A Mixed Start to My New Healthy Lifestyle

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I wrote a post the other day about how much weight I have put on and realizing that I need to make some drastic changes to my eating habits and my lifestyle to lose weight and improve my health. (You can read it here if you missed it). So far, I have had a fairly mixed start in my efforts to do this.

In terms of my eating, I have done well. It is not the meals that I eat that are particularly unhealthy, nor the portion sizes as I have a relatively small appetite. My problem is the late night snacking that is encouraged by my partner buying me treats. My second problem is drink rather than food. I drink lots of coffee with sugar, fizzy soda drinks, and wine. 

I have done well with removing the snacks from my diet and my partner has been good about not buying chocolate and crisps. I have cut down on wine, replaced sodas with water, and started taking sweeteners in my coffee. I even ate some new potatoes with a ham salad the other day without drowning them in butter.

My problem has been my lack of exercise. The main plan was to start walking and swimming again. My first plan was that my mum would come on the school run with a few times a week. We would take the children to school in her car and she would then drive off to conduct her own business for the day, leaving me outside the school. It is a 2.5-mile walk back from school, and this is a pleasant distance to walk. It is particularly nice if the weather is good and I often walk along the coastal path, which has excellent views across the bay and estuary. 

I have already been thwarted in my plans to do this as my work deadlines have meant that I have needed to drive straight home from school to complete work for my clients. I am not disheartened, I have planned my workload better for next week to make sure that I get to do the walk home a few times. My best effort at walking so far has been when I went on a spa day with my sister and mum and we walked a few miles around the shops. Does shopping count as exercise?

My swimming plans have also fallen by the wayside. I bought a swimming costume while I was away ready to start doing lengths at the swimming pool. I tried to go swimming with my older son on Saturday. However, by the time I had found out the opening times and he had gone to ask his friend from down the road if he wanted to come along, it wouldn’t have been worth making the drive as the pool was due to close. 

I am just making excuses now and I hope to do a lot better this week. I am certainly not planning to give up. We hope to get married this year and that is motivation enough for anyone to lose weight and not become the center of attention for all the wrong reasons on their wedding day. 

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My New Weight Loss Plan

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Last year I was diagnosed as having a severe vitamin D deficiency. This is becoming an increasingly common issue for people in the UK as they are spending longer working indoors and not enough time outside. One of the steps I took to improve my vitamin D levels in addition to taking medication was to start walking. I walked miles each week and this resulted in me losing around 28 pounds and really toning up. Unfortunately, I have since put all this weight back on.

My car was stolen from outside my home last year. While you may assume that this resulted in me walking more, the opposite was true. I needed a car sooner than the insurance was going to pay out, so I worked lots of extra hours to pay for another car. This stopped me from walking back from the school run each day as I did not have the time. I had also intended to start swimming one morning a week once my youngest started at school. Again, I couldn’t do this because I didn’t have a car to get there.

One of the main reasons I have put on so much weight is that my partner moved in with me last year. He likes to treat me and is always bringing home boxes of chocolates and bottles of wine. This has contributed to me now being the largest I have ever been. Writing this food blog isn’t helping as I am making meals that I might not necessarily make so that I can add them to the blog. 

I am now taking action to lose the weight. First, I have told my partner to stop buying me treats. Second, I am going to add more healthy meals to the blog rather than ones that have rich and creamy sauces (although I do have a creamy and cheesy stuffed mushroom recipe that I am planning on adding later today!). 

The next thing is to get myself physically active again. The warmer months are arriving now, so walking home from the school run will be a pleasant start to my day. Now I have another car, I can also start going swimming once a week. I even bought myself a new swimming costume yesterday while I was visiting Southport for a spa day with my mum and sister. Hopefully, my new cozzie will inspire me to take the plunge and start swimming again. 

No doubt I will report in with my weight loss success or failure on The Fruity Tart at some point soon. I might even be brave enough to post some before and after pics!

Brits Told to Diet

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Obesity is increasingly becoming an issue in the UK and in other parts of the world. Being overweight can have a huge impact on health and can potentially lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The obesity crisis is also putting a huge strain on the NHS. For this reason, top health officials are now saying that Brits need to go on a diet.

Last year, the government launched a sugar reduction programme that targeted nine different food groups that are considered unhealthy. This has led to the sugar drinks levy which will come into force in April 2018.

New measures put in place to reduce the number of unhealthy foods that Brits eat will specifically target 13 different food groups and will include processed meat, ready meals, takeaways, and pizzas. The aim is to cut the average calorie consumption of the British by 20% by 2024.

As part of this healthy eating campaign, the food industry is also being urged by the government to use healthier ingredients to help the public reduce their calorie intake.

A spokesperson for Public Health England has said that Britain needs to go on a diet as both adults and children are consuming too many calories and this is the cause of the high rate of obesity in the UK.

These recent measures are part of an ongoing governmental campaign in the UK to improve the overall health of UK citizens and reduce the strain on the NHS. Strategies used so far have included raising awareness of healthy eating through marketing materials and via direct advice from healthcare workers. Children are also being targeted with healthy eating programmes in schools.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43201586

Healthy Eating in Italian Restaurants

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Most people enjoy a good evening out in a restaurant.  It is a great opportunity to let somebody else do the hard work of the meal preparation and the washing up, giving you the opportunity to relax and simply enjoy the food.  One of the most popular types of restaurants that people choose to visit is an Italian restaurant.  However, these are famous for their calorie-laden pizzas and rich pasta sauces. This can be difficult for those who are on a diet or are simply health conscious. In spite of this, much Italian food follows the principles of a healthy Mediterranean diet and lots of healthier options are available.  If you are looking for healthier options when enjoying an evening out in an Italian restaurant, then here are some ideas to give you inspiration for making healthy food choices.

Vegetable Based Dishes 

First, the Mediterranean diet is famous for making use of lots of brightly coloured vegetables, such as courgettes, tomatoes and peppers.  If you are choosing a pasta dish, then opt for one that is served with a sauce based around these ingredients rather than a richer, more unhealthy choice such as a cheese sauce as this is laden with fat and calories and will also lie heavily on your stomach for a long time after your meal leaving you feeling lethargic and bloated.

Meat Options

If you prefer a meat dish, then the healthier option is to look at chicken dishes rather than red meat dishes as these are usually lower in calories, whilst still providing ample amounts of protein.  If the meat is served with a sauce then try to choose a healthier option as previously described to reduce the fat and calorie content of the meal.  Many restaurants will also serve food without the sauce if requested.

Accompaniments

When choosing accompaniments to a meal, ask for salad rather than chips, potatoes or cheesy garlic bread, as many people find themselves overfilled by such carbohydrate heavy accompaniments.

Desserts

When it comes to desserts, it’s probably wise to avoid these altogether.  Many Italian desserts, such as pannacotta, are made using cream and are high in both fat and calories. However, if the temptation is too much, consider a fruit salad or a meringue.   Meringue is low in fat and calories, despite being made from a large amount of sugar.  Ask for any dessert you do choose to be served without additional cream, ice cream or custard.

Eating Out on a Diet

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Dining out while dieting is where many people hit a stumbling block in their diet. The temptation to opt for a dish that is high in fat and served with a rich, creamy sauce can spoil the effort that you have made to lose weight for the rest of the week.  However, it is not necessary to avoid dining out altogether.  Here are some tips for dining out whilst dieting.

A Glass of Water

Taking the simple step of drinking a glass of water before you leave home can reduce your appetite making you less likely to overeat while you are dining out.  Similarly, drinking water with your meal will help to prevent you from overindulging.

Choose Your Venue Carefully

There are some cuisines that are more likely to offer a menu with lots of high fat and high-calorie meals. For example, fast food restaurants and fish and chip shops are places that are best avoided whilst you are on a diet.

Choose Meals Wisely

Take your time to read the menu and choose a meal that you will enjoy but that is also a good option for while you maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  If you are unsure of whether a meal contains ingredients that are high in fat and calories, then ask your server for advice.  Try to select a venue where there is a wide choice of food available on the menu or one that offers a salad bar.

Avoid the Sauce

The majority of sauces are high in calories and fat, so avoid these if possible. If the sauce is optional, then don’t order one.  If you find food too dry without a sauce then choose one that is vegetable based, such as a tomato sauce, rather than sauces that are cream based, such as peppercorn or brandy sauce. Similarly, ask for salads without the sauce. 

Side Orders

The accompaniments served with the main part of your meal can make a big difference.  If your meal comes with a choice of potatoes, then avoid fries and opt for boiled potatoes or a jacket.  A salad is also a good dieting choice as an accompaniment to your food.  Other additional items to avoid include side orders of garlic bread or onion rings.

Desserts

It is probably best to avoid desserts while trying to lose weight.  However, if you have a sweet tooth and can’t resist, then opt for a fruit salad, meringue or ice-cream.  Do not order extra cream or custard to accompany your dessert as this will only increase your overall fat and calorie intake.

Drinks

The drinks you choose can also make a significant impact on your calorie intake when eating out. Although most drinks are low in fat or fat-free, they are often high in sugar and calories. If you are drinking soft drinks, then opt for the diet options. In terms of alcoholic drinks, spirits are the best choice. Drink these either straight, with soda water or with low-calorie sodas. This is great news for G&T lovers!