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Food and exercise are the foundation of weight loss so here are some food hacks to put you ahead!
Remove your temptations
Are you a sweet or savoury kind? I am an afternoon sweet snacker so I got rid of all the chocolate and sweets so there was nothing but fruit or healthy yogurt to snack on. It helps you to avoid the temptation – if you know you are going to eat it then why have it in the house at all??
*NOTE: try this for two weeks and then gradually bring it back and see if you can handle a small portion every now and then*
Sit at the table
Make a show of every meal – sitting at the table will help you remember that you have eaten and will help you out later in the day when you are trying to figure out if you are hungry or bored!. Also sitting down to meals helps you to re-train your brain that a table is meant for meals, so sitting on the sofa (or desk, floor etc) is not and will slowly stop you from wanting to eat where ever you are.
Eat with a knife and fork
I mean everything (obviously not soup or cereal – don’t get pedantic) sandwich? knife and fork, pizza? knife and fork, vegetables? knife and fork. Eating in this way takes longer and the extra time fills the gap between food and stomach making you less likely to reach for seconds (or thirds).
The above reason also works for fiddly foods like peas, spaghetti etc – anything that is annoying to get into the mouth is your friend because it takes longer to eat and you are more likely to feel like you’e
Weigh it out first and then grate it, it looks like there is more on your plate even though there isn’t and it is more fiddly (it also melts better this way).
I am not saying go and eat bars of the stuff but it is better for you than other chocolate and has heart health benefits too (in moderation). I also find that I can moderate portions of dark chocolate better and it leaves me more satisfied.
There is a misconception that all popcorn is unhealthy (cinema popcorn is terrible don’t eat that) but there are actually tasty healthier alternatives that are a great snack without too much fat/calories.
I found “Propercorn” which is my absolute favourite so I buy in bulk. You can also get them in the usual sizes from Tesco’s and other shops. If you prefer other healthy brand alternatives just have a look at the nutritional info first to make sure there aren’t sneaky fats in there.
Find ones with low sugar or make your own using watered down fruit juice (mango and pineapple is tasty) and they are a healthy alternative to pudding if you cannot spare the calories. They are also a great snack compromise if you are feeling peckish but unsure what you want.
*NOTE: You can also add pieces of fruit in there to squeeze in some of your 5 a day*
Don’t count fruit and veg
In the beginning, I really struggled to get excited about fruit and veg and I didn’t want to waste any of my daily calories on those when I could have eaten a Mars bar :p – so I decided that fruit and veg don’t count. It generally encouraged me to have fruit or veg as a snack because “it didn’t count” and I could eat as much as I liked.
This was a big issue for me just when looking at things I could never decide if that was an appropriate portion size or not so I have tried two things:
- Halve your normal portions – e.g. if you usually have 2 or more pieces of toast – half it. If you want a full English breakfast have 1 of each item instead etc.
- Eat from smaller plates – I use sandwich plates or my son’s plates because they are smaller and usually the correct portion size looks extra small on a dinner plate.
Will I still want this tomorrow?
I sometimes play this game if I feel like I want something for the sake of it. It is simple…
Will I still want this tomorrow in the same way? – Answer = Yes = wait until tomorrow and if I still do then have it, if not then don’t (usually I don’t)
Answer = No = Don’t have it and have a healthier snack
Eating Out Food Hacks
Take your own snacks/drinks – it is that simple, there is very rarely anything healthy and it is not going to look great next to the giant fizzy drinks and giant “share bags” of Maltesers and that is not even taking into account the price.
- Pick what you’re going to eat ahead of time – A lot of restaurants have their menus online and some even have the calorie or nutritional info on there and it allows you to make a properly informed choice (sometimes the difference between “classic” or “light” pasta is about 500 calories and one is healthier than the other even though both taste the same.
- Be wary of alcohol calories – Substitute things like wine and fruity cocktails (which are full of sugar/empty calories) with a vodka and diet coke or a gin and soda
- Eat one portion healthy – If you are having the salad for dinner and want the cake then have it (don’t deprive yourself) but if you are having an unhealthy dinner then have a healthy dessert or skip it. Make compromises with yourself, you don’t have to have the whole evening go food crazy to enjoy yourself.
- Share Pudding – If you are worried about how much is there then don’t try eating it on your own, ask to share and have a smaller portion. (This is great when you go out with your buddy – see above-).
- Let everyone know so that they don’t encourage you to overeat. Generally, if they know you are trying to be healthy and eat or drink less they will be supportive
How do you try to stay healthy? What are your food hacks? For more info on weight loss, visit my How To Kickstart Your Weight Loss.