In this post I’m going to talk about diet and, more precisely, why I’m never going to say no to cake and pasta and bread and all the things I like. On January all the ads with “indulgence”, “treat yourself” and recipes for fatty Christmas foods are gone. Now it’s time for “New Year New You” and “getting fit” and offers on healthy snacks and workout DVDs. I believe that the shops and supermarkets are only responding to what people want and what they are looking for. I don’t believe that. I don’t think there is a time to indulge and there is a time to… well, not eat anything you like. I think I escaped going round in circles by not saying no to cake and when I say cake I mean every food I like.
This slice of Victoria sponge is from a couple of days ago. Loved it.
For Christmas I prepared a lot of food, as you can see in my Christmas menu and I received chocolate as gift. Well, I ate the Christmas pudding in January because it was too much food during Christmas, I’m yet to open the chocolate I received then. I had no wish to overindulge because I always eat what I want.
I remember a few years ago reading something like: “if you are going on a diet, at some point you are going to get off a diet”. It’s true and I say it doesn’t work. Restrictions are only going to build up frustrations and that will lead to overeating when the diet is over or, most likely, at the first birthday/holiday/occasion.
The hard truth is that most of us will put on weight if we eat more than we need to. Of course there are people that have health issues, I’m not talking about that. Luckily, I don’t have any health issues, so, for me, any weight I put on or loose comes down to how well I’m balancing my diet to my lifestyle. So far, in the last years I did ok. I have the same weight today that I had last year in January, 3-4 pounds more comparing to January 2015 and 2-3 pounds less comparing to January 2014. During the summer, I usually have a few pounds less and now I’m hoping to get to that weight and maintain it during winter too. The only reason for this fluctuation is that I burn less calories as I have more work to do, I have less time for workouts and we have shorter outside activities as it’s colder.
When it comes to food I’ve made this mistake once, to change all the food I was eating and bring it to a healthy standards no matter what. I stopped because I was getting bored and I had no time due to changes at work. I put back some of the weight as the food I was eating had more calories that I needed. Now I’m achieving a happy medium I would say. I eat cake, like the one in the picture, but I will try to make it as healthy as possible without compromising the taste. It’s a Victoria sponge, it has loads of butter, but I used a mixture of wholemeal and white flour, I put a shop-bought strawberry jam with the first ingredient in its ingredients list being strawberries and not sugar. I used whipping cream instead of double cream as it has less fat and didn’t even consider the option of buttercream. I will also try to eat it as early as possible, for example after lunch and not after dinner. Small things that, in my experience, have a significant impact.
Because I cook and bake at home, I have a lot of flexibility. I’ve reduced the amount of sugar and fat I use in cooking, gradually. Now, after a few years, my husband and I can’t eat some of the things that are available in the supermarkets and some restaurants. I can’t eat chocolate spread because I can only taste the sugar and it’s not nice, I can’t drink sugary drinks and most desserts. I don’t enjoy any of those things. It’s not a restriction and it didn’t start as a restriction, but as a way to eat more healthy and I reduced the amount I was consuming.
If you want to try something new, that might really change your life forever, is not to refuse yourself anything. If you want cake, eat cake, if you want chips, eat chips. Try to discover better ways to enjoy them, like in the mornings or for lunch or eat a smaller portion. If you can, make it yourself with wholemeal versions, replace the animal fat with 1 spoon or two of oil and add some grated cheese on top if you want to. For pasta and rice, think of less fatty sauces and recipes, add some mushrooms. I love this kind of vegan pasta with all sort of veggies. Sometimes I would add some cheese on top, but most of the times I would eat it as it is. My husband prefers pasta like this too.
Another thing I do is to balance what I’m eating in a day. If I had a soup & sandwiches for breakfast and pasta & cake for lunch, I would make a stir-fry for dinner, with loads of veggies and spices, but very few calories.
Do you eat the cake? I would love to hear your thoughts.