Well it’s become painfully obvious over the last few months – yes, coeliacs can eat cake, but only in moderation. As you may have seen from previous posts, I’ve been struggling with ballooning weight since my diagnosis last year, and I have tried to “diet” but it really wasn’t happening. I tried the “alternate day diet” – that lasted about a week and I tried simply “cutting-down” but that didn’t work either. However for the last few months I’ve been seriously counting calories with the help of a great little free website called Food Focus (http://www.foodfocus.co.uk.) It really is scary just how many calories you can eat without realising it. GF cakes, biscuits, bread and even crackers are loaded with calories and it’s so easy to use up your daily allowance before you’ve even had your dinner.
So I’ve been reducing the amount of “Free From” foods I consume and eating a lot more fruit, vegetables and protein. I don’t think I necessarily eat a lot less but I certainly eat better! I’ve also been exercising an awful lot more. I’m very lucky as where I’m working at the moment has a free gym and classes (Zumba, Pilates etc), so I’m really taking advantage of it while I can. It was really hard at first, puffing and sweating in the classes and feeling so clumsy when I used to be able to do it all much more easily, but I persevered and now I am looking forward to the classes. I’ve also been walking my dog much more regularly, tending my allotment and I’ve even used my Wii Fit a few times. Now I feel I am improving every week and certainly think I look better in the wall to wall mirrors at the gym studio!.
I peaked at my maximum weight several months ago now and I’m pleased to have lost about 10lb over the last three or four months. I won’t pretend it’s been easy because it hasn’t, everyday is a struggle and some days are write-offs (like the weekend I recently spent with my parents where the food was so good and I was so naughty! (see http://whosayscoeliacs.com/2011/10/29/marzipan-jewel-cake/). And you can’t go to the seaside without getting candy floss and honeycomb (so pleased to find some that didn’t have flour on it – I just had to buy it!) But, as long as the good days outnumber the bad, I’m winning and I thought it might be useful to give you my personal top tips for losing weight without crash dieting, and getting back in shape:
- Don’t have GF bread products at every meal (ie toast with breakfast, crackers with lunch AND bread-sticks with dinner). At least try to cut down and only have 1 slice, instead of two, or half a roll with your breakfast, and the other half with your lunch.
- Don’t eat a whole pizza – just eat half and fill the rest of the plate with salad. Put the other half in the freezer for another day.
- Eat more protein, eg meat, cheese, eggs or nuts as they will fill you up for longer.
- Eat more vegetables, raw if possible, and try some new ones. This will help with your 5-a-day too.
- Save cakes and biscuits for a little treat in the afternoon or after dinner but only eat half what you would normally eat – over a week, that saving in calories really adds up.
- Avoid fizzy drinks and high calorie drinks like latte or milkshakes and increase your water intake.
- Don’t drink too much fresh juice (it has quite a few calories) instead eat the whole fruit, or try a smoothie occasionally.
- Increase the quality and reduce the quantity of what you eat, eg use real butter rather than low fat spread, but use it sparingly.
- Don’t put butter on toast or sandwiches when you don’t really need it, eg with beans on toast or with egg mayo sandwiches – this saves quite a few calories.
- Count the calories in EVERYTHING you eat, if you don’t, you are only fooling yourself and you won’t lose weight.
- Exercise more – attend classes if you can, but do something you enjoy, even cooking and gardening help burn calories. If you have a Wii Fit or similar program – use it!
- Build exercise into your daily life – take the stairs not the lift, walk up and down the escalators, get off the train or bus a stop before yours and walk the rest of the way.
- Don’t eat just because you’re bored or out of habit – try to identify when you do, and find an alternative – go for a quick walk or treat yourself to a magazine or a new nail varnish.
- If you really must eat, make it something healthy like the new snacks from www.graze.com – fantastic little pots of dried fruit, nuts and other delicious things (just click on this link http://www.graze.com/p/ZPG444R to get a free sample box to try – they seem to have a very good understanding of what’s gluten-free and what’s not )
- Get some inspiration – try buying a few magazines like “Women’s Fitness” or “Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness.” Just reading the stories about what other people have achieved can give you the push you need.
- Don’t give up – if you eat 4 biscuits with your tea one day, don’t think “Oh, what’s the point, I might as well eat the whole pack now.” Put the rest away and resolve to do better tomorrow.
- And you don’t think you can remember all that, just repeat this simple statement to yourself several times a day and it will soon become habit:
“Eat Less – Move More”