“If it’s not in your house, you can’t eat it”

My first night in the USA I decide to order a light meal at a restaurant.  A Nacho starter.  When the dish was placed in front of me it was like a joke.  The rest of the party at the table couldn’t believe their eyes.  The so-called starter was enough for 4 people as MAIN.  Now you sit with an internal battle.  Do you indulge in this grossly oversized plate of nachos or do you eat the smaller amount you planned at the start of the dinner?  After all, it is a sin to waste food!  But I ask a very simple question.  Am I the waste bin or is the waste bin the waste bin?

Browsing in the clothing shops every year I would realise, “you once again have to buy one size bigger”.  Many people try, without success time and time again to quit smoking.  Until one day when everything seems to fall into place and they smoke their last cigarette.

That is how it happened for me.  Your body talks to you.  I believe the same applies to weight loss.  Also when you quit smoking, not to start again.  The same struggle takes place when you’ve lost weight not to gain it again.

For the next couple of blogs I plan to talk about everything I’ve learned to go from a size 18/20 to a size 8/10.

The biggest battle is in your head.  That is where the control lies.  To look at food differently is extremely important.  An egg isn’t merely an egg.  A packet of crisps is not just a packet of crisps.  An egg consists of different parts, all very healthy for your diet, but the egg yolk for example contains a lot of fat.  Good fat, but still fat that need to be metabolised by your body.  Thus, I can’t say eat a 6 egg omelette and expect it not to have an effect on my weight.  But you see, eggs are supposed to be healthy, right?  Rather eat 5 egg whites and 1 whole egg.

It’s difficult in the beginning.   Your pallet is use to certain things.  For example stir-fry rice with white rice is much nicer than brown rice.  Wholegrain pasta is horrible compared to 100% white flour pasta.  Initially the frown on your face indicates how much you really hate that sip of black, bitter coffee.  But leave out the milk and later also exclude the sugar.  After a while, you can’t imagine drinking coffee the old way.

When you slowly but surely remove certain elements from your diet your taste and pallet will change.  I thoroughly enjoy an egg white.  Fat-free yoghurt for breakfast doesn’t bother me in the least and bacon is no longer missed with a large breakfast.

One of the best pieces of advice I have to offer is:  If it’s not in your house, you can’t eat it.  In the evenings, an hour or so after I’ve finished my healthy plate of food, I turn into a vulture.  I crave anything to munch on.  I rummage through the cupboards looking for a treat.  It’s simple.  If it’s not in the cupboard I can’t eat it.  And you must suffer from a serious craving if you’re going to get into your car and drive to the shops for a chocolate.

The one time I allow the “wrong” foods into my house is when I invite people for dinner.  Then there is fresh bread and rich dishes on the table.  My rule.  Enjoy the meal with your guests, but everything that is left over either goes home with your guests in a doggy bag, or is immediately frozen, or immediately given to a needy person or (and I might be going to hell for this) is summarily dumped in the waste bin.

It either goes in one of these directions or it ends up in your stomach.  Believe me, I’ve tested this.  Innocently I would wrap the leftover piece of cake to give to someone the next day and before I know it I’ve taken a couple of bites and at that point I might as well finish the whole thing.

Something I have also realised is the large amount of “lies” being spread by the “world”.   It might not be done purposefully, but it has a very large effect on how we consume.  “Oh, spoil yourself with a piece of cheese cake.” “There’s nothing wrong with a creamy cappuccino every now and then.” “Braai the chop and boerewors.  Once a week is okay.”  But what happens when you tally all these “it’s okay” moments?  What you are left with is a table full of indulgence and very little healthy eating.

Thus the first challenge:  Consider every single thing you put into your mouth.  Dieticians are specialists in this area and can tell you exactly what a jelly tot consists of and how many steps you need to take to work off that just-every-now-and-then-jelly-tot.  This speech is (as usual) as much for myself as it is for you.

Good luck with the first step!  It will be the best decision you’ve ever made.