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Wednesday 21 November 2018

Finding Mary #3 - Food For Thought

As I've already said, I think a dramatic shift in attitude pulls us through significant changes.  It gives us the wherewithal to know instinctively what needs to be done and the positivity to keep at it.   So what I'm eating these days to lose weight seems almost insignificant by comparison to my change in attitude.

That said, I'd like to share briefly today some of the new eating habits to which I've quickly adapted and which work for me.
Grab yourself a cuppa a thermos flask because I lied about the "briefly" part!

I'm not on a diet.

That's important, I'm not on a diet - I'm taking a new and easy, kind and sustainable approach to eating.

My eating plan has evolved, gently.
Evolved to suit me, my lifestyle, my way of doing things.

This works for me, it may not be suitable for you - you know what I'm going to say eh?  Seek medical advice when making any change to your eating or exercise routine!

Reduce fuel without feeling deprived.

I reduce the quantity and type of food I eat, conscious that good stuff is fuelling my body, like self-burnng  protein.  Simple.
Simple is sustainable, so I aim for an average calorie intake over time rather a draconian daily number.

I've settled on 200-ish cals per meal as being the magic number for me.  By keeping my meals to around 200-300 cals on most days, I have calories left over for Coffee Mate in my coffee, maybe an extra piece of fruit, a bedtime water Ovaltine, and still keep within a average of around 1000 cals daily.
1000 cals may be considered too low a daily intake, but it gives me wriggle room for more relaxed days when I have meals out with free choice from the menu, or maybe beans on toast if I want comfort food.  

My unscientific "ish" approach to calorie counting and the more relaxed days when I consume more than 1000 cals together work to average out to a number suitable for my height, weight, age, lifestyle etc.

Like this, I even have room in the budget for a 25cl bottle of Sancerre at the weekend if I fancy it!

That plan has evolved and works for me.  I don't feel I'm depriving myself but simply averaging out at the relatively low number of calories that my slow metabolism needs to lose weight.

Light touch, easy, flexible, sustainable.

Breaking this down through to the bite-sizes 200 cal number makes my life easier, it's fixed in my head.
I'm relaxed about each day's consumption of fuel because I know the numbers all pan out over time.

Importantly, my doctor is happy with this approach.

Keeping it Light Touch makes my approach sustainable.

Start the day with good intentions, taking one meal at a time.

With a few exceptions, I start day with a shake.
Fruity.  Fortified.  (More on this in another post).

This little blender beauty has been my life saver these past few months.  If you haven't got one, I seriously suggest you click on this link now and pop one in your basket!

 Starting well means if I'm a bit naughtier during the day then at least I've kept one meal within my 200 cal limit.  And each frugal meal is a credit ringing up in my weight-loss account!

I take things one meal at a time.

Be kind to yourself, don't put a ban on things you enjoy, just eat them less and in lesser amounts.

I eat what I want, and compensate before or after when I know I will be consuming or have consumed too many calories. Small tweaks.  
Sometimes I use meal replacement foods for convenience or when I want to be more exact with my calorie intake on these holier compensation days.

And it's small-plate magic that carries me through on days I want something less than holy.

I keep things flexible.  Relaxed.   Light Touch.
A little of what you fancy does you good.

Know your ball-park calories

I call them ball-park because I don't weigh or measure.  Nothing terrible happens if the 250 cals I think I'm eating is actually 350 !!!
I keep it Light Touch.

I take photos of plates that I've added up the  calories on - I then need to do this just once (you DO know I'm lazy, don't you?!!)

Create a store of no-thinking  go-to meals.

I have mostly been eating tea-plate sized meals, hovering just around the 200 cal mark.  Tuna, prawn, chicken, eggs - protein.  Vegatables.

Make life easy. Take photos of the everyday meals you enjoy!
Here are some examples of pretty instant go-to meals which check in at under 300 cals.

A slice of black bread scraped with butter, a slice of Havarti, a tomato, a little chopped red onion.   In touch with my Danish roots!

I love nursery food fish fingers!  So I have them when I really fancy them.  Here are four served rather unattratively but yummily and with a pile of veg and a dollop of salad cream (a third of the calories of mayo).

So, in order to eat well and low cal, carbs have to stop being the norm.
Do I miss my daily bread?  No.
Do I miss my daily potatoes?  No.
It's all about establishing new norms, new habits,  but I do have bread or potatoes when I really crave them - no deprivation, remember.

I haven't walked away from my eating plan after eating restaurant chips or the odd profiterole - I just relax, I haven't ruined everything!

Let her eat Birthday Cake!

Instead, I remember that my more frugal days compensate for when I want to eat in a more relaxed, off-duty way.  It's all about balance, averages.  Light Touch.

An eating plan of less carbs, more protein has evolved.

I didn't plan it that way, it just panned out like that.  But there will be days when I want something slightly stodgier.  For example, if I want to eat to stodgier salad, I keep the stodge small and savour the taste of each stodgy mouthful.

I eat what I want, but the portions don't need to be big.  Here, the naughtier end of the salad spectrum (pasta, cheese with a little mayo)  is kept to smaller sizes, served with prawns and egg and on a tea plate.

A little of what you fancy does no harm!

And that's some of the nitty-gritty you asked for, folks!
Is anything here of any help?
 There's no magic involved, no rocket science, just a relaxed way of eating differently.  And being easy on myself. 

Make It Easy On Yourself

A la perchoine,

Eating out. Fortified meals. Movement. Mindlessness.
Losing my obsession with the scales!


  1. So sensible and achievable Mary, particularly your attitude that when you've eaten a little more at a restaurant, you haven't ruined everything. Thanks for joining the link up.

    1. Thanks, Gail, one of the big changes I've made is exactly that - all is not lost if I eat a few hundred calories more at a sitting, I just get back in the saddle and adjust my nosebag accordingly!
      Hugs and keep warm, x.

  2. It's nice to find an eating routine that works for you, I'm back on the keto diet since returning from the 'all you can eat, all inclusive holiday' on Wednesday. I certainly did eat & drink all I could - lol. It's actually nice to come home and not feel I have to eat. Although I am missing the Pina Coladas by the pool. And the staff in this hotel are rather rude and lazy... ha ha ha. Jacqui Mummabstylish

    1. Haha, Jacqui, better sort out your staff! I like hearing that you've easily returned to your keto eating plan, it shows it's truly embedded as a habit now. And I picked up on what you say about feeling like you HAD to eat and I'm guessing the food was notch and presented beautifully. But you enjoyed it and sounds like you had a right royal pampering too!! When on a mini cruise last year I realised that I should have tried the all you can eat/drink concept 10-20 years ago whilst I was able, it's wasted on those of a certain age so enjoy it whilst you're still young, before Gavescon becomes your tipple of choice!too
      Hugs, happy weekend, x.

  3. Your approach is a good one and I love that you are not on a diet and you don't feel deprived. The best part is that your doctor is pleased as well! You are looking younger and younger my friend! Hugs to you and sweet TP!

    1. Oh you are so charmingly kind, sweet sista, thank you!
      Yes, I realise only now that "diet" tells me I'm punishing myself and therefore is only sustainable short term. What I need to lose can only happen with a shift in attitude creating long-term changes.
      I'm guessing you are having a whale of a weekend, enjoy your blogging break too! Hugs, x.

  4. Hi Mary!
    Congrats again on embarking on this way of eating- I don't beleive in cutting whole food groups etc, and love that you enjoy foods that you want to eat, just in less quantities. Deprivation doesnt work.
    I know what you mean about attitude. I had to change my attitude about my disease, or else I would have ended up lying in bed all day!
    All very good points. Sounds/looks like you are doing great!
    thanks for linking!
    jess xx

    1. Thanks Jess. Yes, being kind to yourself instead of punishing yourself seems to be the way to go. Look at you, looking and feeling so great after so many years with a health issue. Well done you!!!
      And thanks for hosting.
      Hugs and have a great rest of week, x.

  5. An amazing food plan. I was was doing so well until I got a new flatmate. (sigh). The 200-300 calories per meal is so clever. I need to "save" calories as I have a dinner, a breakfast and at least one cafe visit, all out, each week.

    1. Thanks, Ratnamurti. I get the new flatmate thing. I have to be "unsociable" and say that I will focus on my needs now to make this work and he needs to fend for himself! That works for me, clarifying needs and intentions then not creating shared meals as a daily default gets him on my side!
      Hope this helps, hugs x.