For as long as I’ve been baking people have been asking me the same question.
“How do you not eat it all?”
The truth is, I used to. And I looked like this:
I was 2 and a half stone heavier than I am now, a lot on my 5ft 3 frame, and I thought that ice cream was a food group.
I was unhappy with how I looked and had a very dysfunctional relationship with food. I would binge, eating nothing but chocolate for days, and then feel awful and live off nothing but lettuce for the next week.
Six long years later, I am finally happy (most days) with my relationship with food. It’s a constant balancing act, but there’s loads of things that make it easier to live a healthy lifestyle and still enjoy yourself.
I try to live by the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I eat healthy, clean, nutritious whole foods.
The other 20% I stuff my face with Ben and Jerrys, Starbucks Frappes and Fudge cake.
2. Throw The Scales in the Bin
I used to weigh myself twice a day.
My favourite trick was to get on the scales in Boots wearing 6 inch heels to trick it into thinking I was 5ft 9 so my BMI would go down.
Once you stop defining your self worth by the number on the scale, things get a whole lot easier.
Plus, when you start exercising, it becomes pointless anyway. For me, the scales wouldn’t budge even though I felt smaller. Sometimes I even put ON weight. Then I found out why:
3. Get Off Your Bum.
I am not a sporty person. Before loosing weight, the last pair of trainers I owned were a pair of pink G-Units my Mum bought me in year 8.
So when I fell in love with running, I was more surprised than anyone.
I started by running 5k, then 10, and before I knew it I was an avid gym goer never missing 3 times a week.
When I got a bit fed up of the treadmill I climbed mountains, went for a swim, tried canoeing, played football in the park and hired bikes in the forest.
But you don’t have to trek up Snowdon to get active. Take the stairs instead of the lift, download a pedometer app like Steps to track how far you walk each day, sign up for a Colour Run with your mates.
Each day, your fitness will improve and the pounds will start to drop off.
4. Drink Up
By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
And at that point, your body will crave any water it can get even if it’s from a greasy fry up.
Try to aim for 2 litres a day (that’s around 8 glasses). I do this by always having a water bottle with me.
If I get hungry, I drink a bottle of water and wait 20 mins. If I’m still hungry after that time, I have something to eat. You’ll be amazed how many times a drink will do.
Apps like Waterlogged can help you track your hydration throughout the day.
5. Give Yourself a Break
If I have a day where I accidentally eat a whole packet of biscuits, I don’t beat myself up. It happens.
And sometimes I chuffing well enjoy it.
Live is for living, food is for enjoying and you are only human. Tomorrow will be a better day.
6. Au Natural
If something has a zillion different ingredients you can’t pronounce on the label, chances are it’s bad for you. No matter how “fat free” it claims to be.
Every week the media comes out with a new story.
“I lost 4 stone eating only Mars Bars!”
“Diet Coke now worse for you than Full Fat”
Rather than complicate matters, I try and stick to natural, unprocessed, whole foods. More often than not, you get a lot more bang for your buck.
As long as I stick to a whole food diet, I don’t bother to look at the calories. I treat food as fuel for my workouts and the rest of the day.
A great tip is to “Perimeter Shop”, avoiding the middle aisles stuffed full of processed foods.
7. Fat Don’t Make You Fat Honey
I used to be obsessed with everything fat free.
0% fat? Why not eat 10 of them?!
Then I would wonder why buy lunchtime I was ravenous. The chances are, my “fat free” treat was pumped full of sugar. This article from LifewithGreens explains why.
Slowly, I started learning about food and nutrition and realised that fat is a necessary and important part of a balanced diet.
Healthy fats like avocados, eggs, nut butters, salmon and nuts fill you you up and leave you feeling satisfied and full for longer.
8. Cut The Crap
Some things, I just won’t eat. These include:
- Fast Food- I just feel so terrible and sluggish afterwards it’s really not worth it to me.
- Take-Aways– If I can make a fresher, yummier alternative at home in minutes, why bother?
- Fizzy Drinks- Diet or not, there’s no way those bad boys are good for you.
- Deep Fried Stuff- The healthier you eat, the more the idea of dipping something in lard makes you want to vom.
Don’t get me wrong, I AM NOT PERFECT.
There are some things I just cannot part with. My daily Starbucks being one of them.
So instead, I allow myself a syrup coffee every other day and I gave it up this year for Lent.
Small changes is the important message here. DO NOT TRY AND GIVE EVERYTHING UP AT ONCE. Loose one bad habit from your diet a month and it will seem like less of a big deal.
9. Get Digital Help
MyFitnessPal is a great starting point if you are looking to drop a few pounds. Easy to use, this online calorie counter monitors your diet and exercise habits in one place.
You pop in your foods from a choice of 2 million inputs (via a snazzy barcode scanner if you like) and it gives you are breakdown of your nutritional targets each day.
I would say that although this is great to get you started, it can become addictive, so once you feel more comfortable with your routine relax a little and trust your instincts.
10. Get Creative
And now for the baked goods!
There are HUNDREDS of websites dedicated to healthy baking recipes. Here are a few of my favourites.
You will find with a few basic ingredients you can substitute all the bad stuff and make a really tasty treat.
The most important thing of all is EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL.
It’s not about being skinny, it’s about be STRONG AND HEALTHY so you can be the best you you can be!