Last week I told you what I’ve been up to on the exercise front but lots of you have asked what changes I’ve made to my diet to lose weight.
I didn’t have a lot of weight to lose but since hitting my 30s the pounds crept on and sitting at a desk all day I wasn’t losing them. Just incorporating some exercise into my week has been enough to give me a calorie deficit to start losing weight but some simple changes to my diet have also helped. I’m all about the ‘slow and steady’ I can’t be fussed with quick fixes and faddy diets as they’re not sustainable and the results don’t last. I’ve found a balance that’s helped me to lose a stone while still enjoying treats, going out and a few drinks.
When I approached the subject with my other half a year or so ago I initially met some resistance, a sad face and comments like ‘I don’t want to eat rabbit food and mung beans’. Haha! And neither did I! If you hadn’t noticed I’m a girl who loves her food and I’m too busy with work and life to be counting every calorie. (Now he’s been converted, loves the healthier meals and has lost over a stone himself).
Here are my 5 tips if you’re trying to eat healthier:
1. Plan ahead and shop online
I plan my meals for the week ahead on a Sunday and do an online shop to arrive on Monday. I plan food that takes around 15-20 minutes to make so it’s quick and easy and I don’t have to think about it when I get in from a long day. Doing it online means I also only buy what I need and don’t get tempted by the chocolate and biscuits placed to entice you in the shops. You don’t have to be a chef – start simple and grow your culinary skills. Check out my Instagram page for some inspiration.
2. Invest in some healthy snacks
I always carry snacks in my handbag to save me from getting ‘hangry’ and reaching for a mid-afternoon KitKat.
Nuts e.g. Cashews, Walnuts, Brazils – I have to portion them out into little tubs to save me munching through a whole bag.
Nut butter and apple or celery sticks – I put a couple of tea spoons of natural nut butter in a tub (one with just blitzed nuts without added oil or sugar) – it’s a really good energy booster and helps satisfy hunger pangs.
Berries e.g. blueberries, grapes, raspberries – always good after a work out (but don’t munch too many as they still contain a lot of sugar).
Rice cakes (my favourites are the Kallo ones dipped in dark chocolate) – they work out around only 50 calories each but give you a mini chocolate fix.
3. Revamp your kitchen cupboards
Invest in some basic herbs to add quick flavour to dishes. The ones I use regularly are chilli powder, smoked paprika and rosemary to add to chicken or mince. I also buy frozen chopped onion, garlic, chilli, ginger and corriander. Yup I could buy fresh ones, chop them and freeze them myself but this is all about saving time. A bag of about 10 pre-chopped onions only costs £1 and I can just shake some out each time I need them. I was also forever finding half a mouldy garlic bulb in the fridge.
4. Don’t ditch the carbs
Carbs get a bad rep and are normally the first thing to get cut in an attempt to lose weight but they’re also the main source of fuel for our body and our brain! I eat them on days when I’m going to the gym or know I’ll have a long day and need to keep going. Provided you watch the portion sizes, opt for wholegrains and combine them with a good protein or fat source they’re actually really good for you. Swap white rice and pasta for brown or try some quinoa instead for a higher protein option. The microwave sachets of quinoa and brown rice are really good, cook in 2 minutes and help you control portion size. Try adding a scoop of protein powder to porridge oats to help your body metabolise it better and use it as fuel.
5. Try a grazing lunch
When I’m at work I don’t have access to a kitchen, time is limited and lunch is usually squeezed in between meetings. Sandwiches or wraps always left me feeling bloated. Soup wasn’t filling enough and a big hot meal would just send me to sleep for the afternoon. So I’ve recently started experimenting with a ‘grazing lunch’. I have tubs packed with things that I can easily graze on between 11 and 2pm in and around work and between meetings. I fill them with things like ready cooked chicken (could be leftover from a roast), boiled eggs, nuts, Ryvita thins or rice cakes with hummus/nut butter, raisins, berries, Greek yoghurt, cherry tomatoes and cucumber/celery sticks. This seems to be working much better for me and keeps me going better than a rushed pre-packed sandwich and means I often don’t feel snacky mid-afternoon.
I’d love to hear your tips and what you think about a ‘grazing lunch’… Comment here or Tweet me @Sipscoffscribe!