Not so sweet tooth!

I have always thought of myself as someone with a massive sweet tooth and weakness for anything chocolate based, cakes, biscuits and puddings, but have been hugely surprised about how quickly I have changed my eating habits over the last week …
One of the biggest things I am just starting to learn is995dbe11b2c0977579e8b53a0f4c77d3
Fat is not the enemy… in fact I am eating more high fat foods that ever before … Avocados, Nuts, oily fish….Sugar is in fact the enemy and I am trying where possible to avoid it in all its processed forms and also be mindful of my intake of natural sugars too.
The first couple of days where the worst and I actually felt as though my body was going through some withdrawal-crippling headaches and waking up in the night really hot and a bit shaky. I can only attribute these symptoms to the drastic change in my diet and feeding my body clean and natural foods as opposed to the rubbish it received before.
I persevered in the hope that I could retrain my palate and ultimately improve my health…what do they say ‘no pain, no gain’! Now though, 1 week on I feel fantastic and am finding it easy to substitute highly sugary breakfasts for a filling smoothie, delicious breakfast pot or Avocado and poached egg on toast. If I’m really hungry instead of reaching for a biscuit I have a stash of nuts and seeds,  raw fruit and nut bars, and even gluten-free oat cakes which are delicious topped with raw cashew nut butter. It’s also surprising that by actually cooking your meals from scratch and using fresh produce and not packet sauces or flavourings that you can eliminate a lot of these sugars that are hidden away in a lot of shop brought foods. Also avoiding white starchy carbs laden with hidden sugars such as white bread, white rice, white pasta and even potatoes.I have found great substitutes gluten-free whole-wheat bread, brown rice, whole-wheat brown pasta and noodles and sweet potatoes – YUM! 
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Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement!

Change 2 – Preparation

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Preparation is key in every area of life really and with my busy working week it is essential, otherwise when I’m stuck in meetings or can’t leave the office to grab lunch, I’ll revert to the quick and easy temptation of biscuits or other convenience foods to quickly quash the hunger pangs.

I went on a BIG shop at the start of the week and bought some essentials for the week which have included:

  • Avocado
  • Salad leaves
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
    Kale
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Berries
  • Oranges
  • Kiwi
  • Coconut Oil – for cooking an alternate to other vegetable / sunflower oils.
  • Coyo coconut yoghurt (Dairy free alternative)
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk and Coconut Milk
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Dried Prunes
  • Gluten free Oats
  • Genius Gluten Free Bread
  • Eggs
  • Cashew Nut Butter

This has enabled me to prepare my breakfast and lunch the night before so there has been no opportunity for excuses or slip ups!

So far this week some of my favourites have been …

Breakfast Smoothie

Handful of frozen berries

A portion of green veg ( I have tried spinach and cucumber so far)

Pea Protein Powder – a generous scoop

Liquid – a combination of water and unsweetened Almond Milk

Blend it up to your desired consistency and bottle it up – Yum! And perfect to swig away at on the commute to work

Breakfast pot – a recipe from Amelia Freer

½ cup gluten-free oats
Almond milk
Zest and juice of 1 orange (optional)
berries
Coyo coconut yoghurt
seeds to sprinkle on top. (I also like to add a couple of chopped nuts such as walnuts or brazils and a chopped dried prune)

Method

Soak the oats in the milk, orange juice and zest for 3-4 hours or overnight
Spoon the mixture into a pot
Add 2 tbsp coconut yoghurt
Then sprinkle the fruit and add seeds to finish

 

More tea Vicar?

Week 1

Week 1 has come off the back of a week off from work. I didn’t go away but spent the week at home with my boyfriend doing ‘housey-things’ and indulging in whatever food and drink I wanted. We had take-away pizza, cinnamon swirls for breakfast, went out for dinner a couple of nights and shared a bottle of wine most nights too!

Starting back at work I thought this is the time to break the habit so I have come back to work with a fresh outlook on things, and to make gentle and sustainable changes to my diet over the coming weeks which I can not only sustain but build and improve on week after week. I didn’t want to revert back to old habits of extremity and adopt a full throttle approach to this as I believe it would end in failure.

Change number 1 – Caffeine

I love tea – but I think a lot of my tea consumption comes out of boredom or habit in truth.

Typical day

Cup 1 – getting ready before I leave the house

Cup 2 – as soon as I get to the office

Cups 3 and 4 (and sometimes even 5) over the course of the morning at work

Cups 6 – 8 over the course of the working afternoon, followed by a cup at night while watching tele.

This results on average to a daily cup of tea consumption of between 7 – 8 cups! Ouch!

My reason behind looking to change this was first and foremost sleep. I have struggled with sleep particularly over the last year. I have put this down to stress as like many people my job impacts on my life more than I would like! And have instead tried to go to bed at a more reasonable time during the week – however my sleep can be chaotic and often interspersed with a lot of tossing and turning and gasping breathing according to my partner. I also often fall asleep a lot on the sofa or on a night out which I put down to being overworked and exhausted which is excellarated by a glass (or 2!) of wine.

In her book ‘Eat, Nourish, Glow’ Amelia suggests cutting down your caffeine intake. It’s not forbidden but we shouldn’t drink it to excess, so one of this weeks changes has been to limit myself to 2 -3 cups of tea in the morning and no tea beyond midday. And guess what I am on day 6 and so far (!) I have found this a simple and effective change

I have had 2 cups  each day made with unsweetened almond milk instead of cows milk, and then in the afternoon have had hot water with a slice of fresh lemon in. I think I need to give it longer to see the benefits but so far by boyfriend has said he has seen an improvement in my sleep, he’s definitely been elbowed a lot less and as a result he and I feel better for it! hehe!

A little bit about me…

I have battled with my weight from a young age…or at least I always thought I had…

At school I was taunted for being ‘fat’ and as a result I loathed my changing body. I recently dug out some old photos of myself and while there were many things wrong with me (bad hair, bad fashion, bad make-up and probably a bad attitude!) actually in retrospect my weight wasn’t really one of them!

However the damage was done from an early age and like many women the world over I have carried a turbulent relationship with food into adulthood.  In hindsight the real issues with my weight came in my early 20’s following a lazy, boozy student lifestyle I then slipped into the ‘comfort’ of a relationship and became content with the more ‘inflated’ version of myself.  For the last 10 years I have spent my time yo-yo’ing in weight but never really finding my ideal. I have attempted to be ‘good’ and seen this as limiting with boring, dry salads and low-fat processed foods which as we now know contain even more harmful sugars.  And then flipped to the extreme of seeking comfort or solace in food and bingeing on the forbidden … high fat processed foods, bags of chocolate and biscuits and then believed that there was ‘no point’ in eating healthy or going to the gym as I had so far to go to lose weight that it was easier to stay as I was.

My most recent epiphany has come from a year-long stint at Slimming World. Slimming World is fantastic and I won’t take anything away from it and the results it gives as it works and is sustainable and the support I received was fantastic, however I just don’t think that at this point in my life it was right for me. No matter how hard I tried I was caught in a vicious circle of losing weight one week, then thinking this gave me license to ‘treat’ myself …which sometimes I got away with on the scales – therefore I thought gave me license for further treats ‘well…if I’ve gotten away with it once…’ or if it did lead to a gain I would feel disappointed in myself and seek comfort in food. I was trapped in a cycle of lose a little, gain a little, lose the gain, maintain and then repeat! As a result over the last year all I have actually lost is half a stone of weight the rest fell victim to the cycle.

I realised that I was putting myself into self destruct, and these weekly meetings made me feel shameful and were almost doing more harm than good. I decided to step away from Slimming World but this time not under the guise that I would try, and most likely fail, to do the programme myself or look for the latest new fad diet or quick fix …but that I would take a long hard look at myself and my life and how I could make some changes for the future. Nothing drastic, no setting myself up for a fall but looking to make some significant changes in my diet and lifestyle that would ultimately improve my weight, my energy levels, my sleep (which I have suffered with dramatically over the last year or so) and ultimately my happiness.

I am at the start of this new and hopefully final journey to discover my relationship with food and what works for me and what doesn’t. My current inspiration is the book by nutritionist Amelia Freer ‘Eat, Nourish, Glow’ – which forced me to re-appraise the way I look at food and the way I use it or have actually been ‘abusing it’!  I want to seek inspiration from many sources on my journey – so my ongoing plan is to start making some of the small changes Amelia has recommended and then look to adapt these myself when I have more confidence that I can make the right choices for me, and seek inspiration in the journeys of others -proffessionals, friends, family, other bloggers, articles, books …

So my journey starts here. I hope you enjoy following it, and take something from it, whatever that may be! And I hope to hear from you with your comments or suggestions!