I knew this would happen!

I have always shied away from calorie counting because it can make me obsessed over food. Today I proved the point. I checked the calories and fat content of the food in our freezer and then went online to check the values for other foods we enjoy. I spent so long doing this that I didn't do things that I'd planned to do.

Enough is enough. Hubby says that he loses weight on a low fat diet, so that's what we're going to do. We're going to empty the freezer and cupboards of unhealthy food. Shopping will focus on fat and sugar content. Reducing fat and sugar should reduce calories. Cooking 'proper' meals instead of relying on ready meals will give more control over what we eat and give us a better chance of having a balanced diet. I might even get closer to my 5 a day.

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11 Replies

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  • Sounds like a plan, a good plan. All the best to you.

  • Totally agree about the obsession, can't entirely agree with the solution though.

    Natural fat is healthier than a lot of the alternatives, and takes about four hours to digest. So yes it's higher in calories, but those calories take more than twice as long to get into the bloodstream, providing the sustained energy/satiety that most people need.

    The NHS were quick to copy the man-made food group guide, and affirm that we shouldn't eliminate any food groups. That same logic is even more poignant to the natural foods that we evolved with i.e. minimising natural fat leads to health problems.

  • When I say low fat I'm referring to fat in processed foods. So things like pizza, pie and ready meals are off the menu because of the fat content. The same applies to cakes and biscuits. We haven't had things like crisps for years and we don't miss them, so that's not an issue.

    As for the meals I'm planning to cook, I'll be using lean meat like chicken and lean mince. I know it's not advisable to remove fat from your diet completely. I don't even know if it's possible without going vegan, and even then there are vegetable fats/oils. I'm just hoping to get us closer to the NHS recommendation of 20g of fat per day for a woman and 30g for a man. Right now we're well over that.

  • That doesn't seem right; it's ridiculously low even for a low-fat diet.

    It used to be around 30% of calories, and even that is too low.

  • I've just read on NHS Choices, that is the recommendation for saturated fat, which is also not based on sound science since the population is only eating 12.6% of kcalories from saturated fat anyway (and that no doubt includes the processed foods you identified) compared to the 11% recommended.

    The facts are that the body uses twice as much energy in the form of fat compared to carbohydrate, so if we don't eat sufficient the body has synthesise it from carbohydrate which raises the risk of harmful blood lipids (low HDL, high VLDL, high triglycerides). Also, body-fat is almost 40:60 saturated and mono-unsaturated fat with only small amounts of PUFAs. Assuming my body isn't trying to kill me, that would seem the ideal ratio to ingest natural fats (also containing vital, fat-soluble vitamins) to provide what the body actually needs?

  • I agree, I'm not a fan of calorie counting. I cook a lot of my food from scratch, so find calorie counting a nightmare, because I have to look up all the individual ingredients, and add everything up!

    I think it's important to be roughly aware of the calories in your meals though and just to make sure you know what a portion of something actually looks like. It's easy to overestimate what a portion of cheese or pasta or cereal looks like, but if you know the calories in it, you can find ways to cut back. Replacing with vegetables is the best way to keep the calorie content down.

  • My main issue is with portion size. I'm planning to cut down the amount of meat I use and increase the amount of vegetables. That will be tricky - Hubby doesn't like veg except peas, carrots, sweet corn or bell peppers. I'm also hoping to reduce portion size over all. We should get used to smaller portions over time, which will help to keep the weight off.

  • You can add lentils to bolognese to replace some of the meat - that'she a good way to help cut down.

    My OH doesn't like a lot of veg either, but just experiment with the way you cook them. My OH hated carrots until I steamed them. He'll eat one or two bits now.

  • Yes, I was going to suggest bulking out meals with pulses and legumes. If I make bolognese, I add lots of finely diced celery and carrot (grated carrot). It absorbs the flavours of the sauce and can almost go undetected!

  • If calories are driving you mad maybe you could try something like slimming world? :) it's something you could attend together. You don't count calories (just aim for reasonable portion sizes) and you only count "syns" (you get 15 a day) which are in things like cheese, bread, sweets etc. And it encourages eating low fat things and cooking from scratch :)

    Just thought I would add this as a suggestion as I did SW for two years because I couldn't deal with counting calories and it DOES work. I've stopped following it now to attempt calorie counting but I definitely recommend it :) but it might not be for you and that is fine :)

    I hope your method works for you :) :) goodluck!

  • I am the same CheerfulDragon 😕 You are not alone!

    So you are doing absolutely right to focus on portion control and proper food ☺ increasing vegetables to bulk out casseroles is an excellent plan ☺ (I grate them) Adding pulses also reduces cost and adds fibre which is very beneficial. It's great your husband is on board too as this makes it so much easier ☺

    Getting your head around your new eating regime is so important, it has to work for you if it is to succeed long term, so well done on recognising the problem and finding a solution ☺

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