Eating to lose weight

HOW much are you eating, Erika?

So, my weight is coming off, I’m on course to lose quite a few pounds this week and I thought I’d share with you what I’m eating. I’d like to tell you that I’m eating copious amounts of fruit, veg, fish and lean meat but I’m not. You see, the biggest change I’ve made it about quantity. It can be very easy to guess how many calories we’re taking in but the results can be quite shocking.

Take this cereal for instance. When I see the box, I think it oozes wholesomeness and it must be super healthy Beforehand, I’d eat a huge bowl food (but dry! Yes, I don’t like milk). However, when I looked up the calories and weighed MY typical portion, I was horrified! What I now do is actually have this as a treat if I’m peckish in the afternoons (which is about every 3 weeks). I use a tiny white bowl to make it feel like I’m eating more and just pour in enough to cover its base…..resulting in a 88 calorie snack. Far better than the 750 I was consuming before!

One tip to start being aware of what you’re eating is to photo everything. Yes, photograph everything that goes in your mouth because reflecting on it at the end of the day can help you see where changes can be made.

I keep to around 1,200 calories a day because the key thing is to go into calorie deficit. The only way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories that you’re burning. Although I exercise and could theoretically treat myself whilst remaining in calorie deficit, I see that every workout means burning even more calories overall. But I have to put up my hands and admit that I don’t always get to 1,200 calories. Sometimes, I eat a lot less which is where I have to be careful not to slip back into anorexic behaviour. I’m working on this! 1,200 is my goal.

I love ready meals because they tell me how many calories I’m eating plus how much fat, etc.

This is one of my favourite ready meals right now as it’s under 400 calories. There’s no point eating healthily if it’s not tasty and I love food that smacks the taste buds and makes you feel full. The other thing I do is to eat food when it’s super hot. It takes me longer to eat and tricks my mind into thinking I’ve just had a huge meal.

And we had a takeaway tonight from our local Indian restaurant. I ordered half a portion of boiled rice and chicken tikka which comes without a heavy sauce but a yoghurt (which I poured half onto the chicken). So takeaways are allowed. It’s about making smart choices.

No sweet food

Some people can lose weight whilst merely cutting back on snacks like chocolate, biscuits and cakes. But I know myself well enough to know that this approach won’t work for me. I used to have a very sweet tooth and a packet of biscuits would soon disappear. But since cutting out all sweet food, I’m so much happier with savoury food and I can easily pass on biscuits when my family’s eating it. It’s a while until any family birthdays so let’s see if I can resist the temptation of cake then!

Intermittent fasting

When I started this journey, I made a concerted effort to eat breakfast despite never having really been a breakfast person. This was when I was eating the above cereal. However, I’ve restricted my eating hours from midday to 8pm. I can’t tell you how much this has helped me! You see, before I’d snack away all evening, often oblivious to what was going in my mouth. My pattern of eating is officially known as 16:8 intermittent fasting (IF) but there are different ways of doing such as having 2 very low calorie days a week. However, you still have to be in calorie deficit overall.

So, in a typical day, I’ll eat:

  • noon: lunch which is either a one-round sandwich on granary bread or an open sandwich (such as mackerel) on an open sandwich with one slice of bread.
  • afternoon: if I’m peckish, I’ll have the cereal treat, a cereal bar or piece of fruit
  • dinner around 6/7pm: usually meat with lots of veg. However, I may have other things like a personalised pizza with low fat cheese and topped with a bucket of rocket lettuce or mushrooms. I might have a ready meal. I might have a jacket potato with tuna and sweetcorn plus salad on the side.

And I don’t feel hungry. I’ve really upped how much water I’m drinking despite never being a water person. And the diet coke is now more of a treat…..I’m not getting rid of that completely!

At the end of the day, I think it’s about finding a way of eating that’s sustainable.

Anyway folks, I’ll be back on Monday with my next weigh-in. Before then, I’ll have run for 20 minutes non-stop as part of Couch to 5K and I’ve really got my fingers crossed that Monday’s going to be a huge result. I’m SO SO close to no longer being morbidly obese!

Love Erika xx