I have received lots of emails from well-meaning readers over the years who think I’m too hard on myself (and them!) about food because I sometimes write about resisting temptation and cutting back on calories. I do appreciate these emails (and I always reply to them) but I will never apologise for or stop talking about portion control and sensible eating. There are hundreds of thousands of people who struggle every day with making healthy choices and resisting the urge to eat whatever the hell they fancy for dinner every night. I’m one of them. I love food and I’m very good at over-eating.
In the last few years, I’ve really got on top of my eating by cutting way back on sugar and eating low carb high-fat foods but occasionally old habits sneak up and I find a lot of ‘sometimes’ foods sneaking up and becoming ‘everyday’ foods. Like I’ll have an Atkins low carb chocolate bar every now and then but I try not to have them every day. Why? Artificial sweeteners aren’t great and I also don’t want to get into the habit of having something sweet every day. If I stop concentrating my once a fortnight treat becomes a once a week treat which then becomes a twice on the weekend treat… you see where I’m going with this.
If I stop concentrating, my eating habits can very questionable very quickly. Here’s what I do when I want to cut back on the amount of crap I’m eating…
1. Don’t make crap your only option
If the easiest place to get food near your work is a service station or a greasy food truck and you buy your lunch every day, you’ve set yourself up for failure. It’s totally fine to grab a schnitzel sandwich once every few weeks when you’re running low on groceries but avoid putting yourself in situations where you have to make poor choices daily. Pack healthy snacks, pre-prepare your meals and don’t put yourself in a position where you’re forced to have fried stuff every day.
2. Pay attention to how gross you feel when you eat crap
Without fail, I always feel sluggish, headachey and full of regret whenever I overdo it on non-nourishing foods. I feel great after one Tim Tam… after five Tim Tams, I wish there was a place you could go to safely and painlessly have food extracted from your body. If you’ve overdone it on snacks and sweets, pay attention to how gross you feel and remember that feeling next time you’re considering eating a whole packet of Maltesers.
3. Think quality over quantity
If you absolutely adore wine and can’t think of anything better than having a glass of beautiful merlot with your dinner, don’t waste calories on a big handful of yucky jelly beans at morning tea. Calories are like money so make sure you spend them on things you love, rather than things that just happen to be there.
4. Be calm and rational
Try not to over think it. If you’ve made a decision to cut back on sugar, just own it and do it. Not having a piece of cake at morning tea isn’t going to ruin your day unless you let it. Just take a deep breath, make yourself a cup of tea, say ‘No thanks!’ and don’t give it another thought.
5. Don’t give in to peer pressure
If your friend is hungover and wants to order a giant plate of chips, that’s totally fine but you can still order something healthy. If you’re trying to cut back on drinking but one of your mates wants to go on a bender, you don’t have to do it with them. You are actually the boss of your own body and you get to decide what goes in it… not your mate who’s having a last-minute blow out before she starts a giant diet the next day.