Or why I’ve jumped on the low carb bandwagon
I don’t know about you, but an office job was never something I saw myself getting. The big name lure of Amazon and bright lights of London got me though, and last January I was catapulted into the corporate world of phone calls, coffee/snack breaks and Excel. Before that, I’d been a tour guide and bar tender, on my feet for the majority of shifts and busy enough to power through without eating or snacking too much. My weight was pretty consistent without going to the gym. However. The abrupt change to sitting at a desk for hours on end combined with waking up for a 7am train have lead to an extensive (1.5 stone, a hefty (lol) 10kg) gain. If it were muscle I’d be fine with that, but I know it’s pure fat. And not the good, subcutaneous fat that sits under your skin but the visceral fat that snakes around organs, widening my torso. Had that weight gone to my boobs that wouldn’t’ve been such an issue. Instead, cue muffin top and truck-worthy arse developing.
Enough was enough. I’d tried ‘fad’ diets before, reducing my portions, eating tiny salads for lunch and binging when I got home, a “teatox” but nothing had had a lasting impact on my health. I did a little bit of research and came across Dr Ian L White’s Get Thinner Stay Thinner. The basic premise is cut out carbs or go low carb, drink more water and exercise to exhaustion once a week. That’s it. No fad diet, no small portions, no cutting out cheese (the big win for me, I bloody love cheese!). And you were allowed a cheat day! I knew it was going to be tough: similar to most people you and I know, I have very limited willpower. You’ve opened a box of chocolates? Oh, I’ll just have one (aka five). Is that a Jaffa cake? Gimme [the pack]. Cold turkey was going to be the only way. I also know I’m terrible at holding myself accountable and hitting my goals. As a stationary fiend, I dug out a half-used note book and vowed to keep a food diary (at 2 weeks in, you’ll be pleased to hear it’s still happening! *mini fist pump*, and I’ve lost 5 lbs.)
When I told some of my friends what I was doing I got the strangest looks. Not meaning to brag, just being honest, the most common response was “But Rose you don’t need to lose weight, what are you on about?!”Keep in mind I’m 5’ 10”, weigh 11 stone and favour loose tops/dresses you’d be forgiven for thinking I was as slim as I had once been. Although the perception is that I’m “thin”, I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin any more. I am doing it for me, for how I want to look and how I want to feel.
One person said “so which club do you belong to? The beach-body-ready or the new-year-new-me club?”
“Neither,” I said, “I’m in the “oh-crap-my-size-10-jeans-won’t-do-up-and-I’m-too-skint-to-get-a new-size-12-pair club.”
I’m sure the name will catch on eventually.
What I thought would be the big three issues turned out to be complete non-issues. What food could I eat (as I’m sure is true for you, carbs form the basis and majority of my meals)? Wouldn’t it be expensive? What could I eat when I went out?
After a bit of researching, I came up with a few simple-ish meals that were quick and tasty to make. Here’s what I eat most days:
B R E A K F A S T bacon and eggs [usually poached, sometimes scrambled in butter], or an apple and nut butter, or flourless egg muffins.
L U N C H salad with chicken, or corguette spaghetti, pesto and cheese,
D I N N E R low carb lasagna [here], riceless curries [current fave: Thai curry] or oven baked fish with steamed veggies.
S N A C K S alpro yoghurt, seeds, blueberries and honey [totally delicious], crudités and peanut butter [I love Pip & Nut], roasted nuts, cheese wrapped in ham.
D R I N K S water [I carry a 750ml bottle EVERYWHERE], peppermint/green tea, coffee [so much coffee], dry white wine with soda water/diet lemonade [not everyday mind you!]
Here’s how much I spend on my weekly shop: overall, £20 – £30 depending on what food I fancy. Having said that, items like cheese, nut butter, eggs and bacon don’t necessarily need to be purchased weekly. I’d also recommend investing in some spices to make your food more appealing. Yes, it is a bit more expensive than a normal week [box of cereal, pasta, veggies and meat would be less overall] but the offset is the health benefits and not having a gym membership!
Dining out: my love affair with salad and vegetables. Most places offer a salad of some description, or even a ‘skinny’ version of a regular meal [e.g. Skinny burger = no bun, and a salad instead of chips]. I’ve also taken to asking for what I want if I can’t see the combo on the menu: most restaurants are very accommodating with requests if you’re polite and not too pushy/demanding! I tend to reserve dining out for my cheat days so I can have a pudding.
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