Dieting tips for weight loss

Yes I’m busting out the nutrition advice because in the past 3 months I have been on a big time health kick, I also weigh less now so like all science types, I have recorded the results to pass on to others as advice.

(Disclaimer:  I am not a medical physician or a diet-ologist so before you embark on any type of change to your regular diet or lifestyle; seek professional medical advice. This also goes for any type of exercise.)

Backstory – gotta love a prequel…

Last year was an enduring and mostly stressful mess for me. Things ran hot, I published 2 books, drafted another and even wrote a play; that is without mentioning the fact I moved out and got my own place while holding down a job that follows a sometimes grueling shift pattern. It was an arduous journey which rolled into 2019.

Even though I managed to get back into running short distances after being injured basically for 5 years (shin splints, bad knee, bad back, sciatica, procrastination) my exercise regime consisted of basic yoga, some running and mostly walking. Let’s just say I wasn’t doing enough to look after myself both physically and dietary wise.

Tip 1: Cookin’ fresh…

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Even into this year in which the start was mainly hectic things didn’t really calm down until the beginning of May but around March my significant other and I decided to call time on our not particularly great diet. To elaborate I’m speaking convenience quick to cook foods of most persuasions, jars of sauces, full dairy ice cream and processed meats. We (she) signed up to a thing called slimming world and this gave us access to a bunch of awesome recipes that are ranked in something called ‘syn’s’ – this basically means the more ‘syn’s the less good it is for you.

Early on we opted to choose ‘syn’ free meals to cook in the evening. This also means everything has an emphasis on freshness. From veg to meat and carbs alongside everything else, you cook these meals from scratch.

You don’t have to sign up to slimming world to access low calorie healthy recipes, there are plenty of other places to find them just ask the google… 

Tip 2: Keep stocked up with spices…

We now have an impressive range of spices, herbs and seasonings. We’re making meals that we would normally just buy ready to cook. Those jars and packets contain so much more crap than you need. The recipes instruct you to make it from scratch which in essence begins to transform the diet and you begin to taste things properly.  From paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, mustard seeds, mixed herbs, tandoori powder, cayenne pepper, ginger, basil, chopped garlic and even cinnamon all of our meals have this stuff in frequently for curries, low cal pasta dishes,fajita’s to even burgers.

Side tip: Buy a pestle and mortar – this helps crush herbs and spices easily, and you also look sophisticated 

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Tip 3: Keep the veg section of your fridge stocked…

Every meal is made better for you by adding vegetables – just ask vegetarians… but seriously your fridge has always got to be stocked with stuff like onions of the red and brown persuasion, peppers, potatoes, chilies, tomatoes (technically a fruit) and spinach which blends into near enough any pasta dish.

If your fingers don’t constantly smell of onions like mine then you aren’t chopping enough vegetables!

Tip 4: Take it seriously and kick the habits

no booze

After what seemed like a barrage of weddings, parties and other gatherings I attended this year (I know it’s a tough life…) it felt like I was an Olympic alcohol drinker and guess what I weighed as much as an Olympic alcohol drinker. This takes real will power but if you are committed to losing weight, you have to kick any habit that increases your weight- sounds logical right?

Now I really love booze, I like most booze, I like the flavor and what it does to me, hell my third book the Teleporter is basically a love letter to booze but I knew I had to stop even if it was just a beer or two a day, it had to go. Booze effects people differently, but it increases my weight big time. So since May I have only consumed alcohol on one occasion. First time around I got to 38 days without booze, now I am on 45ish! You can do it, because I can!

Tip 5: Change it up

My current diet doesn’t just revolve around some slimming world recipes, we only really have their meals 4 times a week but I do follow their concepts for all of my eating. Here’s what an average few days looks like:

Day 1

Breakfast – Two boiled eggs and 2 slices of toasted wholemeal bread

Lunch – 1 large Baked potato with beans

Snacks Between meals if hungry – Fruit, 1 of – Apple, Pear or handful of Grapes. 

Dinner – Chicken and vegetable fajitas with grated cheese in wholemeal wraps

Dessert (yes I said dessert) – Ben and Jerry’s vegan non dairy ice cream – four scoops 

Day 2 (Zero carbs day)

Breakfast – Two boiled eggs and two slices of bacon with visible fat removed

Snack – Fruit

Lunch – One can of tuna in sunflower oil and salad with some feta cheese

Snack – whole nuts

Dinner: Two home made beef burgers without the buns and side salad

Day 3 (Meat free day) (I should do more of these)

Breakfast – 1 boiled egg, baked beans and 1 slice of toasted wholemeal bread

Snack – Fruit

Lunch – Potato wedges made from one large baked potato and vegetables 

Snack – Sweet and salted popcorn 

Dinner- Quorn meat free sausages and fresh mashed potato

Dessert – A couple of reese’s peanut butter cups

Tip 6: Beverages, always bet on zero

zero

Carbonated drinks, you can’t escape them, they are everywhere and they add a little life into the sometimes plain world of water or coffee. Of course I drink tea with soy or almond milk but it’s nice to have a little flavor. I drink coke zero quite a lot, and even now when I hit the cinema or a food place my beverage will be of the zero persuasion. Trust me, go zero, the scales will reveal why.

Zero per cent non alcoholic beer is my second go-to zero beverage. Heineken do a great one, and it’s got me through my booze free journey.

Tip 7: The scales don’t lie

The first thing I do every morning is weigh myself. If it’s good or bad; this will determine what I eat that day. It’s a great daily reminder to keep on track and when it’s good you get a real sense of reward from putting in the effort. Of course when it’s not so good that can be a motivation to do more also!

scales

Tip 8: What killed the dinosaurs? THE ICE AGE!!!

Terrible batman film quotes aside, if you have a freezer use it. Frozen vegetables and meat/meat free meat add to the already well stocked fridge you should be prepared to have in order to gain a depth of ingredients. The quality is so much better these days also.

Tip 9: Don’t expect quick results… and it’s okay to cheat sometimes..

It takes time and effort to lose weight healthily and effectively. Our bodies are designed to regulate our current conditions. Eventually our metabolism changes as we burn away fat and eventually that metabolic rate of burning stuff will speed up. The best way to notice is via the scales because we can’t visually see our own weight loss particularly well. Keep a record of it somewhere and look back to track progress.

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This leads into the fact that as humans we will indulge at some point. We have to so we can stay happy. Indulge every now and then but don’t take it too far. Order that Friday night pizza but make it a thin base. When I have my cheat days I look on the scales the very next day and see a number I like because my body burns it at a quicker rate now. Loosing fat will mean new fat burns quicker.

Conclusion:

Moderation is the key word to dieting. Vegetarian and vegan stuff is getting better and better these days and I am more prone to choosing it. There are also environmental factors that all of us need to take into regard. Starvation isn’t the answer and neither is dropping a particular food group you regularly eat. Some people will pursue the no carbs route to just give up a few paces down the track. They say variety is the spice of life and when it comes to dieting, give yourself options!

Of course all of this stuff works for me but is there anything that works for you? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Ramble #38

I’m setting my sights on another no drinking booze record. Last time I got to 37 days and now I’m eyeing 50 days which will bring me in line for my 30th birthday.

For context I am now the lightest I’ve been this year and probably the healthiest; these two achievements alone isn’t why I’ve chosen to abstain from booze; I hate the fact I sometimes act like the way I do after a drink and of course the hangover but I probably won’t ever give it up completely, I am a writer after all. Zero percent beer has been a life saver and although it’s a kind of a weird feeling to taste something that is associated with ‘easin’ the pain’ it does do enough the replace the thirst, for the time being anyway.

In the past three months I have also changed my eating lifestyle; I haven’t eaten a ready meal in 3 months! Everything I cook now is from fresh. Frozen veg and meat also counts these days because the quality is so much better now and this also means they don’t perish as quickly. There are a stack of great meals out there that can be made healthy. The vegan stuff is also so much better now and has more options; the days of one vegetable/quorn quesadilla being the only vegan/veggie choice on a menu is disappearing, and although I am not a full vegan, I have meals and days where I am inspired by it. Ben and Jerry’s vegan non dairy ice cream is my pro dieting tip! 

Exercise has always been a pillar of my lifestyle and right now like the past few years I am a big advocate of yoga – DDP Yoga to be specific. I’ve put up some reviews of the program up on here before and I cannot stress how good yoga is for not only the body but mind as well. This year I have also got back into running and can now do up to 5k in distance!

My advice for anyone looking to battle stress, depression and injury – three things I have been through; is to take up more of an active lifestyle even if it’s just a little more than before – go for a walk, start making fresh meals, do a little yoga; all of this stuff keeps my mind in check and looks after the body also. And I say this a lot, as a writer and person YOU CAN DO IT! Because I did and continue to do so! 

Thanks for reading. Hello to new followers. Those who have been tuning in and are part of the writing community, I shall be putting up my Bookbub promo results this week! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nutrition post: Are you what you eat?

Famously ‘you are what you eat’ was said by somebody sometime and diets are a big thing these days. With the emergence of more diabetics, heart disease patients and obesity; eating right has never been more in the spotlight. Social media, the modern tool of society heightens it further.

If we are so aware of what eating ‘wrong’ can do then why are so many people’s health situations steadily declining?

I ask this from experience because nearly ten years ago I checked myself into hospital with rather severe chest pains. They gave me a gown and hooked me up to several measuring devices. During that time inside I was immensely worried. Anyone else would be. Many questions were asked and the conclusion they came to was digestive related. Acid to be precise. They prescribed me pills and I went away.

Over the last ten years I have suffered from acid reflux related problems and the start of this year particularly has been quite bad. I would like to state that I am not over weight and neither do I eat that ‘badly’. Being on acid stopping pills can only do so much and that is where society comes in because the nature of eating is going wrong.

You can only throw so many treatments and pills at somebody but after all that it still won’t work.

After some extensive research I can say that I am not eating ‘badly’ but neither I am eating the right things that counter acts the over production of acid within the stomach.

Everyone is different so we all have to find our own healthy mediums. But here I am at 25 having to drastically change my diet. Why? Because I was never aware or told what certain foods can do once inside the body.

Many times I have visited the doctor and not once have been really informed what is causing my reflux. Without shaming or blaming my doctor they can only do so much in a few minutes they get to diagnose and send me on my way.

But that is the problem as a whole, people are just not informed by what food really does to you. Top athletes will all say that nutrition is just as important as training and yes they can put percentages on the packaging but that still doesn’t clarify what’s happening on the inside.

I’m using myself as a case study here and it isn’t to give out diet advice and how to loose weight but simply to the lift the lid on this subject of what different foods really do to you.

The internets is a world of resource and to me is the greatest tool of the modern man, for information. Here’s what I already knew: I have an acid problem, it’s painful and uncomfortable. The acid can spread to other areas of the body and can cause weird pains.

From many google searches and from remembering school science I came across something called the PH scale. A measure of how acidic or alkaline something is. This includes food.

food ph

Now we are getting somewhere. But my findings concluded that what I eat on a regular basis doesn’t do enough to balance the stomach’s PH scale. Below is my now defunct usual weekday diet.

Wake UP – No breakfast, Cup of tea

10am Yoghurt, Cup of tea

12 – Lunch – sandwich, tomato soup and (or) tomato pasta and fruit, cup of tea or canned carbonated drink

1400 – Yogurt

1500 – Black coffee

1800- After gym snack – Usually glass of milk

1830 – Cup of tea

1930 – Dinner (large meal)

From the list above there isn’t much that actually acts as an alkaline in the stomach. Some of you will recognise the dairy part of my diet and research suggests that most dairy products remain neutral to the scale. So there I have been eating mostly acidic foods and trying to neutralise my stomach with yoghurt, which at best will only tip the scale back to neutral. That is until I have bread or pasta and then my pre gym coffee the scale goes back to acidic. Another conclusion is too many hot drinks and the larger meal at the end of the day. Right now I am suffering from tea withdrawal but that’s part of the struggle.

It would seem I was on a constant loop but then it gets a little more complicated. My understanding of food and what it does has been completely changed. Because foods can be defined as alkaline or acid forming. An example and this blew my mind:

Lemons although incredibly sour and contain citric acid are actually alkali forming inside the stomach.

Mind blown, I’ve been doing this all wrong.

Mind blown

 

Then my research concluded:

Most dairy is acid forming in the stomach!

These two examples show even a layman like me honestly has no idea about nutrition and what foods do once within.

A healthy stomach is one within the center of the ph scale. Having a one sided acidic diet over time can cause problems. But the outlook is good because most alkali foods are well known vegetables and fruits. They are largely available and normally quite cheap. On my studies I found a rather nifty website with some decent info.

Of course before changing a diet drastically talk to a doctor and remember balance is key.  Your thoughts? Do you have a strict diet or do you eat whatever you like?