|Wire my jaws, please|
I hate dieting, but I love eating. And drinking. And sitting around in my jammas like a sloth, munching on crisps and drinking wine.
This can make it a touch difficult to stay in shape and, although I force myself out running as often as I can bear, it turns out I don’t have to deprive myself of all the things I live in order to drop a few pounds.
I have a big appetite. Like, really big… and the portions at dinner time in our house are…well, sizeable. Since it would appear that I’m physically unable not to eat everything on my plate, I now cut down on the amount of spaghetti or rice I usually cook in order to eat less.
It needn’t be a massive amount each night, but it does mount up over the course of a week or two.
For years, I bought semi skimmed milk from the store and hated the thought of drinking anything else. I’m addicted to coffee, so I drink a LOT of milk in the course of a day at work. This means quite a few of my calories are consumed in this way. I have tried to cut down on my coffee intake, but it makes me cranky. Besides, life’s too short to be thin and miserable when you can be chunky and caffeinated, right?
What I did instead was change my milk. I now buy skimmed stuff and, again, while it’s only a teeny change, it soon mounts up. This reduces my calorie intake without making me unbearable to live/work with. I’m unable to drink fruit tea or black coffee because…well, they’re just awful.
It’s amazing how having one of these things keeping an eye on your during the day can actually encourage you to up your exercise game. I have the iPhone app on my phone and it follows me around whether I want it to or not.
It’s a great way to assess how active (or in my case, how lazy…) you are and how you can increase you activity during the day. I keep track of mine all the time these days and I try to get out of the office during my lunch break to run or just go for a walk. It’s a great motivator and can spur you on to exceed your totals over the week and just do that *little* bit more.
I have a very sweet tooth and, although I don’t like cakes, I do have an addiction to sweets and sugary rubbish. This means I eat quite a lot of sugar and tend to come home from the gym or work and grab a handful of sweets while I cook dinner. I do this while telling myself that it’s just to keep me going until Les comes home and we can eat. I hate the think about how many extra calories I consume during the week within this tiny window each day.
What I try to do not is replace these sweets with rice cakes or a handful of grapes, as well as not picking up sweets when I’m in the store. I’m not always entirely successful, but it does work the majority of the time. After all, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that if you don’t have sweets in your cupboard, you won’t be able to eat them, will you?
I spent years drinking coke or Irn Bru (I’m Scottish, it’s the law) but, in recent times I’ve replaced this with low-calorie sparkling water. Aside from the reduction in sugar, there are some fabulous flavour combinations that work well on their own, or with, say, gin or vodka. Or schnapps. Or white wine, if you’re a monster.
Swapping out your regular red or white wine for a spirit and some water can also help you cut calories. Replacing a glass of Merlot with a gin and tonic or a splash of apple water can also help cut down on sugar
Obviously, cutting out alcohol altogether would be even better, but this isn’t about making yourself miserable. It’s just about stripping back some of your calories and still enjoying life. I’d much rather be a chunky wino than a skinny but grumpy bugger.
Beware of Low Fat
I went through a spell of eating a LOT of cereal bars, granola, and low-fat yoghurt thinking that, because they were low far, they were obviously good for me. Oh, how stupid I was… The sugar content in my favourite coconut yoghurt is sky-high and makes eating it a complete waste of time. The same can be said for the cereal bars I was happily munching on while feeling all smug and virtuous.
Discovering the sheer amount of sugar in the granola I like was a rude awakening, too, I can tell you that for free. Now I always check sugar, calories AND fat content before I buy anything.
What do you do when you need to cut back?