7 Easy Steps to Losing Weight (part 1) - simple food swaps to beat afternoon cravings, without giving up wine or chocolate
Losing Weight - beat afternoon cravings, without giving up wine or chocolate
Urghh…losing weight! Let’s be honest, we’d all like to lose a few pounds but the perceived effort put us off – we want the results but don’t want to do the work!
One of my most watched Facebook Lives was around ‘what’s the perfect diet?’ and I talked about finding one that you can stick to. And that’s why my ethos is around making simple food swaps for losing weight, rather than putting life on hold and making drastic changes that are hard to maintain.
Welcome to part one of a two part blog series all about losing weight! This guide is designed to get you started, quickly and easily. I’ve split the guide into two so that you don’t get overwhelmed – part one covers all your meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and part two covers all the other eating times that can get in the way of losing weight: snacks, eating out, chocolate, beer and wine ;-) and how to keep it going.
You can implement one or more of the steps this week or you can download the free 7 day meal plan which puts it all together for you. All the recipes are included so there’s no excuse.
Take action and give it a go! It will be worth it…
Do you feel like Rachel did - as if you’re on a midlife downward spiral? Time poor with no energy, (especially in the afternoon) and feeling more stressed out than ever with the daily work/family juggling act?
Deep down, you know you just don’t feel that great physically. You’ve tried diets before but they don’t last. There’s a niggling worry the extra pounds that have mysteriously crept on around your belly the last couple of years could land you in hospital with heart problems, high cholesterol or a stroke.
Does what Pippa told me sound familiar?
Now, flip those thoughts and imagine a different you. You’ve got more energy, you look a bit trimmer, and even after a bad day you feel better able to deal with the ups and downs of daily life. No afternoon fatigue slumps, no coffee cravings, no turning down nights out because you’re ‘on another diet’.
Take A Different Approach to Midlife Weight Gain
As a midlifer who has also struggled with my losing weight, I know how busy you are, so I’m making it my mission to help you take those first steps to a healthier midlife, as Rachel and Pippa did so brilliantly.
The purpose of this blog is to give you an easy, do-able way to go from knackered to kick-ass healthy WITHOUT...
Giving up chocolate or wine
Saying no thanks to nights out
Turning your eating habits upside down
All you need to do to get started is follow my seven-step plan. I’ve made it as easy and do-able as possible and I’m excited to share it with you.
If you’re already intrigued, why not download the FREE 7 day Meal Plan here and settle down with a cuppa to find out exactly how this could be change you’ve been looking for.
Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
In an ideal world we’d all be spending chilled out days creating healthy, tasty masterpieces in our kitchens. But you (and I) don’t have time for that. So I’ve looked at the issues around eating and created an easy to follow menu planner that:
Gives you more energy
Helps even out the highs and lows when you feel hungry or have just eaten
Makes eating out easier
Gives you healthier ‘on the go’ solutions
This 7-step plan will help take the ‘not knowing’ out of your week. How many times have you reached for the fast food option because you can’t remember what’s in the freezer? Or you’ve grabbed a salad at work, which wasn’t as healthy as promised? If your week is filled with time stresses, the one thing you do know is that you never know what is going to happen next!
So you need easy to prep, easy to cook or easy to buy options that make healthy eating as routine as doing the washing or putting petrol in the car. In other words, so easy that you barely need to think about it. My mealtime planner helps you get ahead with minimum fuss.
Step 1: What Would Kylie Do? (Or Understanding How and Why The Menu Plan Works)
As a qualified nutritionist, the science behind gaining and losing weight fascinates me. But, believe me, you really don’t need a science degree to get your head around how to become fitter and healthier.
I promise to keep the science to a minimum but it’s important to get a couple of things straight in your mind about why my plan could work for you when others have failed.
The key to understanding why that stubborn fat around your belly just won’t go away, especially in middle age, is to get your head around two key ideas - the Glycemic Index (also known as GI) and Glycemic Load (also known GL).
You'll notice that they both begin with "glycemic." That's one tip that they have to do with sugars and carbs. Not only how much sugar is in foods, but also more importantly, how it affects your blood sugar levels. And this important because it affects your sugar and carb cravings and your energy levels.
In general, diets that are high on the glycemic index (GI) and high in glycemic load (GL) tend to increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
As the name suggests, GI compares the effect that different foods have on your blood sugar level. Then each food is given a score from 0 (no effect on blood sugar) to 100 (big effect on blood sugar). Foods that cause a fast increase in blood sugar have a high GI. That is because the sugar in them is quickly processed by your digestive system and absorbed into your blood. They cause a “spike” in your blood sugar. This is bad news because after a spike comes a crash with mega sugar cravings.
Low GI is anything under 55; moderate is 56-69, and 70+ is considered a high GI food. So, lower GI foods are better at keeping your blood sugar levels stable because they don't increase your blood sugar level as fast. This means consistent energy and less cravings which in turn can lead to weight loss.
BUT: remember, GI is a measure of how fast a carbohydrate containing food is digested and raises your blood sugar. It's not a measure of the sugar content of the food.
How the carbohydrates in food affect your blood sugar level depend on other components of the food. Fibre, protein and fat can slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream, and this can make even a high-sugar food, low on the GI scale.
Confused? Stay with me because the secret of my 7-step plan is to also pay attention to the other part of the equation … the Glycemic Load.
Why is Glycemic Load important?
Glycemic load (GL) doesn’t take into account how quickly your blood sugar “spikes”, but it looks at how high that spike is. Basically, how much the food increases your blood sugar. Think big spike leads to big crash which leads to even bigger cravings.
GL depends on two things. First, how much sugar is actually in the food. Second, how much of the food is typically eaten.
Low GL would be 0-10, moderate GL would be 10-20, and high GL would 20+.
Swapping those high GI and GL foods and drinks for lower level ones is the key to losing weight and gaining energy. You stay in control of your eating and those troublesome cravings don’t undermine your best efforts.
Apparently, pop princess Kylie Minogue is a huge fan of the GI approach and if it’s good enough for her …
Hang on … I Ain’t Got Time for That!
The problem is, even if you are committed to understanding GI and GL it starts to sound like a lot of effort to work out. What’s a high GI or GL food? How do I work out the difference between the two? Memories of calorie counting diets come flooding back and that’s another stress you just don’t need.
That’s where I come in. I’ve put together 7 days of truly tasty breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options, which get the GI/GL balance right without stressing you out.
All the work is done for you! Just follow my Midlife Meal Plan and see how much of a difference it makes to your weight, your energy and stress levels.
And remember, I’m not asking you to give up all your favourite foods - I’m just helping you to get the midlife balance right.
Download my Midlife Meal Plan and start looking forward to a healthier midlife.
Step 2: Wake You Up Before You Go Go: Breakfast Options
I’m a fan of breakfast so if it’s something you’ve struggled with, at least take something to work that you can have when you arrive. You want to give your blood sugar levels the best chance first thing - it’s going to set you up for the rest of the day and avoid those 10am munchies.
If you can’t stomach breakfast but need a coffee to get out of the door in the morning, there’s a recipe for you. In the Midlife Meal Planner I’ve included three drink options (including coffee) to stop those spiking blood sugar levels that stimulants, like coffee, can cause.
Five breakfast boosters:
Greek yoghurt with blueberries
Mini mushroom frittatas (make ahead and freeze)
A handful of toasted nuts as you dash out the door
Matcha green tea latte with coconut milk
Step 3: Lunch on the Run
Lunch can be a really tricky one for busy midlifers so I would always suggest taking something with you. Make double of your dinner the night before and throw it in a Tupperware to take the next day (that’s precisely what we’ve done in the downloadable meal plan).
But if lunch is a quick sandwich on the run then I would recommend thin sliced wholemeal or rye bread if possible. Open sandwiches (so just one slice of bread) will help reduce the amount of GL too.
Five lovely lunches
Chicken with aubergine and peppers
Greek stuffed pitta bread
Tuna and tomato salad
Smoked tofu with spicy peanut sauce
Step 4: Do-able Dinners
For main meals, try to have protein and healthy fats at every meal. Look to carbs that have a lower GL. Easily digestible carbs can spike the blood sugar levels and keep you on that rollercoaster of spikes, crashes and cravings.
Fish is a great source of protein and if you’re a meat lover then lean meat and poultry are good choices.
Five Dinner Winners
Beef burrito bowl with cauli rice
Trout and capers in a butter sauce
Greek chicken burgers
One pan Mediterranean trout
Don’t expect yourself to do everything straight away. Just pick one of the steps to implement today.
Now, keep your eye out because next week I'm going to be looking at all the ‘other’ eating, outside of meal times, that can get in the way of weight loss. I'm talking snacks, eating out, wine and chocolate plus how to keep it going.
Why not grab the 7 day meal plan for midlife weight loss below and get started straight away? By the time part 2 comes out you could have experienced the benefits of eating the lower GL way.
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Midlife Menu Ltd disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.