Welcome to another Food Friday! As a long time Slimming World slave who remains a fan of the healthy eating plan, I sat and reflected on the things I have learned in the 11 years since I first joined. Although the learning is vast, a few particular points stand out so I thought I would share my top tips.
Tip # 1 - Add Extra Speed Food
Ultimately, the more speed food you consume, the better chance you have of losing weight, providing that this is instead of certain foods rather than on top of your normal daily intake. Adding extra speed foods to meals ups your intake of lower calorie foods, increases your fruit and veg portions for the day, bulks out your meal in a healthy way and improves your chance of weight loss. Happy days. Incorporating loads of speed foods into meals also means that I don't feel so bad if I end up having a meal where there is no speed food in sight! A further bonus is the development of my tastes. Including speed foods for flavour has led to an improved palette. I will never like peas (I don't think!) but I now regularly consumer mushrooms, courgettes and sweetcorn, with baby corn now a firm favourite!
Tip # 2 - Flavour
Flavour is sooo important when it comes to staying on plan. Bland meals only serve to make me crave high syn foods that will certainly stunt any weight loss. I remember a time when I rarely followed slimming world recipes. Whenever I made them I found them bland. Why I am not sure. However, over time and alongside the development of my own tastes and cooking skills, things are vastly improved. These days I have a big stash of flavourings at the ready. Salt and pepper is a staple, of course, but I have a whole range of herbs, spices and syn free flavourings to use.
Tip # 3 - Meal Plan
The benefits of meal planning are well known with many utilising it for budget purposes. I have always hated it as a task. As I said in my meal planning tip post, whenever I have a stab at it, it falls by the wayside. It works for a few days and keeps me on track, and then I can't be bothered and everything goes to pot. Well, until recently that is...
With the addition of my meal planning tip (something I stumbled across just a few weeks ago), I have been sticking to it and I am loving it. Not only does it leave me looking forward to our evening meals, it helps me plan my syns and healthy extras and, as a result, helps me stay on track. In my book, if it works (within reason!) I am going to keep doing it. So yes, I have found a way to continue meal planning and the benefits are significant. I knew they would be, I was just missing the element that motivated me to do it. And now all is going well and I feel all buoyant and inspired. Long may this last!
Tip # 4 - Food Diary
The psychological impact of keeping your intake in your head can be incredibly damaging to your weight loss. What seems so easy in theory turns into an ugly gauntlet. One I have repeatedly fallen foul of over the years. Does this resonate with you?
If I try to manage my intake in my head, everything goes rather squiffy. Many a time I have reached the evening and mulled over the food, healthy extras and syns that I have consumed that day. And many a time has my brain convinced itself that I have gone over syns and that the day is ruined. So I may as well just go all out and start again tomorrow right? *heads to dominoes website*... WRONG! This is not the way to do it. I know this is not the way to do it so why does it continue to happen?
Frustrated, I tested my theory. One day, having monitored my intake in that tired noggin of mine, I began to feel that familiar wavering. So I got out my food diary and wrote it all down. What appeared on the page was well within my syn limit and completely on plan. To check I wasn't kidding myself, I tested this one on several occasions, to the same end. Hence, keeping a food diary is so very, very important to me. Without one, sticking to a plan feels hopeless.
You can, of course, monitor your intake on a piece of paper or in a 'normal' notebook. However, having trialled several methods over the years, I prefer something designed for the task. The food diaries I use are from the Calorie Club and I have been using these for years now. Food diaries are available from numerous online stores but, if interested, you can check out my video review or take a look at the accompanying blog post. You can also view my original food diary review if you fancy.
Tip # 5 - Plan Ahead - Don't let yourself get hungry
If I had to choose my most top tip, it would be this one. Do not let yourself get too hungry. How many times has the instinct to consume something sent you spinning wildly off plan? For me, it is many. Many, many, many times. This happens to me at home and out and about. There is no escape. It is particularly dangerous when at home with cupboards that are a bit bare or out with limited options to choose from. It is also especially relevant if you aren't feeling full of Slimming World meal ideas.
So plan ahead. If you know that the cupboard contents are dwindling down to those chocolate digestives that you have been avoiding, go shopping. Give yourself options. Similarly, if you are heading out and you aren't sure of the options available, take something to fill that tum. A banana, filled roll or yoghurt (even all 3!) can help stave off bad choices. Making decisions when starving can be disastrous. Take it from me, I know.
And so, fellow foodie slimmers, those are my top tips. Do you have any top tips or insight to share? Let us know in the comments so that we can support eachother in becoming healthier versions of ourselves.
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