I am writing this post with a white wine hangover, the wine that also accompanied a side order of cheese burger and chips. So if you’re looking for a post on a strict no-sugar regime this isn’t the one for you. However after limiting my sugar considerably over the last four weeks, what I realise this post is all about is finding your balance with food and, most importantly, enjoying your food with no guilt attached.
I don’t know about you, but I am an emotional eater. Accomplished something good? Have a treat. Have a shit day? Have a treat. The only problem was that every day something was going on and the treats became less treat-like and more everyday. Coupled with a stressful Christmas, and a need for food to just be quick and easy, I had found I had fallen into a trap of over-eating fast convenient food on a daily basis. I no longer felt comfortable in my own skin and I was exhausted and sluggish.
By the beginning of January, I had bread sauce coming out of my ears and I knew it was time for a change. However in order for me to really make strides with something, I often need a plan. So I bought The fast 800 calories recipe book for inspiration. I had no intention of limiting my calories to 800 as I have three small kids to run around after, but I have found the insights in the book very interesting and I have tried out quite a few of the recipes too.
The big takeaways being that food high in fat is no longer a sin, so high fat dairy products are all good in the hood – within reason of course. However the sweet stuff, including refined white carbohydrates is not. So this is what I have dramatically reduced. This is where the recipe book in particular came into its own, as I could follow their meal suggestions. Carbonara with courgette spaghetti and cottage pie with a cheesy cauliflower topping being my favourites. After all, anything mixed with cheese and cream has to be a winner. Although obviously not suitable if you’re a vegan or allergic / intolerant, but this is just what made it more palatable for me. With a load of fruit and veg for good measure.
A big game changer was also upping my water in-take. We all know we need to be drinking roughly 2 litres of water a day, but how many of us actually do it? Certainly not me very often. But keeping a litre water bottle in my car and taking regular swigs really helped, and I wonder now whether the sluggishness was actually dehydration.
After a few weeks eating this way I started noticing the benefits and feeling better. However I love food, no I REALLY love food. And I wanted to still have the occasional treat and enjoy it without feeling guilty as soon as I’d eaten it. I didn’t want to watch my family tuck heartily into Grandma’s apple crumble and custard and sit on the sidelines salivating. Life is just too short for that. So I did indulge, and it was delicious. But instead of throwing in the towel as I may have done previously, breaking into the biscuit tin, I just carried on with my new habits the following day.
I have been a yo-yo dieter all my life, trying to manage my weight to meet a skinny ideal. And I would be lying if I told you that losing the Christmas bulge didn’t hold an appeal. But actually, I am happier with my body now than I ever have been, despite the crinkled mum tum, raging cellulite and pendulum boobs. Because I’m past just eating Weight Watchers zero point foods and other such bollocks. I feel healthier inside and I’m enjoying my food again, without guilt or feeling unrealistically restricted by calorie counting.
Obviously I’m only a month in of my new eating habits, so it’s hard to say whether or not they’ll stick. But I hope that by finding my food balance I can continue to feel healthier and happier, and I indulge in a beautiful cheese burger for good measure.
Please note; I am not a nutritionist or a trained professional in any way, so please seek the correct advice when it comes to your diet. Especially if you suffer from any medical problems.