I’ve had a bit of an epiphany with my food choices lately, and some helpful resources I came across at just the right time have been the catalyst.
From my mid-twenties I’ve joined Weight Watchers a few times and followed their very sensible diet but always fell off eventually, then went back to how I ate before and put the weight back on.
We’re not talking about dozens of kilos here but the same 5-10kg (11-22 pounds) which were quite inconvenient when it came to feeling chic and healthy and looking good.
I’ve always considered myself to have a sweet tooth and I’d tell myself it was harmless really to have sweet treats and if they were low-fat then what was the harm. That’s the low-fat/high-carb old dietary way of thinking that has had me brainwashed from back in the nineties (or was it eighties?).
The ‘diets don’t work’ message we’ve all heard before confused me too. If I said to myself ‘right, I’m not going to follow a diet, I’m going to eat what I want’, I would eat what I wanted, regardless of if it was healthy or not. And of course I put on weight. So if I’m not going to go on a diet, and I’m going to not go on a diet, what do I do?
One day several months ago I searched for a link between sugar consumption and sinus headaches. I realised that I would invariably wake up with one after a ‘treat’ night of sugary crap. I came upon this link here which horrified me. It made such disgusting reading that I gave up eating sugar for the most part from then on.
I’m not totally 100% strict, I’ll always join in something when we’re out for dinner etc. But I just don’t, for the most part, buy sweet things for myself at home. I keep myself from feeling deprived by saying I can have anything I like, as long as it’s not sugary.
But from eliminating the bulk of sugar from my diet, everything started falling into place. I naturally wanted more nutritious food, I felt better and had more energy, I slept better and my weight started dropping. From a stable weight in the late sixties (kg that is, or 148-149 pounds), I am now around 64kg (141 pounds) and I know there is a little bit still to come off (I’m 5 foot 7 or 170cm so 135 pounds/61kg is meant to be ideal for my height).
|The Giant Salad for lunch|
When the weight stops coming off then that will be my natural weight. I am not measuring portions because you don’t really need to when it’s real food you’re eating. I know that 1-2 pieces of fruit is a good amount to eat, or half a chicken breast is right for me etc.
After starting on my non-sugar thing, I came across a book at the Red Cross shop for $2 which I almost left on the shelf. I opened it up though and read a few pages, and it was talking about cutting out sugar and how this was the key to being slim and healthy. I thought ‘we’re on the same wave-length’, so I bought the book and I have to say it’s the best $2 I’ve ever spent. The book is by Lee Janogly and called ‘Only Fat People Skip Breakfast’. Lee is an English author who is a diet counsellor and every page is filled with common sense, humour and good ideas.
This book did for me with food what Alan Carr’s book did for me with alcohol. It really changed my mindset towards the foods I chose and makes me feel happy with those choices. Coincidentally I think the reason why I am so happy being a non-drinker is the same reason I feel so well not taking in much sugar, as alcohol has tons of sugar in it.
Two other books which I have also gained lots of good information and inspiration from are:
Peter Walsh – ‘Does This Clutter Make MyButt Look Fat’. I love Peter for his decluttering motivation, but this book is even better – decluttering with weight loss in mind. As with his other books Peter has lots of common sense and good practical ideas you can immediately put into practice.
Gary Taubes - 'Why We Get Fat (And What To Do About It)'. Gary explains the scientific background on why we are getting fatter and I find that really helps make habit changes that stick. It’s one thing to be told what to do, but it’s quite another to understand why it is good for you to eat something and not another. This book sounds boring but it's really not!
|A roast of beef ready to go into the oven. Extra veges are done to add to the next day's lunch salad.|
Here is what a typical day of food looks like for me now.
1-2 pieces fresh fruit, washed and sliced – I eat whatever is in season/on special/what looks good at the supermarket or fruit shop.
Small handful of mixed raw nuts (about 16-20) – sometimes I buy a mixed bag and sometimes I buy bags of a single type and mix my own. If I do this I might have 2 brazils, 6 almonds, 4 cashews, 2 hazels, 2 macadamias, 2 pecans for example
A couple of dessert-spoons of yoghurt on top (mostly but not always) – my favoured yoghurt is full-fat with the only ingredients being milk and culture.
This gets me through to mid-morning when I have a soy or milk café latte.
At lunch-time, I have a Giant Salad. My lunch salad deserves capital letters! I use a pasta dish (not the family dish, the individual dish) and I pile in fresh salad ingredients, add some protein (half a cooked chicken breast, tuna in springwater or any leftover roast meat from dinner, diced on top) and my favourite treat – creamy dressing. Currently my favourites are Paul Newman – Ranch or Creamy Caesar. I don’t have any bread or carbs with my lunch salad and I don’t really miss it.
Mid- to late-afternoon I will have a small snack, maybe a few slices of cheese on crackers, but more often than not I will steal some of my husband’s protein powder and have a quick protein drink. That stops me coming home starving and looking for pre-dinner snacks.
Then dinner is usually meat and three veg, the old-fashioned way. A roast or mini-roast in the oven with roast pumpkin and carrot (with potato maybe twice a week) and steamed veges dressed with olive oil (such as broccoli, cauliflower etc). And some packet or home-made gravy. Sometimes we have a stir-fry. Two or three times a month we’ll have a pasta dish.
My father-in-law is from England, and he went through sugar rationing during the second-world war. To this day he doesn’t have a sweet tooth and couldn’t care less about dessert, chocolate or anything like that. And he’s pretty lean and healthy for his age of 79.
Better late than never I say, and my ‘sweet enough without sugar’ chic and slender lifestyle starts now! Come with me – are you brave enough to try?