I like it, it just doesn’t fill me up. Cherry tomatoes are good too, and if you’re especially skilled nice cream made from frozen bananas.
Slow. The. Heck. Down. This tip is for me more than you. Growing up with three brothers makes eating a speed sport. The only issue is, now by the time my brain registers I’m full, I’m actually way too full, and spend the next hour complaining that I’m bloated. Before inevitably going to the fridge and grabbing something else.
5. Making too much
Whenever I make lasagne I make it in a dish that could comfortably feed four people. Yeah me and Dave manage to demolish the lot (sometimes we’ll have one small portion leftover, but only because we’ve also eaten bread with our meal). And don’t think that Dave eats more than me – we’re 50/50 (and I’m faster). The other day I went to Ikea and bought a smaller dish. I won’t say I’m excited to try it out, but my overstretched waistband is.
6. Clearing your plate
Yes yes, your mum told you to clear your plate (kids in Africa would love your leftovers), but if you’re full LEAVE IT. You could even split your portion in two, eat one, wait ten minutes then either eat the other or put it in the fridge for tomorrow. Diet friendly AND frugal. Yay me.
7. Fat-free stuff
There are too many lines of reduced fat foods to count now. STAY AWAY. Not only are they full of crap (Muller Light yoghurts may have less than 100 calories, but they also contain gelatine – crushed up cow’s feet – because if all the fat’s removed the yoghurt can’t set properly.
Besides, fat adds flavour – they’ll use sugar and salt to enhance the taste instead.
Products that are higher in fat will also keep you full longer. If you’re a ‘skinny latte’ type person because you’re calorie counting, it’s worth trying a full-fat one (the calorie difference is less than you’d think) – it may keep you fuller for longer and you might not have that chocolate bar after lunch.
Not the actual alcohol itself – I drink prosecco which is pretty low calorie – in fact, I think that a glass of wine on an evening is a much healthier reward than a chocolate bar. The issue is the poor food decisions it leads too. I mean, the midnight cheese toasties are one thing (you need something to soak up the booze), but chances are your food choices for the next day will be severely compromised. And by this I mean all you will want is:
All of ‘em
BTW I did that text mask myself (I’m dead proud), using this tutorial.
9. Eating out
I consider my lack of a sweet tooth a blessing – starters in a restaurant are generally less calorific than desserts (just having one course isn’t really a thing for me…). TBH I don’t tend to worry too much about being healthy when I’m eating out. It’s a once-monthly occurrence for us, so I go all out. I have started cutting out those unnecessary extra portions of chips though.
10. Peer pressure
Ooo people sure do get judge-y if you say you’re slimming. They tell you don’t need to, or that you’re not being healthy, or indeed, that they’re worried about you. A lot of the time it’s just a reflection of their own insecurities. If you do worry you’ll accidentally diet too much and end up looking like a gaunt bobble-head, ask a non-judgmental friend to tell you if you’re going too far. For most of us, though, every single pound will be a struggle to shift, so by the time you’re at your goal weight you’ll be ready to eat 7 square meals of ice cream a day.
Ugh. If only my body would realise that it’s actually NOT ideal to be as wide as I am tall (5’8). I curse my parents for feeling me healthy food as a child so I could eat of much of it as I wanted.