THIS week we’re talking food – such a HUGE subject and one about which there is so much confusion. Food gets labelled good and bad, naughty or “a treat”, a syn and any number of other things. So It’s no wonder food has all sorts of special meanings for many of us. We give it a status when all it should be is fuel to keep us in tip-top condition to help us live our busy lives.
So I thought I’d enlist the help of one of our Slimpodders this week. Sammie Axton is such a great example of how you can change your relationship with food, lose weight and keep it off. She’s been eating consistently healthy for almost four years and has lost more than five stone and continued to effortlessly keep it off!
She’s gone from a near size 20 to a size 10 and stayed that size so Sammie’s top food tips are well worth paying attention to, I reckon!
Firstly, I asked Sammie what six foods she avoids putting into her shopping basket now and this was her reply (it’s lovely!): “I avoid Diet Coke and sugar in my cereal. I also avoid chocolate digestives (despite eating those by the packet once!), meat pies, Frosties and ready meals.
“The funny thing is I didn’t even realise I don’t buy them any more until you asked me about it! I didn’t actually think I’d stopped buying things completely but I have! Wow, that’s amazing.”
As you can see, Sammie doesn’t consciously deny or deprive herself of anything. She says if she has a small craving for something she’ll have it and then the craving disappears.
What Sammie eats each week
Next I asked Sammie for just six things she eats regularly each week. This was a big ask so I extended it a bit!
“Mackerel, chicken, eggs, spinach, broccoli, Ryvita and tomatoes. I sometimes eat potatoes, pasta and rice but my portion size has naturally reduced so much – I only eat about 5 pieces of pasta now where that used to be at least two handfuls. I now have Weetabix instead of Frosties for breakfast if I don’t have time to have eggs. I often have eight eggs a week!
“There is no effort involved in any of these healthy choices. It has become a habit to eat good food. I’m not rich by any means, but I can afford to eat good food because it really costs no more than all the rubbish I used to eat.
“In fact it probably costs me a lot less as I don’t eat ready meals or treats, which used to cost a lot of money. Plus I eat a lot less than I used to as my portion sizes are about half what I ate before. I do believe that the expense of food is actually a bit of an excuse.
“You can eat beautifully and healthily without spending a lot of money and if you get the whole family eating the same food you’re not making two meals. I obviously give my little lad more potatoes, pasta and rice than I have, but he has the same meat and fish.”
So that’s Sammie’s recipe for success!
Sammie’s way of eating is very similar to the principles of Mediterranean-style eating and I’m a great fan! I’ve been doing it for years – before it even had a name!
Sammie’s super before and after pix
So here’s the seven principles of Med eating
It’s generally low in starchy, easily digestible carbs (sugary stuff!) but packed full of nutrition. Many clinical trials have shown that not only do people get multiple health benefits from this way of eating, but they are also good at sticking to it (unlike those who go on a low-fat/calorie controlled diets) because they find it easy and enjoyable.
And when you have a Slimpod programme you’ll find it even easier because you’ll actually WANT to eat like this and really enjoy it.
ONE: Minimise bread, pasta, potatoes, processed cereals, and rice— they’re a combination of refined and starchy carbohydrates which rapidly turn into sugars in the blood. Quinoa, whole grains, beans, and lentils are good and fill you up too!
TWO: Cut right down on sugar, sugary treats, drinks, and desserts. With a Slimpod that’s easy!
THREE: Eat more vegetables. There are so many wonderful vegetables to choose from. I must admit I’ve become quite a veggie addict. I love stir fries and dishes with lots of colour. Broccoli, spinach, red peppers, pak choi and carrots are in my basket every week.
FOUR: Eat fruit, two portions a day is good. Go for berries, apples, and pears—unpeeled, as this is where most of the nutrients are – but don’t have too many high-sugar fruits like pineapple, melon or mango.
FIVE: Include plenty of high-quality protein such as meat, oily fish, eggs, seafood, tofu, soy and, to a lesser extent. nuts, chickpeas, quinoa, lentils. The body doesn’t store protein so you need to maintain an adequate level in your diet to avoid muscle loss. It also helps to reduce appetite. Processed meats (e.g., bacon, salami, sausages) should be eaten in moderation.
SIX: Enjoy dairy products and eat more healthy fats and oils. Until recently people thought they should be avoiding full-fat dairy products. In 2014 a review by the British Heart Foundation which looked at the results of nearly 80 studies involving more than half a million people found no evidence that eating saturated fats leads to a greater risk of heart disease. In fact, they found that people with higher levels in their blood of a particular saturated fat called margaric acid (the sort you get in milk and dairy products) had a lower risk of heart disease. More recently scientists have said if you drink full fat milk you are 46 per cent less likely to develop diabetes! So use fats! They make food taste better. They are an excellent source of slow-burn energy. And, although ounce for ounce they are higher in calories than carbs, they keep you full for longer. Adding fat to starchy food (butter to potatoes, for example), will actually slow the rate at which the starch is broken down into sugars and absorbed. Eating healthy oils (olive oil, coconut oil and avocado) also improves the absorption of the essential fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).
SEVEN: Vinegar has been found to help reduce weight and shift deep-rooted abdominal fat. It has been shown to suppress appetite and also delays the breakdown of food into sugars in your gut. Amazing eh?!
There are a few good recipe books which follow these principles:
The Blood Sugar Diet – (ignore the word diet!!)
And new this week – The Pioppi Diet by Dr Aseem Malhotra, a colleague of mine on the All Party Parliamentary Group for Obesity. I’m a huge fan of Aseem’s work and I also support Action on Sugar, the campaigning group he co-founded. I’ll definitely be buying his book!
As you know, with Slimpod programmes we don’t tell you what to eat and what not to eat. However, over the past 10 years, my experience has led me to believe people are so confused about food that I feel some guidance is always welcome!
So my Boot Camp friends, your task for this week and beyond is to follow the principles of the Med way of eating. Invest in one of the recipe books but there’s also plenty of free info available online if you want to find out more. Post up pictures of your plates in Slimpod Club!
Sammie has also kindly offered to answer any questions you have. Simply tag her in Slimpod Club or write the question below this blog and I’ll make sure she sees it. Have a great week!