It’s funny how a few days into your weight loss program, it suddenly feels like temptation is everywhere. And friends and family just don’t seem to get it. Instead it seems like they are trying to do everything in their power to make you succumb to food temptation. While resisting temptation is never easy, here are 10 Tips To Stay In Control of likely scenarios…so you can get on with improving your health and nutrition.
Trying to use will power to get you through the day could actually end up working against you. If you give in – you are human after all – you could end up feeling like you ‘failed’ which could trigger a binge; “I’ve ruined my diet, so I may as well just go the whole hog”. But also, it’s not nice socially. I mean how would you feel if it was your birthday and a work colleague didn’t eat in your honour? The way to deal with this scenario is to allow yourself a very small piece of cake – scrape off the icing or cream. If it’s a nice cake where you might be tempted to go back for seconds, then focus on really enjoying it – eat it slowly with a cup of coffee or tea. Savour it so you can satisfy not just your appetite, but your senses as well. Then just get on with your day.
Remember when you were 19 and could go and eat a kebab and ice-cream at 3am after a night out on the town, many drinks later? When your metabolism could shake off a few thousand extra calories? Yeah that was then…and this is now.
So these days, after your night out at the theatre and your friend wants ice-cream, substitute your banana split with the works for a kid-size gelato or sorbet instead. Of course it will still contain sugar, they all do, but at least it won’t have anywhere near the amount of total calories as the deadly choc-fudge sundae.
When it comes to calories, well alcohol has lots of them. Instead of beer (1 stubbie = 140 calories) or a glass of wine (150ml = 120 calories), try 30ml (64 calories) of vodka mixed in mineral water. Stick with 1 or 2 vodkas and drink lots of water in between.
These days you can find the nutrition profiles of fast food meals on the internet. Check the profiles of meals prior to leaving the house and look for meals that contain at least 20gm of protein, no more than 10gms of sugars per serve, that are lower in fat and contain around 300 calories or less for a main meal.
Compare the Warm Chicken Salad which has 179 calories, 25gm protein, 2.5gm of fat and 7.9gm of sugars per serve to a Big Mac which has 493 calories, 25gm protein, 26.9gm fat and 5.9gm sugars, and that’s without the fries!
Nothing is as good as food you prepare at home, but making the best choice out of what’s available is enough to keep you out of trouble with your healthy nutrition program and still keep you socially acceptable.
Restaurant eating can be tough on a weight loss program. Food portions are often larger, meals are richer, alcohol is available and temptation is everywhere. However, you don’t need to deprive yourself of the finer things in life completely. It’s not a realistic or happy way to live. A planned dinner at a nice restaurant is something you really can enjoy and it can fit in with your weight loss program…just limit these dinners to a frequency of once a week.
Start by choosing a great protein like grass-fed steak or fresh seafood. You want a palm-sized piece of protein, so if your steak is too big, share it with your friend or partner. Then ask for salad or steamed vegetables with dressing and sauce on the side so you can control how much you use. Most restaurants cater for individual requirements these days and will be happy to accommodate your needs. Aim to have just entree and main, or main meal and dessert rather than all 3. Limit alcohol to 1 glass of wine, or drink water instead.
Remember that planning and scheduling a weekly dinner is giving yourself permission to enjoy a lovely meal and it gives you power over food, rather than food controlling you. If dessert is big, share it. If it’s small, have the whole lot, eat it slowly and savour every mouthful. The next day, it’s back to business as usual.
Do yourself a favour and get rid of it. Seriously, CLEAR OUT JUNK AND PROCESSED FOOD. Throw or give away the soft drinks, biscuits, pastries, cakes, cookies, lollies, chips, packaged noodles, pasta, cup-o-soups, tinned meals, packaged meals, frozen meals, sugar, margarine – all of it. Honestly there should not be much in the pantry at all except some nuts and seeds, your good oils like olive oil and coconut oil. In your fridge should be butter, loads of eggs, fresh meats, and lots and lots of vegetables!!!!
That way when you’re feeling peckish or vulnerable you can’t sabotage yourself – even if you wanted to. Instead go for a walk to clear your head, or drop and give me 50 pushups. Often it’s just distancing yourself from those cravings for a few minutes that can help you regain control and perspective.
It’s a recipe for disaster to go food shopping when you are hungry. Shop from a prepared list so impulse buying is kept to a minimum. Shoppers who use lists spend less on groceries and make fewer impulse (read: junk-food) purchases.
Think of your grocery list as a way to reaffirm your desire to improve your nutrition and lose weight every time you sit down and write it.
Eating right starts with stocking healthy food in your pantry and refrigerator. Unless you need basics like toilet paper and shampoo, stop visiting the supermarket aisles. The body of the supermarket is where you’ll find the processed, chemical laden, high energy, nutrient devoid foods that are supposed to make life easier but are actually making us sick. Shop the perimeter of your store where you’ll find the fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy, nuts and eggs. Buy the best quality food you can. Make it easier to afford quality food by eliminating from your trolley processed convenience foods and leave the kids at home if you know they’ll throw a tantrum if they don’t get the lollies and chips that are so conveniently placed at their eye level.
Can’t really bring your own food in this case can you? No. The best thing you can do if it’s a party is make the best choices you can – look for protein based canapes and finger foods and eat only till comfortable, not full. Besides, you are probably getting used to clean eating, and heavily spiced, or fatty foods will make you feel unwell if you overindulge. Keep drinks to 1-2 over the course of the evening with lots of water in between. If someone offers to top up your glass a firm ‘No’ is usually enough. At a wedding, eat the protein, take a couple of mouthfuls of dessert…and leave the rest on your plate. Back to business the next day.
At 3.30pm when that energy slump hits – it’s likely to be due to a number of factors. Your body is ready for it’s next meal as lunch was at 12.30pm, you could be dehydrated, you could be crashing from that coffee earlier in the day. Have a big drink of water and wait 10 minutes – sometimes dehydration presents as hunger. If it’s genuine hunger, then it’s time for an afternoon snack. Snack on nutritious food sources that contain protein, good fats and quality carbs. For example a snack could be composed of a boiled egg, some nuts and a small piece of fruit to get the energy back in your body and to get you through till dinner.
If it’s after dinner and you feel like something sweet, try some berries or camomile tea. If you are genuinely really hungry try going for a protein source that has some casein protein – yoghurt or cottage cheese to fill you up and supply your muscles with protein overnight for repair and growth.
Family expresses love through food. So it’s really hard to say no to your mum or to your auntie at Sunday lunch. Chances are you have a good idea of what your mum or your auntie are likely to serve up at Sunday lunch, so offer to bring a salad, vegetable, or healthy side-dish. Usually family likes a bit of help with meals, and at the very least you will have some food options you can eat and just take small portions of the other food on offer.
If they insist that you take a piece of pie, it doesn’t mean you have it all and go back for seconds. Just accept a small portion, eat it slowly, and enjoy it. Or even just take a single bite and sneakily throw the rest away when you are clearing the dishes. You could also offer to take it home, saying you will enjoy it later.
When you’re offered a food that you really don’t want to eat, the best response is a firm “no, thank you” without any explanation, because excuses open the door for arguments. If that doesn’t work, try “Thank you, but I’m looking after my weight”, and leave it at that. Saying no is very empowering.
The more often you stick to your guns, the more your family will get used to it. Before you know it, your loved ones will be going out of their way to make you delicious healthy food that you are more likely to eat because at the end of the day, they love you and just want to make you happy.