If you’ve wandered over to my about me page, you may know that one of the reasons I started this little blog of mine was to hold myself accountable. I was an overweight, unhealthy 49 year old, and I wanted to morph into a fit and fab 50 year old. I’m still on my journey, but I’m getting there and feel so much better about the way I look and feel.
Now I do wonder how many of you have looked through the posts on this blog and are saying to yourselves, “Well, she looks OK to me. She must have only been a few pound overweight.” Yeah, that’s not really the case as the before and after photographs show. You totally scrolled down to see the pics didn’t you? Or you’re dying to do so. Go on, have a peek, I’ll wait …………………………
Scary huh? I look as if I’ve eaten myself in the before pic.
I’ve had a few emails asking me how I shed the weight. I’ve already shared with you my 10 tips to give up junk food, and what I eat in an average week (when I’m working from home). I think some of you may be under the impression that I’ve found the holy grail of fad diets. In fact nothing could be further from the truth. I have never tried a fad diet – because fad diets do not work!
Will you lose weight? If you stick to whichever dodgy diet plan you’ve come across, probably. But as soon as you start eating your ‘normal’ food again you’ll put it back on – I know, I’ve seen many, many friends and relatives try and fail to lose weight this way.
So if you’re looking for a new, quick-fix diet plan, this is not the post for you. If you’re looking for a way to make life changes that will have a positive impact on not only how you look, but how you feel – then read on!
Above: Just call me Jabba
This Is How I Lost Weight Without Dieting
Getting healthy does not necessarily mean weighing, measuring and calorie counting your way through the day. Let’s face it, who’s got the time and the patience to do that?! Let’s simplify things and get right down to the fundamentals; because living a healthy life shouldn’t be complicated. In fact, it all comes down to these three strategies:
1. Eat a whole heap of vegetables
2. Do something active every day
3. Do the above at least 80% of the time
I believe that if you follow these three golden rules, you can’t help but get healthier. I call it Not That Weigh, This Way. It’s not a miracle weight loss plan, but if you follow it you will definitely become a fitter, healthier, slimmer version of yourself.
Here are a few questions I’ve been asked about this healthy eating attitude:
Can I only eat vegetables?
A: Nope, but you should make vegetables the foundation of your daily food consumption. And eat them first.
Am I allowed to eat meat?
A: Yep, just eat a whole heap of vegetables first. I tend to lean more towards fish and chicken, but I do enjoy red meat on occasion.
What about sweets? Chocolate? Cake?
A: Yep, just eat a whole heap of vegetables first.
Is fruit OK?
A: Yep, just eat a whole heap of vegetables first.
Can I have takeaways? Fast food? Burgers?
A: Yep, (although the chemicals in fast food are very addictive, so I personally avoid it) just eat a whole heap of vegetables first.
Am I allowed starchy veg, like potatoes?
A: Yep, just eat a whole heap of vegetables first. (Are you beginning to see a common thread to this post?)
So I seriously don’t need to count calories?
A: You can if you want to – I’m not the calorie police. But no, you don’t have to, not if you’re eating a whole heap of veggies first.
What vegetables should I eat? Should they all be superfoods?
A: Every vegetable that you consume is a superfood! Dark green leafy veg gets a gold star, but fill yourself up with a rainbow.
Should I juice my veggies?
A: Nope, eat them: raw, steamed, baked, stir fried, sautéed, add them to casseroles or throw them into smoothies
I hate vegetables, what should I do?
A: Most of our dislike of vegetables can be linked to our childhood. Being forced to eat the over-cooked, smelly cabbage in the school canteen, or encouraged to ‘eat your greens’ by parents can have a detrimental affect to your attitude to veg. I know people who never, ever eat veg – and that’s a really sad and unhealthy way to get your daily intake of fuel.
Try different ones and start off with the milder flavours. Try cooking them in different ways. Season them with different herbs. Take a wander around the fruit and veg aisle of your local supermarket and see what calls to you. Fill your basket with a rainbow and give them a try. If all else fails, hide them. Boil them then blitz them in a blender before adding to soups, chilis and casseroles.
What other foods should I eat?
A: Beans, fruits, lean protein, seeds, wholewheat grain, wholemeal bread, wholewheat pasta and a small amount of dairy – if you are trying to lose weight then add nuts and healthy oils in moderation.
How much is a ‘whole heap’?
A: It’s a scientific measurement 🙂 It actually means a helluva lot. When plating food at least a third of it should be filled with veggies. If you can manage two thirds then that’s better, three fourths means your a superstar!
Why do you recommend eating a whole heap off veggies?
A: Time after time vegetables come out on top during scientific research. They are the healthiest food type you can put in your body and have pretty much all the nutrients you need. Even weightloss diets (at least the more healthy ones) put vegetables at the forefront.
By filling your plate with veg and eating it first, you’ll be consuming far less of the ‘bad’ stuff, so you can’t help but get healthier. And if you also add activity to your daily life you can’t help but lose weight.
OK, I’ve got the whole heap of veg angle. But when you say ‘active’ what do you mean. Can you give me an example?
A: Simple – move! Go for a walk, play a sport, clean the house, climb the stairs, sort out a cupboard. Anything that gets you off the sofa and moving.
How long should I be active every day?
A: If you’re not used to exercise then not long – even 5 minutes a day is a good start. If you’re already pretty active, then you can up your game. If you usually do 30 minutes a day, go for 45. And do some intensive exercise at least once a week – anything that increases your heart rate. If you’re pretty active but not doing strength training, add some in.
What if I miss a day?
A: Just start again the next day.
Can I do the latest workout DVD?
A: Of course! Do whichever activity calls you. Just take it slowly at first.
And that’s it, that’s the basis for the Not That Way, This Weigh eating plan. But there are other actions you can take that will help you on your weight loss journey:
THE HUNGER SCALES
The key to eating a healthier diet, losing those unwanted pounds and keeping your body in tip top condition is to actually listen to it.
We all have an internal scale which governs our hunger – commonly known as the hunger scale.
Your aim should be to eat around the 3 or 4 mark. Eat sooner and you are eating for eating’s sake, leave it until 2 or 1 and you will trigger your body’s starvation mode. Alarm bells will start to ring within your system, which now believes that food is scarce.
This means that every, single, last scrap of fat that you consume will be held on to by your body ‘just in case’.
There are times when circumstances get in the way and you will not be able to avoid missing a meal. If this happens don’t sit down to a feast – take it slowly and eat something light.
If you are aiming to lose weight you should stop eating at around 5 to 6, for weight maintenance stop at 6 to 7. The aim is not to eat until you are full, rather to eat until you are not hungry. It’s a subtle difference, but it does get easier – when you start listening to your body.
Talking of listening to your body, ask yourself if you truly are hungry. It’s all too common to mistake dehydration for hunger, so try having a glass of water before you open the fridge door. Wait for around ten minutes then reassess your hunger.
While we’re on the subject of water – try to drink more of it. And for goodness sake stay away from fizzy drinks – they truly are the Devil’s brew! Yes, even diet soda!
You Are Not On A Diet
The most important thing to bear in mind is that the Not That Weigh, This Way healthy eating plan isn’t really a diet – it’s a sustainable, nutritious, delicious way of eating what you need to eat 80% of the time and what you want to eat 20% of the time. Food is to be enjoyed, savoured and shared with friends and family. Food is not the enemy – your attitude to food is. Enjoy the good things in life, just not every day and not all the time.
And remember this: we all look in the mirror and feel unhappy with what we see from time-to-time. But no matter what you may think the mirror says; you are a unique, remarkable human being and that makes you beautiful! Now let’s make you a more healthy, unique and remarkable human being!
Please note: I am not a qualified nutritionist, dietician or brain surgeon. The above is how I lost weight without dieting. I feel it’s all sensible stuff, but you should seek medical advice before embarking on any weight loss plan.