Have Your Cake And Eat It, My Secrets!
When you are trying to meet your body goals your diet counts for around 70 – 80% of this, along with exercise, that’s a lot!
Eating is one of the greatest pleasures in life and it is hard if you are trying to lose weight and feel you can’t have the things you enjoy and you find yourself feeling deprived.
When you feel like this it sets you up for failure as you are more likely to want to binge or throw in the towel.
Ok I’m not saying have your cake and eat it and that’s just fine, but there are lots of ways to trick yourself into thinking you are getting that cake.
The key is to find alternatives for whatever it is you are craving.
Most of the things I fancy when I am chilling watching a box set tend to be either sweet or salty.
If I am peckish and fancy salty, which worst way could see me wolfing down a couple of family-sized packets of salted peanuts, my alternative would be, thick slices of cucumber with a smear of natural crunchy peanut butter topped with some marmite, this satisfies my nutty salty craving.
Sweet cravings are a little harder as you really want to avoid sugar as much as possible.
I use a vanilla vegan protein powder to make various different concoctions even cookies sometimes, this does contain a little sweetener but because it is protein it’s also satisfying and filling.
After dinner, if I really fancy a pudding I will make some of my lovely sounding “goo”.
This is a scoop of vanilla protein powder, a spoon of cacao powder for chocolaty flavour, some powdered reduced fat peanut butter and some chia seeds to thicken it up, blend with some water then add a little vanilla soya milk and mix.
It’s tastes like a lovely chocolate peanut mousse.
My favourite alternative for starchy carbohydrates like rice and pasta is good old cauliflower rice, I can’t get enough of it.
Nowadays it’s great because most shops sell it ready made with the refrigerated vegetables or you can buy it frozen, much better than the mess of grating it yourself.
I honestly have this with nearly every one of my dinners.
I top it with some homemade chilli or bolognese, you don’t even notice it’s cauliflower and it’s low in calories, carbohydrates and rich in vitamins and minerals.
You can even make a pizza base out of it!
That’s just a couple of examples of alternatives that I find helpful but you can find more ideas in the nutrition section.
When those munchies strike just take a minute and think to yourself “what healthier ingredients could I use to quell that craving”?
You will be surprised at what you can come up with and happy that you haven’t sabotaged yourself in reaching your goal.
I love eating out so much and I also like the odd takeaway. There is no reason why you can’t still do this, enjoy yourself, and don’t miss out or end up feeling deprived.
The key again is choosing alternatives.
Here are a few examples of how I do it –
Chinese Take Away – First I ask for my order without MSG as this additive I find gives me headaches and makes the food gloopy.
I will often order a crab and sweet corn soup to start, this fills you up a bit and stops you from overeating.
If my other half orders crispy duck and I fancy it, instead of having the pancakes I will wrap mine in little gem lettuce leaves.
Instead of rice I have stir-fried bean sprouts, they are lovely and you can top them with whatever you like and they add a nice crunchy texture.
I also order a couple of stir fried veg dishes like mushrooms or broccoli to bulk out my dinner so that I don’t go too mad on the chicken or prawn satay and curry.
Indian – Sometimes I get that craving for something hot and spicy so here are a couple of things I do to ensure my meal is relatively healthy.
I order lots of salad and I use this as the base for other dishes like curry etc, instead of having rice or naan bread.
I always order a dry protein-based dish like a chicken shashlick or tandoori king prawn and then for something with a sauce I will order a hot and spicy prawn pathia rather than a creamy curry like a korma.
Again as with the Chinese, I order a couple of vegetable dishes to add bulk like a mushroom bhaji or Sag (spinach).
Thai – To start I would order a prawn or chicken satay rather than anything deep fried. For my main course instead of sticky rice, I would have a spicy papaya salad which again has a beansprout base and use this as my side with say a prawn red curry, again I would order a couple of stir fried veg dishes.
Japanese – Yummy one of my favourites! It’s quite easy to stay on track and make healthy choices with this one. I would start with some chilli edamame and I would always order a seaweed side dish, the raw fish is fine but I would only have one or two of the sushi rolls and I would try and stick to cooked fish dishes for my main.
Eating out in general – I try to avoid anything deep fried, and I will always choose a lean protein with either lots of salad or green veg. I ask for the dressings to be served on the side and I try not to have too much of these as they can be full of unhealthy fats and sugar.
Don’t be afraid to ask to alter something on the menu to fit in with what you want!
I do it every time we eat out, even my husband rolling his eyes at me every time won’t stop me.
Sometimes I have to go to McDonald’s as I have an 11-year-old son and it’s an occasional treat, if so I will have the chargrilled chicken salad.
So it is possible to still enjoy food and the enjoyment of socialising and going out for dinner and joining in family fun takeaway nights while still being healthy and keeping in shape.
Having said that sometimes on special occasions like birthdays I will just say “blow it I’m going to have exactly what I want including that warm brownie with ice cream or a big lump of birthday cake”!
When I do I make sure I enjoy every single mouthful and for the next couple of days afterwards, I make sure I eat extra healthily and get plenty of exercise.
It’s what your eating habits are for the whole week that counts not just one meal on one day.
So I do “have my cake and eat it” very occasionally and those times in between I just use my alternatives to keep on track.