Gain control not calories!

How to eat well without gaining the pounds

Healthy eating may seem as elusive as winning the lottery, but if you make some small but permanent changes to the foods you already eat then it is easy to gain in control, increase your confidence around food and shed the pounds.

First step, as boring as it may seem is to write down what you eat on a typical weekday and weekend. The purpose of this is that many of us eat unconsciously, that is we are not aware of what and how much we consume. This could be because we are either eating emotionally (we are bored, depressed, anxious, lonely etc) or we are eating whilst being distracted. How often have you sat down to watch the TV with a cup of tea and the intention of eating just one biscuit, but somehow the whole packet has been eaten?

The second step is to review your eating pattern and see what little tweaks can be made. Remember you are looking for small but permanent changes; anything too fast or too radical can often lead to failure. So if you always have white bread sandwiches every day then try switching to wholemeal (or 50/50 initially), then look at the fillings; if you like cheese consider buying the strongest flavour you can, like mature cheddar and grating it as a little goes a long way. If you like mayonnaise with your tuna, don’t butter the bread as well. 1 teaspoon of butter is about 35 calories.

If you like pasta as an evening meal, consider swapping white for wholemeal. Not only will the energy be released longer and slower, but that and the extra fibre will keep you fuller for longer; therefore you won’t need as bigger portion so you will consume less calories.

If you love chocolate try swapping your milk chocolate for a couple of squares of dark chocolate. You will find yourself eating less because it is so rich, but you will also be gaining lots of feel good hormones and antioxidants.

The third step is to look at your portion size. Everywhere we go, food portions are getting bigger; think about the size of the drink you buy at the cinema (along with the large bag of sweets or the bucket of popcorn), or the triple decker sandwich and ‘grab bag’ crisps at the supermarket for lunch, or the ready meal for two that you consume by yourself. So take a moment to think do you need that large cup of cappuccino or will a small one be fine? Could you share that bucket of popcorn with your friends, or maybe have a small bag of fruit and nuts that you brought from home? Could you only eat half that sandwich and save the other half for your mid afternoon snack, instead of a trip to the vending machine?

And finally, consider incorporating more exercise into your daily life.  The NHS recommends 150 minutes (2½  hours) per week. It doesn’t have to always be a structured class or gym session. Brisk walking with the dog, taking the stairs instead of the escalators or lifts, walking and talking with friends at lunchtime instead of going for a coffee, vigorous housework in fact anything that gets you out of breath will have a beneficial effect on your health and well-being by burning calories, reducing your risk of suffering from chronic illnesses, reducing stress levels and releasing feel good hormones.

So remember the key to gaining control not calories is to make small but permanent changes to your lifestyle.

Nutritionist Resource is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG2
Written by Susan Hart, Nutrition Coach, cook and food writer MFHT, MFNT
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG2

As a nutrition coach I believe in and practice healthy eating. But why should you, your family or your organisation be concerned about what you eat? Because eating healthily helps you look and feel better.Did you know that two out of three adults in England are overweight? This can impair well-being...

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