There is a Twitter account called ‘Food Porn’…you really would think that I would know better by now, wouldn’t you?!
But no, I just had to open a couple of their pictures…one was ‘Caramel Kiss Brownies’ and the other was ‘Peanut Butter Cup Cookies’…argh! They did something for me, but it wasn’t until I opened ‘Barbecued Apricot Pork Ribs’ and ‘The Big Tex Chicken Club Sandwich’…well, let’s just say that Big Tex certainly did it for me!
Temptation, or even a hint of temptation – such as a marvellously photographed work of art…bit of food porn – can set my mind off in a direction that I do not want it to go. And as for you Slimming World folks who use the ‘nothing is off limits on Slimming World’ argument…bollocks – I reckon one bite of the Caramel Kiss Brownie would have enough syns to keep my whole group going for a day or two…and who on earth has just one bite?! So whilst nothing is off limits on Slimming World, if you have the Superman-like mind of steel to ensure that you just have a sliver of brownie, then you are a better person that I am. And please don’t feel the need to send me brownie recipes using half a tonne of sweetener and seven eggs for a syn – I don’t do that kind of food!
There was a moment last week when I wanted to reach down the phone and strangle Mr WLB with my bare hands. He had gone into Asda and was walking around the store giving me a running commentary. “Ooohh!”, he said. “They have some new pies…”, and proceeded to reel off a list of flavours. What was he thinking?! Savoury items – especially those that included pastry – were my downfall…I could ignore ice cream and chocolate, but a sausage roll or a pasty…it did not stand a chance of escaping my clutches!
There was a point in time that all I had to do was watch an advert. That advert would have me craving whatever food product it was advertising…I was a food advertising execs dream! I would instantly have to go and buy that item, and if not instantly then I would be thinking about it all night – to the point that sleep eluded me often. It was crazy. A picture in a magazine, a billboard advert, a fast food sign…they would all bury themselves in my mind and I would have to take action.
Yet I don’t have this problem now. And I am going to spend some time thinking about why I don’t…and see if I can work out how to help a fellow advert-crazy do the same thing!
In the meantime, I remember reading an online article by the folks at Readers Digest which gave some tips to avoid food temptation. I got the distinct feeling that the person who wrote the article had never really had food ‘issues’…also, it’s an article angled for the American market…so you might have no clue of some of the food mentioned – I strongly advise against Googling these items, as you might end up viewing even more food porn!
1. It’s birthday-cake time at work
Passing on your colleague’s cake looks as curmudgeonly as refusing to sing ‘Happy Birthday,’ but it’s hard to celebrate the 300 calories, about half from fat, packed into a simple slice of store-bought frosted yellow cake. The socially acceptable way out is to ask for a thin slice, and then eat a small number of bites you’ve decided on beforehand, says dietician Elizabeth Somer, author of Eat Your Way to Happiness. You’re most likely to keep your promise to yourself, adds Somer, if you’ve eaten right all day, without ‘saving room’ for cake. Another calorie-saving trick: leave the icing on your plate and just eat the cake. And while most office parties involve soda, skip it and bring a full coffee mug.
I remember being told to imagine maggots crawling on cake. Simple…I wouldn’t want the cake apparently. However, my argument was that the fecking maggots would not have a chance to get to the cake as I would already have eaten it. As for the above advice…’socially acceptable’…what bollocks. Being a huge fat person is not socially acceptable, and as much as I would love to think that attitudes will change to the point that anyone and everyone is accepted…I am not sure we will ever reach that utopia. So feck socially acceptable! If you are serious about losing weight and avoiding food temptations, then just say ‘NO’. I haven’t liked most of the people I have worked with, and so have no problem in appearing ‘curmudgeonly’ as Readers Digest so eloquently put it…I would rather refer to it as appearing to be a miserable bitch! Seriously though…if you give in to offers of cake just to appear ‘nice’ then you are highly unlikely to ever reach your target as there will always be someone offering you cake, chocolates, a biscuit…just learn to exercise your mouth in a different way and practice saying ‘NO!’
2. Your best pal wants to go out for ice cream
Remember when the two of you used to gorge on late-night sundaes? That was back when your metabolism could shake off 1,360 calories and 89 grams of fat — the going rate for a banana split at Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops. Liz Brenna, the self-described ‘p.r. chick’ at B&J headquarters, points out that the premium-cream pioneer has beefed up its line of fruit smoothies. While their 20-ounce ‘Life’s a Beach’ mango smoothie is made only with fruit, sorbet and fruit juice, it still clocks in at 360 calories. For true nostalgic glow (and a few more grams of fat), choose a 3-ounce kiddie cone. At that size, most of the 30 ice-cream flavors hover around 220 calories. Better yet, go with frozen yogurt or sorbet, which range from 100 to 160 calories — and little or no fat.
Okay…can you see the bit that I struggle with here? Your ‘best pal’ wants to go out for ice cream. Your ‘best pal’…your ‘best pal’ who should be supporting your weight loss journey…and if they aren’t, then I would seriously question the usage of the words ‘best’ and ‘pal’. If your friend cared about you and your feelings and your weight loss desires then they would eat fecking ice cream way out of your vicinity. So whilst the advice to choose sorbet or frozen yogurt is good, instead of browsing the ice creams on offer I would be browsing the market for a new ‘best pal’ if your current one insists on taking you out for a sweet treat. Go and get a massage together, or get your nails done instead!
3. You really, really want a beer
Whether in a tavern, at the beach, or in your workshop, a frosty bottle of beer is often exactly what the situation calls for. So have one! The most refreshing, easy-to-drink beers are the highly carbonated, lower alcohol ‘lite’ brews. If you haven’t tasted one lately, they’ve gotten far more flavorful. Pabst makes an Extra Light Low Alcohol beer with only 67 calories, but even a good ol’ Miller Lite comes in under 100 calories. As a rule the darker the beer, the more calories, so if your yen is for craft-beer flavor, stick to the trendy new wheat and white (‘weiss’) beers and avoid higher alcohol ales, even so-called ‘pale’ ones.
This one I will never understand as I am not a drinker. So I have no advice here. To me beer and ale all tastes and looks like a urine specimen…not that I have ever gone all out for a drink of the pale yellow stuff, or dark brown if you are dehydrated. I don’t drink. I can’t ever imagine needing a drink that badly that I would jeopardise my hard work for it. I would rather have some water. As I said, I am greatly lacking understanding in the area of drink. My old usual tipple was a double vodka with a shot of tequila and diet coke…I was never in it for the palate experience…just the getting drunk quickly and dancing on a podium experience!
4. You have only a few minutes to grab a meal
Don’t assume a fast-food drive-thru is an automatic no-no. True, a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese clocks in at 740 calories, more than half of them from fat. But the big boys have begun to grasp that customers want some reasonable options: ’395 calorie meal for $3.95′ read one sign outside a fast food franchise recently, and Taco Bell brags of its Fresco menu, including a 160-calorie grilled steak soft taco wrap with just 4.5 grams of fat. At McDonald’s you can get away with a salad, even one with meat, as long as you ‘avoid anything with the word ‘crispy’,’ says Somer. Just as important, choose a no-fat dressing. Also remember: no burgers bearing mayo-heavy sauces; skip the french fries; and low-fat milk or water rather than soda.
Yes, there are healthier options at fast-food joints. I have taken Mr WLB and my nephew to these places and eaten a bag of fruit. Personally, my preferred option is to pop into a supermarket and pick up a salad and a packet of chicken…simple, less temptation than going somewhere with the smell of burgers and chips. This is all about not putting yourself in situations when you might be tempted to eat ‘off plan’…so how about carrying a healthy snack with you for emergencies, and planning in advance. I often take a tub of cold couscous and salad out with me when I know we are going to be short of time…or I visit my jacket potato man and get very prescriptive about how I want it served – no butter, tuna without mayo, cottage cheese instead of ‘real’ cheese…you can once again exercise that mouth in a different way!
5. Your friend insists you meet at Starbucks
In diet circles, Starbucks has come to be regarded as the evil empire. It’s not just ‘all that caramel goo’ in those ventis, which turn a cup of coffee into an ultrasweet high-calorie dessert, says New York University nutrition professor Marion Nestle. ‘Their stores are set up to make it convenient and entertaining to choose larger portions and more foods.’ Treats — like the 410-calorie lemon poppy loaf — are sumptuously displayed in eye-level glass cases, while the more wholesome chow languishes below. Look down. Starbucks now offers sensible snacks like fruit rollups and paninis that swap out chili spread for mayo, but they’re going to make you find it. As for drinks, begin any order with the word ‘Skinny’ and you can cut the calorie count by up to a third. The best choices: a steaming 16-ounce grande Pike’s Roast black coffee, 5 calories or a grande Tazo Full Leaf Tea, 0 calories.
Re-read point ’2′ and rethink that friendship with the person who always insists on doing things which sabotage your hard work. Or enjoy a nice coffee…but again, this is about not putting yourself in the way of temptation unless you think you can deal with it. I think I could deal with it…but those Starbucks sandwiches would be calling my name!
6. A date takes you to a hot restaurant
At a casual meal, say a Denny’s or a Red Lobster, paring back the calories by skipping sauces or having them on the side is a good way to turn a fat fest into a square meal. Plus, many family restaurants now offer low-cal meals. But a meal in a top-flight restaurant is all about the sauces and special preparations made by a chef who is closer to an artist than a cook. ‘I don’t recommend trying to diet when eating out,’ Nestle says. Instead, order less food, confident that the intense flavors will satisfy you. Pick appetizers as your entrée and share them; after all, it’s more romantic to make the meal a shared exploration of flavors. Also sample the creative broth-based soups or salads. And if you must have dessert, share that too, and order the one with the most fruit.
It’s a date at a hot restaurant…hopefully you will end up in bed together and be able to work the calories off! You only live once, and if you are going out to a gorgeous restaurant then bloody well enjoy it. I remember visiting a place in Glasgow once, Devonshire Gardens. It was a pretty nice place…a bit pretentious for my liking. The food wasn’t exactly in abundance and so if you eat at these places regularly, then I doubt you will gain weight…you will just lose lots of money! Maybe that’s why they all stay so svelte on ‘Made In Chelsea’?!
7. Your lover surprises you with a big box of chocolates
First, a quick lesson in love: your lover doesn’t bring chocolate in hopes of watching you eat. Before surrendering to the temptation of what’s in the box, unwrap your lover. A concerted half-hour of sex can chew up 85 calories, and the longer you linger, the higher that number. Then feel free to enjoy a single piece of chocolate — a Godiva truffle tucks a lot of sweetness into 105 calories. (Meanwhile, a memo to chocolate-buying lovers: consider a 1-ounce chocolate liqueur, which boils down to about 100 calories, none of them from fat.) If you limit yourself to one chocolate a day as a snack, you’ll be fine.
Oooh – the author is like-minded…! For me though, a box of Hotel Chocolat was never going to result in sex…it resulted in something incredibly satisfying far before that point in time! One chocolate a day. I tried this. It didn’t work. I lost just over 8st with Slimming World a few years ago and then decided to join the Hotel Chocolat tasting club…the rest is history. They weren’t to blame for my rapid and vast weight gain…but much like the Food Porn Twitter account, I really should have known that a chocolate tasting membership was never a good thing for a morbidly obese person!
8. You’re shopping and are fading from hunger
Shopping marathons are like any other kind: you need constant, small boosts of energy to keep going. And keeping going is key. Avoid settling in at the food court; pick up a hot pretzel, a small bag of roasted nuts from a kiosk, even a chicken taco, and nibble on the move. Portable meals, of course, can still seriously weigh you down. At Aunt Annie’s Pretzels, a pepperoni pizza pretzel twists together 480 calories with 8 grams of saturated fat. The original pretzel is no bargain at 310 calories without the butter sauce. But with less than a gram of saturated fat and 2 grams of fiber, it’s a good choice, particularly if you eat it in small amounts over time.
See point ’4′…pack a healthy emergency snack and make sure you eat well before your shopping trip. Or shop online!
9. You’re dashing for an early morning plane
The best place for breakfast in an airport may be…Starbucks. A venti latte with soy milk or skim is 9 ounces of milk, a helpful shot of caffeine and just 170 calories, note Heather Bauer and Kathy Matthews in The Wall Street Diet, which provides tips for people too busy to plan healthy meals. Add a banana and a yogurt to get your day started for less than 400 calories and in under ten minutes (depending on how many other frequent flyers have missed breakfast at home and are lined up in front of you).
I don’t think that dashing for early morning planes is a worry that most of us have. Although running late for work and stuffing a piece of toast – or four – down my neck on the drive to work was a regular occurrence. Again, for me, this is about removing yourself from temptation. Don’t let your body get to the point that you have no choice but to eat shite. Pack healthy snacks and plan in advance.
10. The only food at the picnic is hamburgers and hot dogs
Most barbecues leave dieters trapped in the great outdoors. Meat grilled over a fire does tend to be less fatty than pan-cooked, but most grillers still depend on fatty burgers and dogs to feed the masses, while the traditional sides like potato salad and slaw are filled with high-calorie mayonnaise. Worst of all, you can’t get away from the deliciously wafting smoke. Go ahead and smell the burgers, but eat the hot dog. A dog on a bun with a smear of ketchup will set you back about 250 calories. That’s as many as the burger has in fat alone. Load up your plate with the low-calorie burger fixin’s, like lettuce, tomato and onions, to round out your meal.
Steak, chicken, pork chops, lamb kebabs, turkey steaks, homemade coleslaw, homemade potato salad, homemade pasta salad…the list of options is endless. I live on barbecues during the summer, so this frankly rubbish excuse of barbecues not being good for dieters is incredibly naff. It’s an excuse for you to fill you face with processed burgers and big white rolls. Just man-up and accept responsibility and take your own food so that you don’t have to place yourself in a situation that proves too tempting.
11. It’s 3:30 pm and you’re hungry
The energy drop that hits in afternoon is likely a combination of perfectly natural factors: the result of a light lunch, mild dehydration, a momentary lack of iron, or a crash off that coffee you had at the late-morning meeting. Before wandering to the cafeteria or fridge, start your recovery with a tall glass of water, which boosts your blood flow and, as a side benefit, makes you feel full. Ideal snacks for clearing your cobwebby head are hummus or almonds, but if your only option is an office vending machine, look for any hint of protein — those orange crackers with peanut butter, at 200 calories, are better than a sugary cookie. Wash it down with a cup of coffee doused in iron-rich cinnamon.
Do I even need to comment on this one? There are so many healthy options – you just need to take responsibility and plan and prepare for success. Or go and raid the vending machine and get a sugar rush which will leave you feeling even worse in an hours time!
12. You’re having drinks with co-workers
Fruit juices, soda and other mixers can ratchet up the calories in cocktails: a margarita with 1.5 ounces of tequila and store-bought margarita mix contains upward of 500 calories. But it’s alcohol itself that turns fun into fat. Not only does it contain 90 calories an ounce, it inhibits your body’s ability to process fats and lowers your resolve. The answer? When you hit the bar to raise a toast to Bob in Accounting’s promotion, have a lower-calorie cocktail that doubles easily for a soft drink, and then alternate between the two, says dietician Somer. For example, a gin (or vodka) and tonic has only 180 calories and no one will be the wiser when you make your second round an equally bubbly and transparent zero-calorie diet Sprite, dressed up with a twist.
Do people really do this kind of thing? As I said, I never really liked many people that I worked with! In fact, I remember having drinks with co-workers…my horrid old boss was there – the one who was sleeping with the COO of the company, along with another senior manager – and she gave a weird lecture about how she couldn’t understand anyone who had affairs…I nearly choked on my drink and vowed that this was the last time I was going to attempt sociability! In this situation – drinks with co-workers – I would be unlikely to drink alcohol as my mouth tends to have a mind of it’s own…so I would opt for diet Coke!
13. Your family forces food on you when you go home
Food is love, and when Mamma tells you ‘mangia’ and you don’t, she acts like you’re rejecting her, not her pot roast. The answer: Have some of everything pushed at you during the holidays or a weekend visit home, but only a spoonful. That means your plate will be more of a tasting sampler than a full meal. Remember: Just one bite of a dish, preceded by a loud ‘I can’t resist!’ will do your parents good and won’t kill you. Another strategy: make yourself useful serving people and cleaning up. It gets you away from your plate, but still makes you a vital part of the meal. Most of all, ‘focus on what’s important,’ says Somer. ‘You’re there to visit with your loved ones, not to pig out.’ If you can transfer your emotions from the food to those around you, you’ll live a long and happy life.
A spoonful of food is good. As is a plateful if you want it. You choose – you have the ability to say no, but if you don’t then deal with it. Enjoy your decision. Again though, if you explain how important weight loss is to you, I am sure that ‘Mamma’ would oblige and make something a little healthier.
Right then…these little tips and hints wouldn’t have done me many favours at my biggest. I would have read the sensible advice and ignored it. In my situation I had to get a little hardcore. I had to make a choice…life…or death – it really was as simple as that. I am 32 years old now and was told that I would be dead before my 35th birthday if I didn’t lose weight. Even this didn’t shock me into action.
I guess that I needed to reach rock bottom before clawing my way back up again. It’s not something that I would suggest, as it really was not a nice place to be. I suggest that you get honest with yourself…stop craving the life that you want if you aren’t prepared to work hard for it. Stop playing at losing weight and get serious. Start saying ‘NO’ to temptation and ‘YES’ to the choices that will get you closer to your goal.
I am still no closer to finding the answer that got me out of that temptation trap. As per the above, it is a tough choice – the food you want right in that moment, or the food that will get you to your goal…eventually. The problem is that our goals seem so far away that they often seem unreachable. But I do know one thing…the road to your goal is not paved with fecking Cadbury’s chocolate…and the river running alongside it does not consist of a good Merlot or a can of Artois…you have a choice to make, and only you can make it.
Right then. Today has been good and not so good. Good in that I had another personal training session, but not so good due to the fact that I kept getting my dizzy spells and feel a bit of a gym failure. Which I know is fecking rubbish, as not many people of a healthy weight go and do what I do at the gym. I need to pace myself. I have problems saying ‘NO’…which is ironic considering the theme of tonight’s blog…but I will tackle anything that is thrown my way. So the trainer keeps throwing and I keep doing. Other clients apparently tell him to stop, that it’s too much…but not me! I need to get over my fear of being seen as the lazy fat girl who can’t do stuff, and realise how much progress I have made and will continue to make. But I will only continue to make this progress if I stop being a plonker and realise that I have limitations. I don’t want an injury…and in fact, people probably don’t notice the fat girl sitting down and grabbing a breather…but I bet they would fecking notice if I hit the deck and fainted! So in short, I need to get over myself and just go steady. None of this ‘go hard or go home’ bollocks for me…’go steady and keep going’ is the mantra I am going to adopt!
It was then lovely to meet an old school friend of mine. We hadn’t seen each other for years…at least 12 years. He is going to store his caravan on my land! So we caught up and I must admit to wondering what he would think of me now. I remember him once saying that if he ever got married, he wished it would be to someone like me. So I just told him…I told how much I’d weighed and how bad it was – and instead of a look of horror, I got concern and happiness at how I had turned things around…and a dose of positivity about my future. So it was lovely to see him again!
I then popped in to see the old lady down the road and had a catch up with her. I try and make it in once a week – enough to let her know that we are there, but not too often so that it overwhelms her. We chatted for a while and then I headed home as I was flagging and needed some lunch.
Tonight saw me doing another one of my Slimming World talks – which I keep saying that I am not doing more of just yet, but feel guilty for saying ‘NO’…see, there is a theme here! It was wonderful to meet everyone there – such a lovely group of people! One lady told me that I had a future as the next Jo Brand…which is the person Mr WLB compares my sarcasm too. It’s not the first time I have been told that I should move into comedy…so maybe it should go on the consideration list. It is great to meet people at these talks, but a little sad too as so many have body issues that make me feel so awful for them – I wish I could inject a little of how I feel to help them out. I gave one lady lots of hugs as she was crying about how much she hated herself…so sad, but hopefully we can connect and I can give her a nudge in the right direction. I got this lovely lot……which was very unexpected and lovely! I am now going to grab some downtime and relax a little before heading for some sleep.
Breakfast: Banana porridge (5 syns).Lunch: Couscous (1.5 syns), Linda Mc sausages, and roasted veggies.Dinner: Cheesy scrambled eggs on toast with veggies (2 x HEA and 2 x HEB).Snacks: Seed Stacked Thai seeds (8 syns).My usual brekkie, followed by the seeds as a pre-workout snack…they were supposed to keep my blood sugars sorted and stop the fainting…but it was worse this week than last! Lunch was lush – Moroccan couscous from Ainsley with some roasted veggies – courgette, peppers and red onion – with the Linda Mc rosemary and red onion sausages. Dinner was scrambled eggs with cheese on toasted wholemeal rolls, with spinach, red onion, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes.
Exercise: 60 minutes of PT plus a 10 minute elliptical machine warm up.
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx