Hi. I'm new here - just started the 12-week plan yesterday (and am actually quite enjoying all the planning and goals!) BUT I'm a student and am already finding it difficult in some respects. In my house we do a meal rota, with each person cooking one night a week. This means I can't plan (not even on the day), which is frustrating. Also, I've been shocked to find out how many calories there are in alcohol - I'm really not a drinker (approx. 1-2 units per week) but there's an event coming up that I'd love to have a few drinks at, but I'm worried I'll feel incredibly guilty and won't eat anything that day to keep my calorie count at 1400. Thirdly, it's my birthday coming up - is it ok to have a day off or is that perhaps tricky to come back from? I'd so appreciate some suggestions about how to deal with these things, perhaps even from a fellow student! Thanks!

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12 Replies

  • Yes, have a day off but make the conscious decision to do so and do NOT feel guilty about it. Think about exactly what you want to eat/drink that day, look forward to it and then savour EVERY MOUTHFUL! Give yourself a cut off, maybe midnight and then you're done back in the game xxx

  • Thank you!!

  • I think it's healthy to have the odd day off, it helps keep you on track. If you know you have a cheat day coming up, you save any temptation until then.

    Your meal rota is a bit more complicated. Can you ask your housemates to make yours slightly different? Like extra veg instead of potatoes or bread? Or no cheese? If you can't make it work, you'll need to take over your own meals.

    If you go over on calories, you could also do some exercise to burn off the excess. My fitness pal says that any exercise you do should be taken off your calories for the day. If you burn 200 calories running, you can eat 1600 calories instead of 1400 calories that day.

  • Hi, It's probably going to take a little creativity to adjust your diet to your life style, or your lifestyle to your diet. I think I'd go with the former Your success may depend on having everything planned ahead of time.On the days you cook you can always add fillers for everyone else ...rolls, cornbread, extra side dish. The rest of the time must be your problem. When I'm cooking for my family I always have lots of salad ingredients for my self, yogurt, or cottage cheese. Soup for supper works very well or a mainly meat and veg. casserole light on carbs. I think you can do this. Defiantly take a day off without guilt and enjoy yourself. About the drinks, decide which you'll enjoy more food or drink and go with that. Just make sure you have something nice and smooth for your stomach before you drink. It's been my experience that these little rewards keep me going longer. Happy birthday.

  • One of my fellow students bought a portable crockpot in today. Apparently Lakeland sell them. I am going to get one.

  • A planned day off seems much healthier than an unplanned splurge followed by gloom, self-recrimination and possible compensatory overeating. It seems to me more natural for people's calorie intake to vary - I don't find the big swings of 5:2 etc appealing but perhaps if you look at averages across a week and see if you can eat fewer calories on other days around these occasions when 1400 is going to be bust?

    You don't have to achieve your goals in a time frame but you are right to start now rather than saying "I'll start after..."

    It certainly can be tricky if you are not catering for yourself... portion control may well be your most important friend here, maybe smaller plates to assist not just you but anyone dishing up?

  • I started the 12 week plan as a student last year and you can still achieve a significant weight loss alongside the student lifestyle. I never turned down a social occasion but found that I was always able to compensate for overindulgences in food and alcohol by being extra careful in the days leading up to or after an event. Make sure that you always have a healthy breakfast and lunch earlier in the day if you know that you are going to go off-plan later on.

    Your shared meals might be an issue. The main way you could compromise is portion size. Make sure that you are in control of what actually goes on your plate. Are the meals that you and your friends cook healthy in general? If this isn't working out for you it might be better to start cooking for yourself.

  • Humm. That is tough with the cooking rota.

    On the plus side, I absolutely think you should allow yourself some days off! I've always found that if you don't allow yourself anything you don't stick to it. Since September I've managed to get through my 30th birthday, a week in Disneyland and Christmas. Now I can assure you they were not healthy times! But I still set myself a target, which sometimes was actually an amount of weight gain! My aim was to maintain my weight during that time if possible, or if not up to a maximum weight gain of 2lbs. I'm trying to be realistic so allowed myself that, as 2lbs isn't the end of the world and should come off quickly, as long as you get straight back to healthy living after, which it did for me.

    You've got to have some fun 😊

  • Thanks everybody! Feeling much more confident about it now :) I forgot to say about the meal rota that on the whole we eat very healthily (and vegetarian barring some weekends) so I wasn't so much concerned about the food so much as the lack of planning power. But thanks for the suggestions! And now I will definitely have my birthday off and enjoy myself - I think you're right that it'll be something to look forward to so will keep me going :)

  • Find great slimming recipes and suggest it to them, they can add extras to their meal, I make a lovely fish pie, with spring onions, creme friache ( using fix Pie mix) I always have celeriac , I cook for others with potato.

    Celeriac you could ask for separately, it's a bit more money, or just cook for you?

    These are the sort of things I would, using say healthier sausages , not much price in the ranges, try these ideas?

  • I'm a student just starting healthy eating but I live with my partner and I'm more or less in control of the food shop and the cooking so if we eat badly it's on me.

    The only issues for me is he likes more protein whereas I prefer more veg and carbs. I tend to cater for that by giving him most of my portion of protein and i take most of his veg but he wants to lose weight too, I hope i'm not sabotaging him by doing this.

    It's good you guys eat healthily I'm envious of the vegetarian meals i badly want at least one vegetarian night.

    Definitely enjoy your birthday. I'm going on an all inclusive holiday in March I intend to be healthy but give myself some leeway. Luckily it will be a lot of mediteranean dishes so generally healthy.

    Good luck

    Have fun

    All the best

    Lu ☺

  • Good luck to you too!! And I hope you really enjoy your holiday - I've now heard a few people saying that a planned day/week off can actually motivate you more than an endless 12-week (or more) slog of dieting.

    We have a boy in our house and he actually loves all the veggie food and just eats meat on the weekends. Our favourite meals are fajitas, vegetarian curry (Deliciously Ella's Warming Winter Curry is fab: really filling, really cheap and really easy) and vegetarian lasagne. You could maybe try one of those on your partner and see if he actually misses the meat or not?!

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