Week 1 day 1 of the 12 week NHS plan.

Hi, I have about 1 and a half stone to lose, which stubbornly won't go despite doing the couch to 5k process and making a lot of diet/health changes. I'm starting at 12st1 and hoping to reach 10st7 in about 12 weeks time, or at least make progress in that direction. I've downloaded and printed the 12 week plan, and started entering today's calories in 'my fitness pal' on my phone. I feel like I know the drill fairly well, but would welcome any tips. Straight away, being honest with myself, I know a big portion of my calories will be down to red wine, lots of olive oil in my cooking, and portion sizes (esp in the evening). Should I make this some kind of dry-spell or introduce a no alcohol mon-fri rule? I'm vegetarian and I'm used to just always starting my meals with fried onions - should I start steaming/grilling now in earnest, and losing those onions? Lastly, re portion sizes, please can you share your tips - I'm sure this must be the part everyone struggles with? Thanks, Ruth :)


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19 Replies

  • Portion control turned out to be my big problem too. I moved my kitchen scales out onto my work surface and use them religiously. If I buy something ready made I make sure that I've read the portion sizes correctly, so that I don't eat all of something that was meant for two! Some people recommend using a smaller plate for food, but I'm not going out to buy a new dinner service, so I tend to fill up the space with salad or extra vegetables!

    I don't drink but I believe that if you like the odd glass of wine you are more likely to stick to your diet if you include the occasional glass into your weight loss regime. Could you turn your glass into a spritzer so that it lasts longer.

    Good luck.

  • Thanks for the luck linggirl! I'll need it, hope all going well with you too. I don't have scales, but I have one of those dry measures cones for rice/flour/oats etc. I'll get that out so it's a visible reminder, good idea. I also sometimes do that thing with salad - putting it on the plate first so it takes up space - I'll make sure to remember to do that. Spritzers is a great idea - I think I've done that in the past. Turning one glass of wine into two :)

  • Good luck.

  • I found it best to give up alcohol for the first few weeks until I got some control over my eating habits. It's not forever and it will be worth it Ruth! :)

  • That's good solid advice, thanks - I deep down know that would be a good move... But also I have things coming up where there will be wine (e.g. this Thurs) - so I'm already envisioning problems! Maybe I can allow myself alcohol for one day a week or something... I might try going for the spritzer idea though - often at wine events they have fizzy water too, so you can mix a bit, but still be seen to be going with the whole thing, networking with glass of wine in hand etc...

  • Just realised that sounded posher than it is! I'm at a college-based 'conference' this Thurs, a chance to really make some connections, and it's advertising wine at the end of the day... and these sorts of things do seem to pop up - hence being someone who's developed a liking for wine! I guess you would have had to navigate stuff like this too?

  • The spritzer idea does sound the best for you on Thursday or maybe have just half a glass at time if they insist. Good luck there! I don't have those sort of temptations now but do have about 50 bottles of wine waiting to be drunk. Used to be in a wine club but cancelled that this year. I am trying!

  • Hello fellow c25k friend! I often lurk around here too :) I'm also veggie and want to lose more weight despite the running benefits. Carbs! I'm ditching carbs - most evening meals comprise rice, pasta and I think this is tricky for veggies to deal with. So it's cereal at breakfast and very small carb intake after that......seems to be working one month in and clothes size is almost one size smaller....not jeans....that is my ultimate test haha!

  • Hi Northernspirit great to see you here! I've been lurking here for a while but now I'm properly jumping in. I've already given up wheat, as I've been advised to do this by a consultant helping me with stomach problems, bah. So I've been trying to find other formulations for my meals, apart from the standard pasta vegetables ensemble that most of my veggie friends have! It tends to just end up being rice and veg, so much the same really. I've returned to fish a bit, but I'm not about to start having that every day, so I'm in the market for types of meals that are less carb based. What do you base your meals around if you're not going heavy on carbs these days? I've tried getting quorn 'pepper steaks', making barley risotto, frittata full of nice veg, stuff like that, have you got any tips?

  • Helloooooo! Things like lentil moussaka served with salad or veg; aubergine in many formations eg. Layered with cheese, Toms etc; have you tried cauliflower 'rice' blitz in food processor, fry with turmeric and onions and pretend it's rice - very effective! Butternut squash wedges instead of spuds. Also let pasta go cold then reheat - or eat cold - it's half the carbs but don't ask me how or why!?

  • Hi Northernspirit, that bit about reheating pasta is a revelation! I have just googled it and I see the research is funded by diabetes UK and seems to be correct, although still being researched. I shall be cooking my spag bol the night before from now on! Big pasta fans here with no plans to give it up, so thanks for the tip:)

  • Ps. No carbs in wine :)

  • You could try using Fry Light Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray instead of regular olive oil. It's only 1 calorie per spray. They have sunflower oil and butter sprays too.

  • I was thinking about trying that sort of thing. I started entering my calories on myfitnesspal and my usual amount of olive oil for cooking in is over 100 calories, so I feel I could definitely make a change there. I'll look for the Fry Light, thanks.

  • Hi Ruth,

    Good luck with the NHS 12 week structured plan, and I hope it's going well so far. I noticed that you were wondering whether to lose those onions - I've just been reading a book by Dale Pinnock (The Medicinal Chef) who was writing about Digestion, and he was advocating onions as a top ingredient to aid digestion and to ease bloating - he said they are also an effective prebiotic, because they contain inulin, which he said works like a food source for all the good bacteria in our gut. He said that as they feed on it, they begin to replicate and the colony gets stronger. He said that our gut flora play an important role in the repair and maintenance of gut tissue, and he says that supporting their growth is a fundamental part of managing any digestive issue.

    I personally love onions, and think they are a very healthy and tasty addition to any meal.

    Hope you are having a great day.

    Lowcal :-)

  • Hi Lowcal. Onions are definitely excellent, they're the starting point of nearly everything I know how to make, but I didn't realise how bad all the oil was I was having with them. That's good to know the onions themselves are good for you at least. I've been trying new ways of frying - starting with just a teaspoon of oil and then adding little bits of water to stop them drying out and burning. I'm going to try swimgym's spray oil suggestion too.

    It is going well so far. I was under 1400 cal yesterday, on track today, and have good plans in place for the next couple of days while I'm away in Sheffield too. I'm thinking about it as days. Every day I'm 'good' is one day off the 84 altogether, getting me closer to my goal. So after Sheffield I'll just have 80 left... Hope your week's going well too


  • Hi Ruth,

    Glad to hear it's going ok so far, and you're keeping on track with it. I know olive oil is calorific, but I believe it's an amazing oil from a health perspective, and I usually use it to roast my vegetables in the oven. Swimgym's spray oil suggestion definitely sounds good to cut down the amount of oil.

    My week's going ok so far thanks - I've nearly lost my extra weight from the Bank Holiday weekend, so hopefully I might make a loss on the scales at next Monday's weigh-in.

    Hope your Sheffield trip goes well and catch up with you soon!

    Lowcal :-)

  • Hi Ruth,

    I'm also veggie and have just started on the 12 week plan this week. My weight gain recently is mainly due to eating too much brie and drinking far too much wine! I'm going to try and cut alcohol out for a couple of weeks to get me started.

    mum of 3

  • Hi mum of 3, look forward to seeing how you get on. I have cut out cheese and finding other proteins instead, such as beans, chick peas, hummus, quorn etc. I'm also trying to cut down alcohol. Ive been making cups of tea for myself even if I don't want them, so I have something to distract me from wanting wine. Good luck for all your good intentions getting started 😊

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