Tag Archives: EAT

Tricks for eating out and enjoying it!

3 Sep

The vital part of losing all the weight was finding a balance.  To be able to continue my love affair with food, I had to try really hard to find the best way to sort out how much I actually needed to eat.

My stomach was shrinking, my body was actually helping me to help myself. So the smaller portions weren’t that difficult to manage at home, the biggest challenge came when I had dinner with a friend, he is a great cook, the food was bound to be good, so how would I be able to cope, in my head was a fear I would eat too much and my stomach would protest and make me ill or that I would offend because I’d be seen to not appreciate his hard work by not being able to eat it if I was worried about eating too much and how bad it was for me! The trauma of it all!

As predicted the food was great, I asked for about half of what he had dished up, it didn’t actually look too bad, not ridiculously small anyway, I had still had something of everything, and I really enjoyed it!

That’s been the thing, I haven’t damaged my relationship with food in any way, I love food more now than before. Back then there was a love hate thing going on, I loved eating it but hated the control it had over me and my body.

Because I now have control, I can enjoy it and relax.

There were other challenges to come, eating out was an interesting one, of course I don’t have control over the portion size, however I decided early on that this wasn’t going to force me to always end up choosing what looked like the lower calorie option in a restaurant, that seemed like quite a waste!  Or even worse never be able to go out or always feel it was traumatic and no fun!

And after all because I was doing well at home, I should be able to go out and enjoy food too, for a long-term sustainable approach, this had to be tackled head on.

So the trick is to eat about half, then put your knife and fork down, I normally then have a bit of a chat with my fellow diners, while this is happening, my head and my stomach sort themselves out and I can then decide if I am full or not.  Amazingly this is the point where I do normally decide I have had enough, I have enjoyed the food, savoured it and am not stuffed, I then place the napkin over the food or if it’s looking like the staff are beginning to clear I put my cutlery on the plate, it’s then normally taken away – result. I have changed the way I eat, I stop more than I used too, I think we all perhaps just look at the food on our plates and just shovel, it’s a kind of endurance challenge!

Yes it takes a bit of willpower to be able to do that however I counterbalance with the thought of being stuffed and perhaps feeling ill later and the waste that will be, together with the fact that because I use this technique I can eat what I want, not the salad or the boring options.  It makes eating so exciting!  I’d never have been able to have gone on a week’s foodie holiday in Italy without being able to perfect it!

There are some things I do to help myself, I may not have the chips, I love chips however I love new potatoes just as much and I can have a few more of those…but essentially there isn’t much I won’t eat now.

I can do it for puddings too, more difficult but it can be done, Pizza Express have really helped me out here with their ‘tiny’ desserts which come with coffee, a result!    And often if I’ve been really good with the main then a pudding on a special night out is not going to end the world, especially now I’m in maintaining my weight loss!

Same principle for takeaways, stop when you’ve had your small plate full, chat, reflect and if you then think ‘I’m full’, put the lids back on the containers, for some reason once I couldn’t see the food, I lost interest, others could help themselves but I was more than happy…..with a pizza, cut into 8ths not quarters…it’s all really about tricks.

And if the waste bothers you, well for takeaways, order less next time!  Even talk to your takeaway proprietor and see whether they can do you smaller portions, you may be surprised.  I’d love to see pubs and restaurants reduce their portion sizes anyway, some are just crazy, you don’t need to eat massive amounts to enjoy good food.

Give it a go once your stomach has started to shrink, you’ll be getting used to smaller portions, and have in your mind that this is the way forwards to be able to have a normal and healthy relationship with food, it is a head game of tricks!  I can go out and eat, enjoy a takeaway and the lovely food that friends prepare, that’s what motivates me!

So again, it’s all about less.  Just let your head and stomach work together, stop regularly when you’re eating and think, believe me it does work.

The photo is of my first attempt at home at making pasta from scratch! Went quite well, because I’ve sorted my relationship with food, I even love cooking more!


No Chocolate again, ever.

23 Aug

Does this sound good?  Probably not, it could of course relate to anything, cheese, cake, takeaways, all those foods that are bad for you, that you love and you probably eat too much of .

Most diets will say you can’t have them, your first thought if you want to lose weight will be that because you eat a lot of it, you should stop completely. It is about depriving yourself, and comes back to why diets always seem to feel like a negative experience.

But what happens when you come to the end of your diet, hopefully you’ve lost weight, do you still not eat them, I bet you’ll miss them too much and they could be key to why you fall off the wagon and put the weight back on?  And this may have happened more than once?

If you love food then to succeed in losing weight and keeping it off you need to find a different way. If you aim to cut out those things completely that you really love, it won’t work, you have to take control of them, not the other way around. The aim should be about how they can work for you long-term, there shouldn’t be any difference between what you eat while you are losing weight and what you are going to eat once you have lost it.

So look at what foods really don’t work for you, what makes you hungrier, what can’t you stop eating?  Worth mentioning at this stage, if you only eat the ‘bad’ stuff and don’t eat any fruit and veg, lean meat, fish etc, then you do need to think about that, my way is far easier if you eat in a ‘balanced’ way, it just makes sense? Take a look at my previous post on that subject.

As I started to lose weight I realised that food was in control of me, I used to say something to myself all the time to justify the amount I eat –  ‘if I eat it, it won’t be there for me to eat’, of course I would then just go shopping again, replace it and the cycle would continue.  Remember I had no willpower, I would eat a 6 pack of crisps, a tub of ice cream and even if I cooked for myself, the portions would be far more than I needed (more to come on that subject).  If the food was there I would eat it and this cycle had been in place for 16 years.

I loved bread but what I noticed was that if I eat it at lunchtime, within an hour or so I was hungry again. So now I don’t eat it at all in the week, I do though eat ‘good’ bread at weekends and special occasions, you know the stuff that is fresh out of the oven or comes from the olive stall!  Bread now sits on the ‘treat’ list, especially if I end up spending £3+ on a loaf!  And I actually enjoy it even more now.  My view is that this has been the central element of my weight loss, once I made this change, the weight started to really shift, this entailed listening to my body very carefully, I will talk about that more as it is key.

If it’s chocolate then don’t aim to cut it out completely, just buy less, and keep it in the fridge, it’s harder to eat a lot if it takes more effort, my trick is the smaller bars of Green and Blacks, once you get your head around the fact they make no economic sense!  Word of advice don’t go down the route of buying the treat size bags of chocolate bars, it won’t work, you will end up eating a lot of them, because they are there. Better to actually buy one full size one a week!

Buy smaller amounts of things like cheese, just don’t have lots at home, if you then suddenly crave it, if you have to make a degree of effort, get in the car to go to the shop, there are lots of stages that give you the opportunity to think about what you are doing and most of the time something else will crop up and you won’t bother.

People also ask me about takeaways all the time, there are tricks to enjoying them, order less if you can, order the dishes not in sauces or limit them, and my very simple way of making sure I don’t completely pig out?  I put the lids back on once I’ve dished up what I want, my brain then doesn’t see what is still there, if I’m then full once I’ve eaten what is on my plate, I just scoop everything up and throw it away. And when I throw it away my thought is now, what a waste and the next time I order I reduce the amount even more, just think about it a bit more.

Some people will swear by having to eliminate their key ‘bad’ things entirely which is fine but consider whether you want to never have them again which is what you are really saying, if you don’t want to say goodbye completely then take control of them.  What you eat shouldn’t then change when you move from losing weight to sustaining it. And as you shrink, you get motivated, see how good your new life can be, the control you have gets easier and easier, believe me!  That’s where my willpower comes from.  I hope I’m also beginning to show you that losing and keeping weight off is as much (if not more) about your head as it is about the physical stuff.

So in summary:

  • Look at the foods that are in control of you and take control of them!
  • Buy less and in smaller versions
  • Start listening to your body
  • Eat less of them, don’t eliminate them totally…
  • If your diet isn’t balanced then give that a good think and make some changes

I’ll look at the question of ‘less’ in more detail later…

And the photo, well I bought that tub of Green and Black’s vanilla ice cream in August 2009, as I recall it was to serve after dinner with a friend, we never eat it, I decided to use it to test my resolve, in the past I could quite happily have eaten the whole tub in one evening.  It has one spoonful missing thanks to my sister. It’s become a bit of a symbol. I have eaten other ice cream since (I’ll buy the little tubs now!) but this shows me every time I open the freezer how I now have control.

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