Tips for making the changes last.

If you are serious about losing weight in 2019 there are some simple tips that I can share that might be of use. They have worked for me and you might focus on your own different ones. No one approach is the only available way of losing weight.

This little dish of rice pudding epitomises some of these tips in one go and is ably supported by the savoury stew that preceded it when I ate my evening meal yesterday.

Tip 1. Identify what you feel you can reduce the most with least effort. If there is something you don’t want to reduce too much find a healthier way to make it. I have always loved puddings and that is probably one key reason why I reached the size I did. I grew up with at least two meals a day including a pudding. Even school meals include a pudding every day.

For me alcohol was the easy one. I didn’t give it up completely but it became my occasional treat. Puddings stayed although I do not have one every day. Home made puddings are best as you can adapt them to make them healthier.

Rice pudding, for me, should be creamy with a full flavour and ideally has that creamy colour as well. Skimmed milk, or even semi skinned milk don’t do it for me but full cream milk and/or cream is not an option.

I have adapted the recipe by using unsweetened almond milk. It has that creamy texture and colour that I want and makes a great rice pudding. 400ml to 600ml with. 70 grams of pudding rice or arborio rice works well for me. If you like you rice with a bite use a smaller quantity of the milk and if you like it soft (like me) use a larger measure. This is also great for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.

I add 2 tsp of sweetener whilst cooking and then add a couple of tsp of low sugar jam as it is obligatory to swirl it in. I really like lemon curd in it but I have not found a healthier version of this.

If you make this I can guarantee that in half an hour cooking on the hob (longer if you bake it) you will have a delicious pud.

Tip 2: Don’t be afraid of bulking up with vegetables and reducing the meat and carbohydrates. There is nothing wrong with the meat or carbs but many of those other veg will aid weight loss as they are harder to digest and can make you feel really full after an enjoyable meal. If you have followed previous posts you will know that reducing our meat intake is also good for the planet.

This stew was made using three chicken thigh fillets and some left over lean ham pieces and then bulked out with quartered mushrooms. The initial browning of the meat was done with spray oil and some finely chopped onions. The gravy is just a crumbled chicken stock cube thrown in and then turned into gravy with water and seasoning. You get a tasty gravy which I have added to with a good pile of mixed frozen veg. Propped up with other veg (have your carbs here) this is a meal that is tasty, filling and weight loss aiding.

Tip 3: Don’t get into using a smaller plate or small portions. This can work but then you have to get back to eating normally once you have lost weight. Change how you cook and change what you eat permanently. Once you have reached your target add in a few more treats and then keep eating lots of what you have got used to eating.

You cannot go back to what you were eating before (quantity or nature) if you want to keep the weight off. To think otherwise is a delusion.

Tip 4: You don’t need to do exercise to lose weight so don’t use this as an excuse for not trying. No matter what you physique is, or your disability or even your age you can lose weight and will lose weight from dietary changes alone.

Exercise is then the added extra, make the most of it but do not rely on it.

Tip 5: Get the family/household involved (if you live alone this one is easier but you still have to go out to eat, visit friends etc.) . Don’t be afraid to tell people and ask them to try and make it as healthy as possible for you. It may not be perfect for you but it will be better and every little helps.

If they want to help you they will help out and maybe share this blog with them so that they can get ideas for dishes that they can cook. Healthier doesn’t have to mean boring and unappetising.

Tip 6: if you are not ready and willing to make changes then you are not going to lose weight or keep it off once you have reached your target.

We live in a society where styles of food are fused in interesting ways, where we value portion size above all and our right to eat everything on the same plate. If you pull back and look at traditional food in each country and culture it will always have a staple group of ingredients that it uses and others are used less frequently. Meat is the treat and used more sparingly. We have got used to having it all, all of the time. How often have you asked for chips to go with a dish that doesn’t normally have them and how often do you see bowls of garlic bread on a table in Italy?

Let’s try valuing the origins of food and eat them as they are intended and not as we have made them. This will automatically result in changes straight away that will help.

This doesn’t mean we cannot have a naughty treat, but they will be just that not the norm.

Tip 7: Don’t feel that you cannot have a meal off plan. The group/programme I attend places great stock on a meal being one of 21. One full on meal set in a healthy well managed rest of the week is not an issue, just don’t make it every day.

The more realistic the approach you take the more likely you are to be able to keep the weight off.

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