Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Dieting tips

I'm doing Weightwatchers (again). I've started several times but never made it to goal. Different things work for different people I know, but WW does work for me - I just need to stick to it!

I've tried the 5:2 diet which my dad was shouting about (he's lost 4 stone on it and looks amazing). I must be the only person who managed to put on weight doing it! Calorie counting is fine but I get bored working it out all the time. What I like about WW is that nothing is out of bounds. I'm like a child - if I am told I can't have something, I just want it more! With WW I can have anything providing I account for it in my 'points', and knowing I can have it is usually enough. I often decide it's not worth the points.

I consider myself a bit of a dieting expert in that I know exactly how to lose weight sensibly. I'm probably not the right person to say it's possible as I'm fairly overweight myself, but I have got a number of hints and tips that have helped me so I thought I'd pass them along. If you've got any good tips, please comment and add them. I WILL do it this time.

1) Someone told me: "If you have a bunch of flowers and one dies, you don't throw the whole bunch away." This really helped me. If you have a 'bad' day (and if you are anything like me you often will), don't write off the whole week. Damage limitation: accept it, maybe be a bit more careful / do some extra exercise if you can, and move on. Tomorrow (or the next meal) is a fresh start.

2) Know your triggers. I know I'm going to want chocolate, and if I'm not prepared for that, I'll just go and eat whatever I can lay my hands on. Instead I keep several low point options in the house: low fat chocolate mousse for example. I also buy small chocolate bars, break them up and freeze them. A frozen Freddo lasts for ages! Try slicing a Mars bar and freezing it - you can make a couple of slices last all evening.

3) If you are a nibbler or a mindless eater, make sure you have plenty of healthy nibbles around. When I'm preparing the evening meal, I often make up a 'nibble box' for later - carrots, celery, peppers, cucumber sticks, sugar snaps, baby sweetcorn; or make up a big fruit salad. If it's ready-prepared, I'm much more likely to grab that rather than something I need to mess about preparing. Frozen grapes is another good one, they last such a long time.

4) I can't walk past the fridge without looking inside to see if I fancy anything. So I've started keeping a big box of grapes at the front. I'll grab a couple of those rather than rummaging through for a pork pie.

5) The obvious: don't go food shopping when you are hungry! If you have to, either grab a snack at the cafe first, or eat something as you are going round - sugar free gum is a lifesaver. It won't make you less hungry, but you won't fancy the taste of things nearly as much.

6) Prepare. Everything. Plan meals in advance so you don't get caught out. But also have strategies in place for things that you can't control. I try to keep a pack of WW fruit gums in my drawer for when the office biscuits come out.

7) Don't treat yourself with food. I tend to think, 'I've done really well, I've had a very hard day at work, met all my deadlines, managed to do x, y and z - I deserve a treat.' Yes, I do - but that treat doesn't have to be chocolate. I try to buy myself something non-foodie like a new nail varnish, or a magazine. Or, if it needs to be food try:

8) If you do have a treat, make it special. I loooove chocolate cake. So about once a week, I'll treat myself to a piece of cake. However, rather than eating it standing up while doing the housework, I make an event of it. I take myself out for half an hour. I go to a nice coffee shop. I take a book. I turn off my phone. I order a diet coke, and a piece of the gooiest chocolate cake I can find. And I appreciate every last crumb. I also appreciate the peace and quiet just as much!

9) Try new foods or twists on old favourites. Since starting WW again, I've discovered loads of new recipes that I adore. I've also realised how easy it is to make small changes to 'normal' meals. We still have sausages, mash, Yorkshire puddings and onion gravy - I just buy low fat sausages, grill them rather than fry them, use low fat spread in the mash and make small Yorkies rather than plate-sized ones. Then I bulk it out with veg. We seem to eat more than we did before, but it's much healthier.

10) Appreciate the non-weight advantages of eating healthily. When I'm eating properly, I feel more energetic, my skin looks better, I recover from colds more quickly - what's not to like?

11) Break the habit. I read that it takes 21 days to break a habit. So, because I can't control my chocolate eating, I have given up chocolate for 21 days. It's not actually been that bad, and it's made me realise just how often I eat it without thinking about it. It's automatic - if I go to buy a pint of milk, I pick up a bar of chocolate. Then I eat it on the way home without even tasting it! What a waste! After 21 days is up, I'm going to reintroduce chocolate into my diet, but only when I really want it. It's not going to be a habit any more, it's going to be a conscious choice. Then I'm going to try and give up cake for 21 days!

12) Celebrate little victories. I have a lot of weight to lose. If I focus on I have to lose x pounds, I'm doomed before I start. Instead, I am setting small goals and celebrating when I reach them. So rather than saying 'I have to lose x stone, I'll never do it', start small. I want to lose 6 lbs. I want to feel more confident in those jeans. I want to go down a clothes size. I want to lose a stone by Christmas. You CAN do it.

I can do it. I will do it. This time, I will get there.

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