Tips for Keeping Food/Drink Intake In Check

Overeating is often psychological, as well as a physical thing and this week I’ve been thinking about what helps me keep a lid in what I’m shoveling or guzzling each day.

My top tips are:

  1. Weigh food – often you are putting much more in than you think and if you’re tracking what goes in and out on a Fitbit or other fitness tracker then you need to know accurately how much you’re putting in. Food scales are very cheap to buy and once you get used to weighing food it becomes second nature.
  2. Do food swaps, where you swap unhealthy carb and sugar-rich processed foods for more natural plant based and protein-rich food.
  3. If you feel like you want to eat through stress or boredom (I’m an emotional eater so if things get stressful or I get tired then junk food is my poison of choice) then do something else to relax you.

I was feeling out of whack on Sunday so I went and had my nails done instead of stuffing down my Easter stash of chocolate, which I’m limiting myself to a small controlled, weighed amount of every now and again.

A couple of my favourite food and drink swaps are:

  1. My gin and tonic for sparkling water. I have found that alcohol gives me terrible hot flushes (this one is a horrible menopause side effect) and is really high in calories. A gin and tonic (which is quite low in calories compared to wine) is around 171 calories and if you think you only need an extra 500 calories per day to put on 1 pound per week then alcohol and also fizzy drinks can pile it on you quickly. The upside is if you limit alcohol and sugar-laden fizzy drinks then it can help lose weight quickly too. Again this one is phycological and I have found that if I make my sparkling water look like a gin and tonic it doesn’t feel quite as difficult to do the swap and after a while, you don’t really notice it and I don’t miss the night time sweats it can bring on! I have found now I really like sparkling water so had a soda stream as a Christmas pressie so I can have it when I want without buying loads of plastic bottles of it.

180507_143244-779064.jpgsodastream

Another food swap I like is having a cheese and tomato omlette instead of a pizza and this saves a ton of calories (average 4 egg omlette is around 600 calories) while a pizza can be around 800-1000). Again if you make it look like a pizza then psychologically it is easier to adjust to. The other upside is that an omlette has loads of protein in it which means you’ll feel full for longer. Why? Here comes the science – protein reduces the amount of ghrelin (the hunger hormone) produced by the brain and this keeps you feeling full for longer.

omlettepizza

What helps you keep your intake in check or what food swaps work well for you? Leave a comment to share your weight loss secrets.

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drsuepearson

I'm a science writer and presenter.

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