Tag Archives: feel good

Love your holiday and still watch your weight!

So, its holiday time again. I love summer holidays, but they can be a mare when it comes to managing my weight. And spending hours in shorts and a swimsuit isn’t good for my mood if I feel I’m bigger than I want to be. But at the same time, a holiday is not a holiday if I cant enjoy myself and food and drink is such a massive part of that. Some people even lose weight on holiday! So here are my top tips for having a great holiday and still watching your weight.


1. Got a smart phone, get an app!
My last holiday was in Portugal. So before I went I bought a translation app that could work without WiFi or 3G. I put in a load of phrases to be translated into Portuguese to help me ask for my food how I want it. So phrases like ‘Please cook in as little oil as possible’ or ‘Please do not put cheese on top’ made it really easy to order brilliant food.

2. I’ll manage the day so I can enjoy the evening….
Having lovely meals out and a fair few glasses of red wines is all part of a holiday for me. So I manage my breakfasts and lunches then I don’t worry about the evening. I took some sugar free muesli with me which I had with fruit for breakfast. I booked self catering so I could make my own lunch. When I’m not self catering I’ll buy salad stuff each day. Drink lots of water during the day and you’ll be set up nicely to enjoy your evening out.

3. Don’t compare….
Bad habit on holiday No 1. Looking at other women and thinking how much slimmer they are then me. The reality is always that some are, some aren’t. And so what?

What’s important is that we all feel good about ourselves and learn to love ourselves as we are. Remember no one else can be you. So what if they are a different size or shape?

4. When eating out still make sensible choices….
Some things are better to chose when eating out and managing your weight. Click here for a guide.

I’m a real pudding girl and holidays are no exception. In Portugal often I’d go to the ice cream stall and choose some fresh fruit covered in dark chocolate. Lovely. And I used the little freezer compartment in the fridge in our room to freeze some fruit to eat in the afternoons rather than ice-lollies. And of course I kept a nice stocked fruit bowl in our room.

 

Even with the most rubbish equipment you can still cook your own

5. Beware the all you can eat buffet….
The truth is that going all-inclusive or to all you can eat buffets everyday on holiday is going to make it really hard to manage your weight. So if you are all inclusive or going to all you can eat buffets, still try to watch what you eat and still bring your own more healthy alternatives. Use a small plate, only put small amounts on your plate at a time, take a break between going back to fill up your plate, and drink lots of water. Don’t eat just because the food is there. 

 

6. Stay active….
Even if you are going for a total chill-out holiday by the pool, its still possible to keep up some activity. Swim as much as you can and walk everywhere rather than getting lifts or a bus; in the sun its lovely and there’s nothing nicer than walking home in the sunset after a great meal and evening out.

If you can and its your kind of thing, go dancing to dance off your evening meal. And if your on holiday with the right person then remember that getting active in the bedroom uses up lots of calories; even more when its hot!!

7. Be grateful for all you eat and drink…
I believe that how we feel about things effects how our body responds. I’m convinced my body deals with food better when I feel good & not worried about what I’ve eaten. So be grateful for everything you eat or drink and for your brilliant holiday. Before you eat think about how good the food you’ll have is for you. Be determined to enjoy everything you eat and drink and to have a brilliant holiday.

x

Staying positive when life is crap

Earlier this week I have had a major setback in my life. The week then seemed to just go from bad to worse. I didn’t get a job I wanted, I had a horrendous expereince travelling, I put on weight even though I’m on a very low calorie diet. I’ve started worrying about money and haven’t slept very well. I even managed to get bitten by something when I was in a café and have been in pain since. And, all of this has come after a very difficult few moths following a house fire. But despite all this, I am feeling OK. Actually I’m feeling even more than OK and I’m looking forward to next week. Because even when life is really really crap it is possible to try and make yourself feel a little bit better.

For me, feeling good about life and me is completely linked to my ability to manage my weight. If I feel rubbish then I am less likely to make good decisions about food because I can feel I’m not worth it. I’m more likely to think I should ‘treat’ myself with calorific food or a real blow-out. Plus I tend to stay in more and have less energy. And that again makes me want to eat more sugary food which, of course, is a vicious cycle because it actually makes me more sluggish. Keeping weight off is as much about how we feel as it is about the food we eat.

So how can you feel better when things are really hard? Well here’s my top 10 tips.

1. Allow yourself to feel sad or down. Have quiet ‘me’ time if that’s what you want, cry and get it out. But after you have, tell yourself its time to change how you feel.

2. Do it gradually. Don’t expect to feel positive overnight. Go for small steps and know each time you feel a bit better you are moving forward.

3. Smile and think of nice things, no matter how small or insignificant to help you feel better. Last thing at night is a great time.

4. Make a list of all the things that are good in your life, no matter how small. When you feel down get out your list. Keep adding to it.

5. If your initial response to a difficult situation is ‘chocolate’ or ‘take away’ or similar, just stop and think before you eat it. Think about it they will probably actually will make you feel worse. Instead, eat good foods, like blueberries, that make you feel fantastic.

6. Treat yourself and be proactive. If you know you are facing a tough situation plan something nice to do afterwards or to have the support you need ready in place. Treats don’t have to cost and don’t have to involve food. Try a lovely long bubble bath or a walk, or a great bunch of flowers. Remember taking exercise releases hormones that make us feel better too.

7. Think about the things you love in life and put them around you. Put on some upbeat music or watch a film you love that always makes you smile. Looking at art or images that you like produces brain hormones which make you feel happier. So really look at pictures you have on the wall or at photos of people or places in your life. Even have a scrap book of images you love to look at when times are tough.

8. If something goes the wrong way for you try not to be bitter and angry. As hard as this can be, when we are, it is generally only us that suffers. Instead, try to look at situations in a different way. Do a ‘that feels better exercise’. Write down what you are feeling about the situation and then do a tick, x or ? at the end of each statement to see if it makes you feel worse, neutral or better. As you start to find ideas that make you feel better keep going. Smile and you will find that you soon start to feel a little better.

9. Have an action plan for how you will move forward. Steps can be very small and achievable and this will help you not feel ‘stuck’.

10. Ask for help; it’s not a failure, in fact it shows strength. Ask your friends, family and colleagues, and seek professional help if this is what you need.

Lastly, remember there are always good things that happen even in the midst of rubbish if you look for them. A few months someone stole my husband’s golf clubs. I said before we buy some new ones let’s ask people on Freecycle if they have any they need to get rid of. So a few weeks ago I posted the request. No response initially, but this week we got an email offering us a set that were even better than the ones that were nicked. He’s been on the driving range this morning and it’s put a big smile on his face. No matter how rubbish some things can be, remember there are always nice, good people in the world.

Have a great week. Peg xx

Staying motivated when dieting

It’s sad but true that many people fall off the new year diet wagon by 14thJanuary. So if you are on a new year diet, or trying to keep weight off, and you are finding it hard to stay motivated, read on. Staying motivated can be a challenge but it is possible. So here are some tips to help you keep motivated and keep on track with your new year diet.

Courtesy of Will Merydith

  1. If you do go off course don’t give up or think that means you cannot diet. Just accept you wobbled a bit and decide to get back on track from this very moment. Don’t beat yourself up – instead concentrate your energy on keeping on with the diet in future.
  2. Remember that most people don’t lose the weight they put on each Christmas. So year on year it just piles on. So its important if you want to lose the weight to try and shift it right away.
  3. Have you lost any weight or bulk at all in the first two weeks? Smile and feel positive as you think about even the smallest amount that you might have lost.
  4. Write down all the reasons why you went on the diet in the first place. Keep this list to hand and add new ones as you think about them. When you are funding it hard look back at the list.
  5. Think about all the food on your diet that you do love. Smile as you think about them and the fact that you can eat them on your diet. 
  6. Remember a diet is not for ever. Take it one small step at a time. You don’t have to conjure up motivation for the rest of your diet – just the next few hours or day.
  7. Join in with group activities, go to classes, call on your friends, do a hypnosis CD, download an app to help you monitor your weight and food. Take inspiration from others. That’s what Fiona who regularly contributes to my Facebook page does; she recomends Dietgirl. Do anything that will help you keep on track. 
  8. Visualise your end goal – how you will look when you reach your target weight. Get out photos of you the size you want to be or get a picture of someone else and put your head on it so you have a positive image to concentrate on. Make this your phone home screen or computer desktop and smile and feel positive everytime you look at it.
  9. Up your exercise – even little things like doing  a short 10 minute walk or a quick swim can make all the difference. Exercise makes you feel better and helps to supress appetite. And obviously it burns off calories too!
  10. Lastly – if you are finding the diet you have chosen really hard work, have a good think about whether it’s the right diet for you. If you want some hints about this have a look at my last blog post.

So good luck. And keep us updated about how you are doing or sharing any other motivation tips you have.
Love your body and love yourself.

Peg x

How to survive Xmas Tip no 5 – Dont panic!!

Peg Alexander worried about XmasCan you have a Lite Christmas? Can you enjoy yourself this festive season and not become the Christmas pudding? Of  course you can; just follow my 5 Golden Rules of Christmas.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 5:
Don’t panic! You always have January to deal with any extra festive weight.

Watch the video about this Golden Rule here.

Even if you follow all these tips you may still end up putting on SOME extra weight. It’s pretty inevitable if you eat or drink more than usual, you eat different foods and do less exercise. So don’t beat yourself up or give yourself a hard time; accept it’s inevitable and decide that you will deal with it in January. BUT MAKE SURE YOU DO! Research suggests that most people don’t lose the weight they gain over Christmas – and year on year that could add up.

From just cutting things out through to a full-on diet
For some people, all they will need to do to get back to normal is to cut out the extras they’ve been having – such as cakes, chocolates, take-aways or even alcohol – for a few weeks.

Other people may need to go a bit further and cut out foods like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice for a few weeks. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. A bolognaise sauce or a chilli can be just as good on a bed of salad leaves as on pasta or rice. Just swapping your morning toast for a bowl of porridge may be easier than you think, and it will keep you feeling fuller for longer. If you do have carbs such as bread, pasta or rice, always keep them brown as wholegrains don’t turn to fat in the same way as refined carbs.

You may decide you need to go on a formal diet. Research shows that people who follow a recognised programme where they are part of a group or structured programme do better than those who try to go it alone. Remember there are loads of different diets and different ones suit different people. So think about the diet you choose carefully and whether it is one that will suit you. If you try one and it’s not for you, look at others rather than totally just giving up; there’s bound to be one that suits you.

Go to rule no 4 -Dont slump – find ways to be active

Surviving Christmas & manage your weight – Rule no 3!

Peg Alexander worried about XmasCan you have a Lite Christmas? Can you enjoy yourself this festive season and not become the Christmas pudding? Of  course you can; just follow my 5 Golden Rules of Christmas.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 3:
Plan, plan, plan. Plan all your meals and food throughout the festive season, including the days after Christmas. Balance sugary, fatty high calorie food and drink with other low fat, high protein, high fibre fat burning meals.

Watch the video about this Golden Rule here.

Do a meal plan for the whole festive season, including after Christmas. Think about your meals across a day and week so that if you know you’ll be at parties and/or eating out and eating high-calorie, sugary, or fatty food you can balance these against other meals which are fat-burning and slow-release. You can download a Festive Season Meal Planner here.

Remember that not all calories are equal. Some foods turn to fat more quickly than others (such as refined, fatty, sugary and many processed foods) and should be avoided. But others, like low GI foods and fat-burning foods keep you feeling fuller for longer, help boost your metabolism or take more energy to digest. So you need to fill up with these foods and plan meals that include:

  • Loads of fruit and vegetables – try to fill over half your plate with vegetables.
  • Lean protein – lean meat or veggie alternatives such as soya, quorn, pulses and nuts.
  • High-fibre – go for brown over white. Avoid all refined carbs such as white pasta, rice, flour, bread etc and instead choose brown pasta, rice, bread etc. Use oats and oatmeal in food where you can – it’s often easy to swap flour for oatmeal.
  • Low-fat dairy – such as skimmed milk or fat-free yoghurt.
  • Use as little fat as you can – choose virgin olive or coconut oil when you need oil.

Planning your meals will also mean you’re less likely to end up having take-aways. It’s easy to think they are quicker, cheaper and easier, but in fact I don’t think they are any of those things. They are also more likely to make you put on weight. So when you plan your meals, plan a number of really quick easy meals for the times you can’t be bothered – such as stir-fry, pasta or quick rice dishes like chilli. Another good hint is to make extra when you do cook and freeze it, so all you need to do is pop into the microwave.

Manage your sugar rushes
Remember that when you have a lot of sugar it brings on sugar rushes which means you are more likely to crave more sugary food. So on Boxing Day and the days after Christmas, plan to eat as much slow-release Low GI and fat-burning food as possible. This will help you manage your blood sugar and help to reduce sugar cravings. Get Low GI and Fat Burning foods here.

Go to rule no 2 – Christmas is a social time.

How to survive Christmas and keep weight off! Rule No 1.

Peg Alexander worried about XmasAre you dreaming of a Lite Christmas? How not to be the Christmas pudding!

Christmas is the hardest time of year for many when it comes to watching your weight or keeping weight off. And if you are dieting you may as well forget it! Putting it bluntly, many people will put on weight over the festive season (studies suggest an average of around 4lb with some saying up to 10lb!). So is it possible to still have a brilliant Christmas and New Year without becoming the Christmas pudding yourself? Can you indulge without the budge?

Of course it is!!!!
So how do you make sure you don’t become the Christmas pudding but don’t feel like you are missing out on everything? I recommend following my Five Golden Rules of Christmas….

You can hear a lighthearted short radio interview about the Five Golden Rules by clicking here.
You can also check out a more factual interview by clicking here.

So what are the Five Golden Rules of Christmas?

Well over the next few days I’ll be sharing a Golden Rule each day….. in writing and on video. So here goes.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 1:
Christmas dinner is not the problem – it’s all the parties, events, mince pies, chocolates, alcohol and extras that happen during the festive season.

Click here to watch the video.

In the weeks running up to Christmas and between Christmas and New Year it’s party time! But that means nibbles, buffet food, mince pies, cakes, sweets and chocolates – and loads of extra alcohol.

So you have to think about how are you going to deal with this. Staying at home is not an option. Instead work out which of these things you can’t do without, and then make deals with yourself about what – and how much – you’ll have. So for example I’m not bothered about crisps or buffet food but I find it hard to resist chocolate and cake. So I’ll allow myself one or two per party and not eat the stuff I don’t really want just because it’s there. And when I do have cakes and chocs, I really enjoy them!! And fill up with low fat food before you go to parties so you are less tempted to pick.

Are mince pies a problem for you?
If so, accept it and work round it. Many shop-bought mince pies have high levels of sugar and fat. Processed food is more likely to turn into fat on you than home-made. So if you love mince pies, make your own and take them with you to parties. Click here for a quick and scrummy no fat or sugar added recipe. Then you can still have them – but manage your weight. You might make yourself popular with your host as well!

You really need to watch alcohol intake
Alcohol represents empty calories. It has no nutritional value at all but contains plenty of calories. It’s very easy to drink too much over the festive period. So monitor how much you are drinking and think of ways to cut down. Alternate between alcohol and soft drinks – just watch out how much sugar there is in some fruit drinks.

Think about what else you will be eating
Try to fill up at breakfast with a bowl of home-cooked porridge with fruit and nuts (avoiding quick cooking oats). If you go to a lunch or tea-time party and there are loads of snacks but you know you’ll probably end up going out to eat that night, then avoid the snacks. And when you go out to eat, think carefully about what you choose. Click here to some advice about what to choose.

Don’t be scared to ask for your own version of the Christmas menu
If you go to a party with a set menu think carefully about what you choose, by using the eating-out guide. Even if you have to chose from a set Christmas menu don’t be afraid to ask for your meal to be adapted so its lower-fat. Choose a low fat option for your starter and pudding (or at least one of them, such as salad without dressing to start or fruit for pudding).

On average, people consume 4000 calories on Christmas day
On Christmas day we drink lots and eat endless snacks, sweets – plus the big dinner. Just a few small chocolates add up – there are between 40 and 60 calories in many individual chocolates, so keep a count of how many you munch; it’s just too easy to pop them in your mouth without thinking. I keep them out of reach, for example in a cupboard. That way you have to think about everyone single one you have.

Make your Christmas meal that bit kinder too
It will always help if think about the calories of your Christmas dinner and to try and reduce the impact of your Christmas meal. Some handy tips for stuffing the turkey, not you, include…..

  • Turkey is a fat-burning food. Avoid the skin and fill up your plate with turkey breast and veggies.
  • If you are vegetarian think about a low-fat alternative, such as quorn or soya. If you have nut roast, watch how much butter you put in and use wholemeal bread crumbs.
  • Think about mixing roast potatoes with lower GI boiled new potatoes or sweet potatoes. You can roast potatoes using low-fat spray. Always avoid potatoes cooked in goose fat.
  • Don’t put butter on your veggies even if everyone else is having them.
  • Cook some extra stuffing outside of the turkey so it’s not soaked with turkey fat.
  • Avoid sausage stuffing and also cut back on the sausages and pigs in blankets.
  • Make some low-fat gravy for yourself. Or if you have gravy made from the turkey juice, reduce the fat by putting it in the fridge and removing the fat.
  • Make your Christmas pudding lower fat – avoid beef suet and use extra fruit instead.
  • Think about the sauces you have on your pudding. Can you swap your normal custard for low-fat? Try yogurt rather than cream or ice-cream or only a small amount of brandy butter or even brandy custard.

And finally – remember just because there are certain foods and drinks around, it doesn’t mean you have to consume them!

Keep checking to see the other five Golden Rules.

Love mince pies? Then make your own!

mince pie muffins cookedOne of the many lovely things about Christmas is mince pies. They are scrummy. And very plentiful. From now on there may well be mince pies at meetings, at gatherings, when you go for a cup of tea or coffee at a friends. But sadly, many will be very fattening and will turn to fat on you! It really is the case that one mince pie could hurt. Indeed, you may need to walk about 4 miles to walk off just one mince pie! So if you are watching your weight then you need to think carefully about how many you can eat this festive season.

Many mince pies will be shop bought, and most shop bought goods come with more calories which turn more quickly to fat than home-made or unprocessed food. But as we know Christmas is not a time to deny yourself everything. So here is my solution. If you love mince pies, make your own, and take them to places where you know there will be.

This is just one suggestion from my new 5 Golden Rules of Christmas which I’ll be sending out in coming days. In the meantime, here is a lovely, quick, easy and lower fat/sugar free mince pie recipe.

So enjoy!

Low fat and sugar mince pies

For the mincemeat:
500g apples (use cooking apples if you can)
900g mixed dried fruit
3 tsp mixed spice
600ml cider
2 tbsp brandy, whisky or rum.

For the pastry:
1 packets of filo pastry sheets

 

To make the mincemeat:

mincemeat1. Grate the apple and put into a pan with the mixed dried fruit. Add the mixed spice and cider and stir well.

2. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid has almost gone and the mixture is soft and pulpy.

3. Stir in the brandy, whisky or rum and leave to cool.

 

To make into mince pies:
You can either use a small muffin tray to make open pies or you can make parcels.

Using a muffin tray:

mince pie muffin with filo pastry1. Spray with some fry light.

2. Cut the filo pastry into squares. Then use 2 or 3 squares depending on the size of your muffin cases. Place the first square over a cup and mould. Then take the second and put at an angle to the first and again mould. Do the same with any third sheet.

3. Bake at gas mark 4 or 180c for 10 mins.

4. Spoon in the mincemeat.

5. Bake for a further 12 to 15 minutes. Keep checking to see when they are ready. If your muffin tin is large you may need to bake for a further 5 minutes.

 

To make parcels:

mincepie parcel uncooked1. Spray a non stick baking sheet with fry-light

2. Use 2 or 3 squares of file depending on how thick you would like your pastry.

3. Place a couple of spoonfuls of mincemeat in the centre of the square.

4. Bundle up into a nice parcel.

5. Bake at gas mark 3½ or 150c until the tops are brown but the bottoms of the parcels are also cooked. I baked them for around 20 minutes; larger parcels may need more time to bake the bottoms.

Hypno Gastric Band – does it make you lose weight?

 

As readers of my blog will know, although I keep weight off, I still have a small amount of weight I would like to lose; between half and a stone or around 10lb to be precise. This would mean I would be a small size 10 rather than the big size 10/small 12 I have been for the last year or two. I know I can go on a very low calorie diet and lose it and get down to size 8, but I keep putting this amount on again afterwards; it seems this size is just where my body naturally wants to stay. I eat an incredibly healthy diet and am pretty active but I have real trouble keeping to small portions and I eat huge amounts. I also want to be able to eat out a bit more than I do at the moment so when I read that Hypno Gastric Bands have an 80% success rate I decided I had to give it a go! Will a Hypno Gastric Band work?

They aren’t cheap and some hypnotherapists were advertising Hypno Gastric Bands at around £300. But when I received an offer of 3 sessions for £80 it seemed the signal it was time to give it a go.

Hypnosis works for me….
I know I am susceptible to hypnosis. I gave up smoking with hypnosis and I have used it since when I am very stressed about my weight or life. So I was really excited about it and convinced it would work for me. I set off for the first session full of anticipation looking forward to the hypnotist telling me my stomach had been made smaller and I would want to eat a lot less. I thought it would be that easy. Instead, at the first session the hypnotist was quite challenging to me and I wasn’t expecting that! One thing he challenged me about was a need to use scales. As you may know I don’t agree with using scales as the main way to check how you are getting on, rather I prefer judging by my clothes. But he told me I had to use the scales so I could lose my fear of them. He also challenged me about my saying I like eating cakes and chocolate too much and how I find it hard to control myself sometimes around cake. His view – it’s as easy as just deciding so to cut them out. Hmmm.  We finally did he hypnosis. I was disappointed – no mention of the gastric band. Just that I would be happier to eat less and want to eat healthily (which I already do!).

But being a compliant sort of person I did decide to weight myself. The next day I weighed in at 147lb.

Session 2 a week later was a bit easier, helped somewhat by the fact that despite me having been to a house party weekend abroad I had lost 3lb! The session was shorter and we got down to the hypnosis more quickly. Similar stuff to the week before. Again I was left feeling slightly miffed my ‘gastric band’ hadn’t been fitted and it was the same stuff I’ve heard a lot before in hypnosis.

Session 3 and I was on a role. Again I’d lost weight – I’d lost 0.6lb despite having eaten out a couple of time so I thought I was sorted. Clearly my portion sizes had gone down. This time he did ‘fit’ the band. Under hypnosis he took me through the process – from getting on the trolley, through to the operating theatre where he turned the lights off, and then imagining exactly how my stomach was being made smaller. It didn’t seem at all gory though! The hypnosis was quite quick though, I was in and out in 20 minutes. But if it worked I didn’t mind that I felt maybe I needed a bit more time.

So what has happened since?
Well it started off well. I decided I’d weigh myself once a week and the following week I’d lost even more weight and was down to 141.1lb. I was cock-a-hoop to say the least. I was eating more variety of food and the weight was dropping off. And my clothes were feeling looser which I always like.

But then it all went wrong. Another week on and I got on the scales. And …. in the space of a week I had put on over 5lb. Part of the hypnosis was to learn not to panic if I put on weight; to be able to just accept it and then decide to take action the following week. But as we know its not that easy and despite the hypnosis, I was in a bit of a tizz the day I went on the scales.

This is why I don’t like scales. Putting on 5lb of fat in a week with no major change in diet is just not possible, it must be something else (for example I’ve been ill during this time). That’s why I prefer clothes as my guide as they are a more realistic judge.

And how have I got on since?
Well since then I’ve started losing weight again – earlier this week I weighed in at 2.5lb less than 3 days before! But I’m also not giving up on hypnosis as I do think it can work. So to help me top up I’ve downloaded a weight hypnosis book and I’m listening to it once a day if I can. Plus I’m trying some metabolism boosters too and continuing to follow my ‘21 Keys to Keeping Weight Off’ as I know they have helped me stay a size 10. You see, I’ll try anything and am glad for anything that works. This morning the scales have again been kind and I’m back down to 141lb.

Bring it on…..!

Staying motivated when dieting or keeping weight off no 2 – Don’t give up even if you put on weight!

 

In a previous blog I talked about how to stay motivated when you keep weight off or when you are trying to lose weight. Thanks for the comments you sent about this being helpful. In that blog I talked about how you have to concentrate on any positives, even if your weight loss isn’t going to plan. But what do you do if worse than not losing weight, you end up putting it on? Well, that’s what’s happened to me in the last few weeks – I’ve put on weight despite being on a diet – so time for another blog post!

It is hard to stay motivated  …..
There’s no doubt its hard if you are denying yourself and keeping to a diet and then you don’t lose weight or worse put some on. A couple of weeks ago I got on the scales and, horror of horrors, I’d put on about a pound. And I have to be honest and say it’s sent me off-course. Seeing a higher number on the scales bought back the crooked thinking I have about me and weight and I started to catastrophize. I decided that as the diet I was doing ‘obviously wasn’t working’ I may as well give up. Of course, it wasn’t the truth that it wasn’t working as I was losing size, just not weight. But I didn’t see that. I wasn’t concentrating on the positives as I should have been. Old habits returned quickly – I’d been missing porridge for breakfast (not allowed on my diet) so I went straight back to that. Other food came back into my diet pretty quickly. I also went for an impromptu curry one evening, had a couple of cakes at an event one afternoon, and then had puddings every night whilst staying with my in-laws.

We all know it’s just too easy to go back to our normal habits. And what do you think has happened? Well I’ve put on a fair bit of weight in the last couple of weeks; my clothes are telling me this. But I haven’t weighed myself as there is no point in just adding to my misery.

But all is not lost; I’ve not given up…….
So, and I think this is the main point, that sometimes we all fall off the wagon. The point is how do we respond when we do?
I think a lot of the time we think if we have given in once or twice, or even for a couple of weeks, that that is that. It’s all over so we may as well give up on the diet and just go back to old ways. Well ….. WRONG!! Research shows that successful dieters and people who keep weight off don’t do this. When we go off track we accept it, don’t give ourselves a hard time about it. We pick ourselves up quite quickly, dust ourselves down and we just start searching for ways to get back on track.

That’s what I’m doing, and today I am going to try something new to help me eat less! (More of that to come in the future.)

Part of my getting on track involved one last blow out…..
One thing I did decide to do though whilst off the wagon was to allow myself a bit of a blow out and the chance to have some flavours, tastes and foods I don’t normally have. As a calculated decision I decided that having some of these foods on one occasion would help me get my motivation back for the longer term. So last Sunday me and my husband went to the ‘all you can eat international buffet’! Of course I eat loads and came back far too full if the truth be told. But I enjoyed every mouthful and it has helped me prepare for the new method I’ll be trying later today.

I didn’t totally let go though. Here’s some tips I used to still control even at the all you can eat buffet…

1. Quite a lot of the buffet was fried food. Try and avoid food like fried rice, deep fried starters etc. I did have a few prawn crackers and poppadums but kept them to a minimum.

2. Only put a small amount on your plate at a time. You can always go back for more. Use the smallest plate you can find. The puddings section may have smaller ones.

3. Have a break between plates. You may find you don’t want to have as many visits as you first thought you would!

4. Fill up with salads and fruit; most buffets have them. But watch the dressings as they can be really calorific and if you have fruit salad watch for sugar syrup.

5. If you know that puddings will be your weakness plan for this. Don’t have too much first course. Do some extra exercise and think about what else you eat that day. Top up puddings with fruit.

6. Beware of any sauces as they can be very fatty and full of sugar.

7. Drink plenty of water. I also ordered a green tea.

8. Prepare for the sugar rush and carb effect the next day. Have lots of fruit to hand so you can manage it.

9. If you know you are the kind of person who will keep going back for more even if you aren’t hungry, do some deals with yourself about how many times you will do this and stopping before you end up feeling sick!

So if you’ve fallen off the wagon don’t panic. Just get back on, no self re-criminations. And good luck!

Control your own food – even when away from home

Being away from home doesn’t mean you cannot still make good decisions with food, that you cannot watch your weight, keep weight off, or even diet and lose weight! This weekend I was away from home (again) at a conference. I’ve recently become an associate member of the Professional Speakers Association as I’m building up my speaking profile talking about weight, diets and obesity, food, body image and staying positive when life is, bluntly, challenging.

The conference was in a hotel but despite being away for 2 nights and 3 days I didn’t leave any of my food to chance. That’s not to say I didn’t partake of some of the food on offer; just that I was very deliberate about it and it was on my terms.

Of course, never leaving food to chance takes some planning. I’d been really busy this week I didn’t have much time. If you are organised it doesn’t have to be a massive job and I still managed to make a fat burning, low GI, sugar/fat free meal.  On Thursday night I quickly roasted some veg in balsamic vinegar and fry light, soaked some oil free sundried tomatoes and put on a pan of whole-wheat pasta at the same as cooking my evening meal. Before I went to bed I mixed it all together, added some cherry toms, fat free cottage cheese and some fresh black pepper. This meal will easily last for 48 hours even outside a fridge. I put it in an old tub I’d saved and left in the fridge ready to pick up the next morning.

A good cool bag and some planning and you can eat low fat low GI food on the move

Early the next morning all I had to do was pick up the some muesli and get the pasta and some tubs of fat free yogurt from the fridge, put in some cool bags and I was ready to go. On the way down to the conference I stopped at a motorway services M&S and bought my lunch for both days and a bottle of skimmed milk. With very little trouble I now had 3 of my meals.

Keeping cool….
I was staying in a budget hotel so I didn’t have a fridge in my room. For once I went by car. It’s autumn so my car boot doubled up as a fridge! If the weather had been warmer I would have asked the hotel to let me use one of their main fridges. I’ve never been turned down.

This was the buffet lunch. High fat, high sugar and all refined. Destined to make you put on weight

I just took the food out of my ‘fridge’ as needed. Good job I’d been organised. On the first night there was a buffet and all the food was pretty calorific. The buffet lunch on Saturday had not one single item of food which was fat burning, wholefood or good to eat if you are watching your weight. Even the salads were covered in mayo or loads of oil. I didn’t mind; I was too busy enjoying the salads I’d bought at M&S. My resolve was strong – until the pudding on Friday night when some Pecan and toffee cheesecakes were bought out! I have to say I just could not say no – it went down pretty nicely I can tell you. But I was the one making that choice.

Choosing which meal I would eat ….
All that was left was my evening meal on Saturday, a gala dinner. I knew this was going to be the big occasion of the weekend so I had decided in advance I would eat the meal. I did my usual rouse – I told them I am vegan (I am not, but that way I avoid food which is rich is cream and cheese). I was given a really lovely sweet potato and chickpea curry. Bit too much fat for me but it was really tasty. The only downside of the vegan ‘lie’ is when the pudding comes and you are given fruit salad. Luckily they got confused and I got given a lovely apple frangipani tart. Mmmmmm. You see – it was all on my terms. And I didn’t feel bad, I just enjoyed every mouthful.

When you eat high calorie food you need to be the one who choses

I hadn’t eaten high calorie food I didn’t want to eat because it was all that was there. I had mainly chosen food I wanted to eat and which was fat burning and low fat/sugar. But I enjoyed puddings and other food I had chosen to eat.

When keeping weight off its so so important to remember that you can still be in control of your food and make good food choices even when you are away from home. Be determined that when you do eat high calorie food it will be your decision, not someone else’s, and the food will be food you REALLY WANT TO EAT!

And when you do, enjoy every mouth full.

 

In a future blog I’ll be sharing a new lovely autumn pudding that I’ve been working on. A fat free, sugar free and flour free cakey pudding……….