Today I am here to talk to you about my recent lifestyle change. So last week I posted this post about how I feel paranoid that society judges me on my size and instantly assumes that I am lazy, inactive and obviously not trying hard enough. I wrote the post to let people similar to me to know that they’re not alone, to air out my thoughts and to make it known that everyone is different and what is on the outside or what you see for a few moments isn’t all there is to know about a person.
From that post I had a few comments about my diet and what I was eating. So this week I decided to write a post about how my eating habits have changed and how much better I have felt because of the change. I have been through so many diets in my life for many reasons but none of them ever stick because I usually end up craving something that I’ve not allowed myself to have. So I knew that for this to work, I needed to make sure that I was keeping a good balance to avoid that ever-present desire to eat some of my favourite foods; ice cream, chocolate and cake.
Thus I sat down and looked at the foods I was eating. I looked at what sugars I was ingesting, what fats I was consuming, and how many fruits and vegetables I was putting into my body. The result was easy to see why I had gained a lot of weight and quickly. My diet mostly consisted eating out at restaurants, cooking up foods using sauce jars or eating food that was easy to just bung in the oven. I rarely had any vegetables and I was stocking up on all the sugar you could possibly imagine.
So I then worked out what I needed to change.
Now the first thing I did was cut back on gluten products. Last year I feared I had celiac’s disease and on the doctors advice, cut back drastically on eating gluten foods. It was definitely a shock to the system finding out just how many items in the supermarket contain gluten. But in the time that I stopped eating gluten I lost almost two stone, in a four month period. I was also going to the gym and swimming but this had been going on before so it wasn’t something new to my lifestyle. Upon hearing I did not in fact have celiacs, I jumped straight back to the gluten products because bread is one of my food weaknesses. I could eat it for every meal of every day for the rest of my life if I had to.
But clearly my body wasn’t taking many nutrients from it, so I decided that I needed to cut back again. Not completely but just less, allowing myself only one meal a day to contain gluten.
Then I wanted to look at my sugar. I have heard some terrible things about sugar and the amount that we consume. We are only supposed to consume six teaspoons of sugar a day. Considering I am a coffee fiend who drinks it with two sugars, I was drinking that much on a daily basis. Add in continuously drinking cocoa cola and other fizzy drinks, and I could already see how much I was probably damaging my insides. I could, of course, just change to the diet fizzy drinks but the horrors of sweetners terrify me and I would rather have no fizzy drinks then swap them over.
So I did just that. I now drink water as my main drink, trying increasingly hard to drink two litres a day. I also reduced my coffee intake to one a day with one sugar and no milk and one to two teas a day with no sugar and a splash of milk.
But, scarily, it was not only the drinks that I found hidden sugars. It was the sauce mixes that I was cooking with for ease. They were riddled with preservative sugars. It’s the only way that companies can make sure the sauces last for a long time and also still taste good. But it wasn’t doing me any good. So I have stopped cooking with ready-made sauces and now cook everything from scratch, and have found some meals that are incredibly easy to cook from scratch, perfect for when you’ve had a late or long day at work and really just want to bung something in the oven.
Lastly, but certainly not least, were my snacks. I was eating one to four chocolate bars a day depending on the size of the bar and how hungry I was. Either way, it was a lot and it was not good. Finding healthy snacks is still something I struggle with but I have stopped eating chocolate bars everyday and instead try to eat a handful of nuts instead, which are high in protein and full of those good fats our bodies need.
Since implementing these food changes I have lost one and a half stone since February. I had a bit of a bumpy month in April wherein I gained some weight because I had a few bad days and needed some comfort food but I’ve managed to lose it all again this month which is always a good thing. This is a lifestyle change for me. It means that if I want something that is “bad” for me, I allow myself to have it but only in moderation. It means that I am allowed chocolate so long as I haven’t had it yet that day and I don’t eat more than one bar, even if it’s just a small Rocky. What this then means is that I don’t crave bad food. It means that greasy food actually makes me feel a little bit sick now. The idea of having a McDonalds? Only if it’s a truly last choice.
Because the thing about eating healthier is that you will feel the benefits in your body and it will thank you for it and will is probably not going to want to eat badly again. It’s about re-training our brains.
For me being healthy does not equal a salad. It does not mean that I have to walk around drinking smoothies and only having small portion sizes. It is about having a healthy balance and eating foods that are beneficial to my body.
And if you’re curious, my daily food goes a little something like this;
Gluten in the morning (often a bacon roll, maple&pecan twist or porridge), carbs at lunch (often a jacket potato), little or no carbs or gluten at dinner (unless I’m running the next day, in which case I will allow myself a smattering of carbs).
It may not be the quickest way to lose weight, it may not always allow me to lose weight, but it works for me. And so this is how I will continue. It is a lifestyle change afterall.