Anything that tastes nice is probably fattening. Some people can eat anything without putting on weight. You’re not one of those people! Is any of this true? Not so, say authors Della Galton & Peter Jones in their latest book How To Eat Load Loads And Stay Slim. All you need is a willingness to change, and some gold stars…
The problem with many self-help books, in my experience, is that the advice they contain is usually a lot easier to read than heed. Before you know it you’re at the end of the book, and nothing’s changed.
I’m not just an author. To two people in this world, my primary job is that of ‘Uncle’. It’s kind of a cross between being a clown, a punch bag, an audience, and a confidante.
I remember one weekend with my nephew and niece. Whilst my niece was her usual chatty self, my nephew spent much of the time with his face in a book. And not just a book, but a bumper book of maths puzzles. He spent the weekend doing sums. Was he catching up on school homework? Had his parents encouraged him to work through the book by way of extra study? No – it was completely voluntary. Why then had he chosen to spend his time in this way? Because of the stars.
At the back of my nephew’s book there were several sheets of self-adhesive gold stars, and at the bottom of each page was space for a gold star to be stuck once the page had been completed. This simple concept very much appealed to my young nephew. Della and I think that it might just work for you.
Each thought provoking, scientifically-provable, idea in How To Eat Loads and Stay Slim has a STAR RATING. There are fifty four stars available – you get one just for buying the book! Collect enough stars and we personally guarantee that a slim figure, coupled with a healthy but satiated appetite, are yours for the taking. No dieting required. And to get you started this article contains twelve of them.
Virtually Fat Free Chips – worth 1 star
Everyone loves chips. But they’re bad news if you’re trying to keep your weight under control, right? Not necessarily. You can have guilt-free chips. All you need to do
is swap the cooking method to a combination of microwave and oven baking!
Cut washed potatoes into chips, nice and thick (easier to cook), then spread them out on a plate and spray them with a low fat spray or a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and microwave for four minutes. Transfer them to the oven on a baking tray (add a little more low fat spray, if necessary) and bake at 240 degrees Celsius. You will need to turn them often so they get evenly browned.
Chips made like this are not quite as good as tasty as fried chips – but they are totally guilt free. You can have as many as you like. They go very well with ham and eggs. They also work very well if you roast vegetables alongside them. And if you’d like cheesy chips then just sprinkle a handful of half fat grated cheese over them and melt.
Swapping – 1 star for each ‘swap’ to a maximum of 5
‘Swapping’ is the concept of identifying foods that could easily, and painlessly, be switched for healthier, less fattening alternatives. For instance:
- swap chips for jacket spuds
- swap beef mince for extra-lean mince
- swap full fat cheese for half fat cheese
- swap pints of beer for bottles of beer
- swap beer for wine
- swap sugar for less sugar (with the cunning use of measuring spoons)
- swap crisps for popadums
- swap shop bought burgers for shop bought veggie-burgers
- swap snack foods for healthier and shockingly tasty alternatives
It isn’t a new concept at all, but it’s such a simple, easy idea that it’s often overlooked and forgotten about.
Changing Your Mind – 3 stars in total
Never mind calorie counting, or spending your lunch hour on the treadmill, the real secret to eating loads and staying slim is to exercise the lump of grey matter between your ears, and to re-think your approach to food, based on facts.
For instance, there’s evidence that we use our eyes, more than our stomachs, to judge how much food we’ve eaten. If our plates are anything less than over-flowing we often feel cheated, and consequently hungry. And if there’s food on the plate we’ll often eat it, regardless of whether or not we’ve already had our fill.
This is scientific gold dust, and immediately give us two more techniques we can use to control our weight.
Firstly, get into the habit of checking in with your stomach whilst you’re eating. Are you full now? Then stop. Who cares if there’s food left on the plate. Leave it. Don’t worry about the WASTE, worry about your WAIST. 1 star for this one.
Secondly, you can actually trick your mind into accepting smaller portions by using smaller plates. If you’re using ten inch dinner plates, switch to nine. That’s a 10% decrease in overall food intake right there, and you won’t even notice. 2 stars for this one.
How Hunger Really Works – 3 stars in total
Many, many years ago, long before you and I came to be – before the invention of the internet, the telephone, pizza delivery services, before mopeds, and the wheels that make them possible – food was generally hard to come by. The only meal options available were fruit, nuts and berries – or catching something and killing it. Which could be a tad treacherous and usually involved a joint effort. Times were tough.
This being the case, it didn’t make sense to evolve a hunger mechanism that made your tummy rumble just because you hadn’t eaten. On the other hand, when food was plentiful – say, when your old pal Ug had managed to trap a woolly mammoth – it made a LOT of sense for your body to encourage you to eat as much as you could from the all-you-can-eat mammoth buffet. In those days, life was quite often a case of ‘survival of the fattest.’
Back in the 21st century every day is ‘woolly mammoth day’. Figuratively speaking. Food is plentiful, and quite a lot of it is packed with calories. But whilst we might eventually evolve a new hunger mechanism that takes all this into account, right now your body and mine are operating on the assumption that the local pizza delivery place might run out of pizza at any moment, and that it’s best to fill up whilst we can.
Put simply, your body is designed to make you fatter. It does this by associating the calories in the food you eat, with the flavour that food has. Over time your body figures out which flavours are ‘fattest’. Those foods usually become our favourites.
There are several ways we can use this information to our advantage but three quick tips – worth one star each – are:
- Try new foods whenever you can
- Mix up your flavours
- Have home-cooked meals whenever possible (avoiding sauces in packets or jars, or anything that’ll make your food taste identical to last time)
This article originally appeared in Good Magazine