Variety is indeed the spice of life
Yesterday I snapped. I'd finally had enough. If I read one more article about miracle foods that you should eat to lose weight and stay healthy I will scream or shove a pack of organic almonds into the next health expert I come across. As I sat in the hairdressers reading a year's worth of glossies, I began to simmer and then boil and then I lost it. Just how much advice from experts can one woman take! Eat watercress, lemon juice and chicory to stimulate your digestive juices (you cannot be serious!). Eat a 600 calorie breakfast with cake and chocolate in it to help you lose weight (really? That had to be written by a skinny person). A daily dose of potato can help reduce your blood pressure (just how many chips is that?). Eat oily fish 3 times a week (now that I do like!). Eat almonds, apples, avocados; brazil nuts, beetroot, bran flakes (Whoa!). You get the picture? I don't need to do the whole alphabet to make the point. Every magazine had a new super food that you have to eat if you want to be fitter and healthier than ever before.
I started to make a list of all the things they said you should eat every week and I was going to add up the calories when I realised that life is just too short and I have better things to do. Suffice to say if we followed all the expert recommendations we'd be eating most of our waking hours and we would not lose weight at all, ever.
What's a girl to do? Well, I may have carried a bit of extra weight until recently, but I'm not stupid. I reckon what's needed is a smidgeon of common sense applied to the billions of facts and figures that get thrown at us from every angle. Underneath all this are two golden oldie rules in new shiny clothes - eat a varied diet and a little bit of what you fancy does you good.
So am I following the rules? I must admit that when it comes to food I'm a creature of habit, and I quickly get into a routine. When we started our diet we changed what we eat radically and now our house has a very healthy eating routine and we love it. But we would definitely benefit from a bit of variety, so I started looking at ways of mixing things up a bit. One lunchtime I was wandering round our work canteen (oops, I'll get a row, it's the staff restaurant!) when I went past the salad bar. Hmmm. I noticed lots of colours and variety there. Peppers; beetroot (hooray not pickled beetroot!); olives; green beans with almonds and a whole mix of lovely colours and textures from raw grated carrots to cous cous with sweetcorn. You can have whatever combinations you like so here was a great way to get a lot of variety (and colour) without having to do any shopping or chopping. The only will power required was to avoid the potato salad and mayonnaise options, which was quite easy as I don't enjoy them like I used to anyway. I went back to my desk with a full carton of bright cheery salad, enough beetroot to keep even me happy and a delightful mix of crunchy, chewy, nutty salad which was interesting to eat. Easy peasy and a nice change from soup - a varied texture and lots of different shapes and colours are just as important in healthy eating and they keep you paying attention to what's going in.
That sorted my variety out, but what about the little bit of what you fancy? Well, they do say that a square of dark chocolate every day is good for all kinds of things, and there are some pieces of advice it would be crazy to ignore. When we were out and about last weekend we found a wonderful cafe that also made chocolate. They sold small bags of button shaped chocolate that they call 'anti oxidant chocolate'. As one of the buttons melted on my tongue, I could feel those anti oxidants battling away, adding years of healthy life. Sometimes you have to suffer for your health!
How do you manage to get a bit of variety into your healthy eating? Let us know what works for you.
I hope things are going well with your healthy eating/being slim. Whether you're contemplating a change or trying to keep on the right track, good luck!