Category Archives: Dieting

Smoothie Bowl

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Have you seen the brightest new kid on the block?

Smoothie bowls have arrived!

If you’re a regular reader of the blog you’ll know I’m a big believer in food as medicine and the new trend of Smoothie Bowls is a fantastic way to take your medicine.

Different colour foods contain different nutrients and the deeper the colour the richer the source.

Not only that, but these delicious, healthy bowls are definitely instagram ready!

Personally I have the artistic flair of a dead slug, but even I can make one of these look reasonably attractive.

Choose brightly coloured fruits, nuts and seeds on a naturally coloured smoothie of your choice – from vibrant beetroot to cool blueberry, the rainbow is yours to play with. And if you want to go pastel, try freezing the fruit. You can even bejewel your creation with pomegranate seeds, redcurrants or citrus segments.

I’ve added a couple of my latest pics, but I’d love to see yours if you give them a go.

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What is Hypnosis?

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I have been a practising hypnotist for over 5 years now, and I really struggle to answer this very basic question.

What is Hypnosis? 

It’s difficult to answer because there are so many answers and so many different experiences of hypnosis. As far as I can tell, everyone seems to experience it in different ways. For some (around about 1-2%) it feels really uncomfortable and they struggle to find a way in. For others (10-20%) it’s a magical experience that alters their reality in easily accessible ways – these are the people who are chosen for stage hypnotist shows where they make things invisible etc. For the vast majority of people it is neither of those things. Instead they will tell me “It was like I was listening to you speak, and I heard what you were saying, but it felt like my mind drifted and it was like I was fading in and out.”

If you ask ‘experts’ on hypnosis you will get lots of different opinions and views too. Some believe it is a state of mind that we drift into and out of all the time. Some believe that it is a way of accessing your true self. Some believe it allows you to reach back into past lives. You will hear words like conscious and subconscious as though they are areas of the brain that can be poked and prodded. People talk of somnambulist (or sleep walkers) and ‘depths’ of hypnosis as though you can be a bit hypnotised or really hypnotised.

At one time I described it as a directed placebo effect as I believed that you had to ‘buy into’ the process for it to work, but over the years I have learned that this isn’t true either.

Let me tell you my truth about hypnosis – it’s just your imagination.

Now, please don’t read the word ‘just’ and think I am not giving your imagination the credit it deserves. Your imagination is probably the most amazing thing about you. It allows you to formulate plans, predict the future, extrapolate ideas, and create stories. It allows you to interpret sound, sight, smell and touch – to understand and empathise. It is essentially you.

The skill of the hypnotist comes into play to allow you to use your imagination in a useful, productive and often amazing way.

Take a look at most Hypnotherapist’s websites and you will find a list of the most common things they deal with..

Addiction (including smoking)

Weight Loss

Phobias

Anxiety and stress management.

What do all of these things have in common? They are created from belief patterns.

I can’t live without…. or I can’t stop thinking about….or I can’t be around…..or I can’t cope with….

Actually none of those statements are true.

You absolutely can live without whatever it is you are hooked on (as long as it’s not food, water, air etc) by changing how you think about it.

You can totally stop thinking of anything.

You can be around something you have a phobia of, as long as you change your fear response (which was created by your imagination in the first place).

You can cope – you just need to learn how.

A skilled hypnotist can provide you with enough input to help you to make a change, but it is a collaborative process. It happens because you want it to. In fact, if you have the skills and knowledge you don’t need another person to be involved at all. Many, many people around the world employ self hypnosis techniques like the Betty Erickson technique, the eye fixation technique or the switch technique – so it’s not something that has to be done to you. You can hypnotise yourself.

So, what is hypnosis? I’m still not entirely sure, but for me it is focused, beneficial use of your imagination to achieve a desired outcome.

Why don’t you have a try for yourself and see what happens? Maybe you’ll get the results you’re looking for. Maybe you won’t. If you do – Fantastic! I’m thrilled you’ve found this potential within yourself. If you don’t – why not give your friendly, local hypnotherapist a call and see if they can nudge you in the right direction.

 

 

 

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New Year, New Me?

Hello beautiful people! How’s your New Year going so far?

Have you set yourself a load of New Year’s resolutions or are you planning on staying exactly as you currently are? If you’re perfect already, why change?

Most of us haven’t quite achieved the ‘perfect’ status as yet and so may have some things that we are working on – getting fitter, slimmer, happier, richer, calmer, more motivated or maybe even just working on blogging more!

I’m a big fan of learning, growing and self improvement, but more importantly than all of that I’m an advocate of being kind to yourself.

I see lots of clients with various issues that they are looking to change. One of the most common factors that runs through all of them is a lack of self kindness. When I hear the words people use about themselves it horrifies me. I honestly believe that most people are bullies.

As a society, we generally frown on bullying. We dislike it when people use aggressive or hurtful language to each other. We cringe when people call other people names. We are against shaming people – and yet we seem to do it to ourselves all the time.

See if you can recognise any of these thoughts…

I’m not good enough

I hate myself

I’m so stupid

I’m fat and disgusting

I’m too thick to do that

I have no self control

I am so embarrasing

I’m useless

Now imagine saying that to someone you care about? Would you say any of this to someone you love?

You’re not good enough

I hate you

You’re so stupid

You’re fat and disgusting

You’re too thick to do that

You have no self control

You’re so embarrasing

You’re useless

Sounds pretty awful right? I know if someone spoke to me that way I wouldn’t want to hang out with them and I certainly wouldn’t call them motivational or helpful.

When I think about motivational work, I think about supportive, helpful language. Words that will encourage and lift the person hearing them. Things like…

You CAN do this

You can achieve anything you set your mind to

It’s a learning process, keep trying

Everyone has to start somewhere

You are in control

We all make mistakes, forget it and move on

I’m proud of the effort you are putting in

Look how far you’ve come

These things sound more like something I would say to a friend or someone I cared about. Think about how these words would make you feel compared to the earlier list.

For most of us, changing the way we speak to ourselves takes some practice. The chances are that we have been using bullying language for a long time, so it may take a concerted effort to change your internal dialogue – and that’s OK. It’s a learning process. Don’t give up, you are in control. If you even give this a go I will be so proud of you for trying to make a positive change – you CAN do this!


Changing the way that you think and feel can sometimes be challenging when you are trying to do all the work yourself. If you need a helping hand, take one! There are plenty of people like me who are professional therapists who’s passion in life is to help people like you feel the way you want to. Hypnotherapy is a great tool to take some of the hard work out of these sort of changes.

 

 

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The language of food and what it means.

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A lot of the people I see come to me because they have issues with their weight.

The vast majority of them want to lose weight (though some have issues around limited eating or eating disorders) and they often tell me that they struggle to control their hunger. They are sometimes ‘always hungry‘ and sometimes ‘eat when they are not hungry’. When I ask them about their ‘Newsfeed’, I often get a confused look.

Let me explain where I’m coming from.

Language is a funny thing – especially the English language. It is full of metaphor, simile, multiple meanings and interesting roots. The use of language influences the way we think – so much so that when people do brain scans of bilingual people, they can sometimes differentiate between which language they are thinking in! As a result, the words we think in can influence our feelings and therefore our behaviours.

So, let’s explore some language around eating.

Metaphors around food and eating

Food / eating metaphors are often associated with things we like or dislike

‘That’s just to my taste’  ‘You’re my cup of tea’  ‘I could eat him up’ ‘She’s the cream of the crop’  ‘That’s the cherry on the top’

or

‘It left a bad taste in my mouth’  ‘That thought turns my stomach’ ‘scraping the bottom of the barrel’  ‘I’m sick of this feeling’

There are also lots of metaphors related to food and eating when it comes to information.

‘Here’s some food for thought’ ‘Do you just swallow everything you are told?’ ‘Do you fall for it hook, line and sinker?’ ‘How’s is your newsfeed?’ ‘Do you like things sugarcoated?’ or maybe you ‘take things with a pinch of salt’. If things are too ‘plain’ or ‘bland’ do you want them to be ‘spiced up a little?’ If you have ‘too much on your plate’ do you ‘break it down to bite sized chunks’ or spend time ‘ruminating’ on it? If you ‘bite off more than you can chew’, do you find it ‘hard to digest?’ or then again maybe you just ‘choke’. Do you ‘Cherry Pick’ your information or do you want to ‘have your cake and eat it?’

One of the quirks of being us is that we often conflate things. In this case the language of eating and the language of information.

This then begs the question, are there similarities between your approach to information and your approach to food?

Do you believe everything that you see or hear, or are you particular about where your information comes from?

Do you only look for information when you need it or are you permanently on the look out for stimulation?

Do you focus your attention at a particular time or are you always open for more?

Are you fussy about what you let in?

Do you like to be entertained with fast, cheap, junk or are you looking for something that nourishes you?

For those of you on WordPress, look are your reader lists – what do you see? If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, what does your ‘newsfeed’ look like? How often do you look at it?


I am constantly fascinated with the language of metaphors and would love to know of any more that you think of, or any insights you may have.

Please leave any feedback in the comments – I’m ‘hungry to hear’ what you have to say!

 

 

 

 

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How do I help a fussy eater?

Hello beautiful people!

It’s May already. A third of the way through the year? How’s it going? Are you getting closer to your goals? Have you given up on them? Maybe they’ve just changed as your priorities have.

In January I decided that May would be a good month to talk about food. So, here goes.

Food – I love food. That’s not quite right – I LOVE food. I’m one of those people who wake up in the morning thinking about what they are going to eat today. I enjoy eating it, I enjoy cooking it, I enjoy shopping for it, I enjoy trying new things and revisiting old familiar things.

I like exploring food – if there is a new taste, a new texture, a new sensation to be had – I want it. My partner recently tried miracle berries. They were on my bucket list to try, so I was very excited to give them a go.

Miracle berries have a strange property. They stop you from tasting sour. So we lined up a load of foods which you normally think of as sour or sharp. We cut up lemons, limes, grapefruit and cooking apples. We got sharp tasting liquids like lemon juice, and vinegar. We got pickled things like onions and cabbage. We even got some guinness – not a classically sharp taste, but suggested as part of our little experiment. We got them all lined up and sucked on our miracle berries.

You have to keep them in your mouth for about 5 minutes. They don’t have a particular taste and there was no real sensation so I was a little doubtful that they would work. We were both a little nervous going for our first sharp flavour, but figured in for a penny, in for a pound, so grabbed a wedge of lemon and bit in….

….and it was delicious! It had the sweetest, loveliest flavour ever! We were so thrilled with the effect we blatted through the rest of the foods, amazed with their varying flavours. It was a really good fun half an hour. The effect started to wear off towards the end, but it was a gradual fade, so the sharpness just crept in slowly, and was kind of great too.

As part of my practice I’ve worked with a few people with food phobias. Generally these are adults, as for some reason, people think it’s perfectly OK for their kids to be fussy eaters. They let their kids get away with a restricted diet which then leads to issues for them as adults. As well as obvious problems like malnutrition, poor skin, poor eyesight and generally poor health, being a fussy eater can make it more difficult for people to socialise, to be around others, to train and to manage their weight. For me, eating new things is such a joy, I love helping people discover that joy for themselves.

A couple of quick tricks you can try if you are trying to eat new things.

First – don’t force it! All you are doing is building resistance if you try to force yourself to eat something. Try getting yourself in a position where you can be relaxed and comfortable before you try a new food.

Secondly – make it a really small amount. What ever food you are trying, cut a really small amount of it up. I mean really small. Then put that tiny piece in your mouth. Notice what it feels like, what tasted you notice, what thoughts it makes you think of. Do this every day for a month. Always try a small piece, but if you feel more confident, you can make it a bit bigger each time.

Finally – cook it in a different way. Don’t like boiled carrots? Try roasting them…or poaching them in sugar water with star anise, or grating them on a salad, or grating them into a bolognaise sauce, or just try them raw! Just because you don’t like them the way that you’ve tried them before, doesn’t mean you won’t like them a different way.

 

 

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Am I addicted?

Have you ever wondered if you are an addict? Chances are that you probably have some form of addiction or another. If you smoke, drink daily, can’t start the morning without a coffee or end dinner without dessert then you may have an addiction.

An addiction is defined as not having control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you.

So let’s think about that for a moment. We know smoking is harmful to us so it’s easy to see that as an addiction, but other things are sometimes more difficult to see that way. Did you know that you should go at least 3 days a week without drinking any alcohol in order for your liver to recover? So drinking alcohol every day is damaging, even if it’s only a small glass of wine with dinner. If the idea of giving up booze for three days a week is uncomfortable – you have an addiction.

How about sugar? We know that too much sugar in our diet causes obesity and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Still fancy a doughnut? Then you, my friend, are addicted!

Is there such a thing as a healthy addiction? Looking back at the definition, no there isn’t, but it’s not quite that simple.

Some people go to the gym every day. Exercising is good for us right? Yes, of course it is, but exercising every day is not. Your body needs time to recover and heal from exercise too. If you can’t have a rest day, you have an addiction. If you are exercising against doctors orders, you have an addiction. if you are exercising when you are unwell, you have an addiction. If you are exercising on an injury ….you guessed it.

How about a healthy diet. If you read my blog regularly you will now that I am always banging on about eating healthily. Veggies are good for you, nutrient rich food is important, eat you fibre blah blah blah. But if you are out with friends and can’t order off the menu because there’s nothing on it you can eat (and you don’t have specific allergies related to the foods) then you may have a type of addiction. It’s known as orthorexia, and it’s where people restrict their food choices in an unhealthy way.

Addiction is everywhere. I would suggest a few things.

First – Recognise your own addictions. If you don’t know you have them it’s very difficult to do something about them. Look at your day in a critical way and ask yourself is there any part of it that you would be unhappy if you couldn’t do. Then ask yourself – is that a healthy habit?

Second – ask those you love, and who love you, for their input. You may be surprised that they come up with things you may never have thought of. Things like excessive personal hygiene, excessive cleaning, watching too much porn and gaming often come up from other people.

Third – Try to change your routine to cut out your addiction.

Finally – Remember PEOPLE QUIT STUFF THEY ARE ADDICTED TO ALL THE TIME. Let that sink in for a moment. Just because you are addicted now, does not mean that you have to stay addicted. Yes it will feel uncomfortable. Yes it will be tricky and Yes, you CAN do it.

If people can quit heroin, you can quit smoking. If people can quit crack cocaine, you can quit sugar. I know you like it – they probably liked their heroin too.


Some people can kick their addictions on their own, and I would always suggest that as a first try. If however you struggle, that does not mean you have no other choices. Get support and help to quit your addiction from professionals who have the skills to help you.

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A tasty, heart healthy, Valentine’s treat

February is Heart Awareness month. With that in mind, and also knowing the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach (and a women’s is through chocolate) I’ve put together a little sweet treat that’s a bit healthier than your standard brownie. The fat comes from Avocado and the sugar is mostly from maple syrup. It’s choc full of nuts (almonds and peanuts) and has a few sexy seeds thrown in for good measure. Most of all though, they taste absolutely fantastic. They are a treat, but one you shouldn’t feel too guilty about as the high protein content from the nuts and seeds will keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Ingredients

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1 ripe avocado                                                     60g smooth peanut butter

75g dark brown sugar                                       1 tsp vanilla essence

30g cocoa                                                              1 large egg

30g Raw cacao                                                     50g Dried Cherries (or goji berries or cranberries)

150 g ground almonds                                      A handful of whatever seeds you fancy (I’ve used

100 ml of maple syrup                                          pumpkin seeds and flax seeds in this one)

 

Preheat oven to 180C/160c Fan/Gas 4. Line a 20cm/20cm tin with grease proof paper

Scoop out the flesh of the avocado into a bowl and mash it up (discard the stone and skin)

Now this is the tricky bit….throw everything else in the bowl and mix. How simple is that? If it seems too thick add a few tablespoons of water and mix again until you have an even consistency (with dried fruit and seeds in).

img_20170209_163555369_burst000_cover_top

Spoon into the lined tin and try to level the top off as best you can – mine always looks a bit lumpy, but I’m OK with that.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.

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Cut into squares and enjoy x

 

 

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Eat more to lose weight

Recently I seem to have a lot of people telling me they can’t lose weight because they aren’t eating enough.

I don’t buy it.

There is a very simple equation when it comes to losing weight. If you put more in than you are using, you put on weight. If you put the same amount in as you are using, you stay the same. If you put less in than you are using, you lose weight.

OK, I accept that if you are doing a lot of training and building muscle, then that can go a little awry as muscle weighs more than fat, but in that case you will still be losing fat, even if you are not losing weight.

So what’s going on? Are people just in denial? Are they lying to me? Are they lying to themselves? My guess is the answer is yes to at least one of those if not all.

Let’s start by thinking about them lying to themselves. Did you know that when people are asked to keep a food diary, they normally under report the calories they are eating by about a third – yes 33% less than what they are actually consuming. They don’t do it deliberately, but it happens all the same. This comes from a number of things.

  1. They don’t notice that they’ve eaten a slightly larger portion than they should have had. Or that they’ve had seconds!
  2. They forgot about that sweet, cookie, crisp or snack that they had.
  3. They forget that what they drink also contains calories (unless you are drinking, pure unadulterated water) 140 calories in a can of coke, 210 calories in a pint of cider, 600 calories in a bottle of wine.
  4. They add little extras to their food like a drizzle of olive oil or a splash of dressing (both of which are likely to be over 100 calories)
  5. They read the calories wrong – for instance if you buy a pre-prepared meal it may have a calorie amount printed on the packaging – but look carefully as this often applies to 1/2 or 1/4 or the amount of food in there as this is what they consider to be a serving size.

Then comes the lying to me. As well as the fact that they may think they are telling the truth, but are in fact actually lying (see above!) there is also the fact that a lot of people are ashamed of their eating habits. They are secret eaters and don’t like to think that other people will know about it. Quite often this type of over eater is a binger. That is to say, they maintain a normal looking diet to the world, but secretly they will binge on snacks. I understand this, but lying is a very self destructive path to take when it comes to food. What you are saying to yourself is ‘my true self is not good enough’ ‘I have to hide it or others will not like me’ ‘my true self is not likeable’. This is, of course, not true. Your eating habits may be out of control, but that doesn’t make you unlikable.

The best way to get control of your eating, is to start by being honest. It’s the bedrock that everything else builds from. So this week, my challenge to you, is to really pay attention to what you are putting in your mouth! Notice what you eat. Notice what you drink. Notice when you are secretly eating. That way if you decide you want to change things, you have a good, solid place to start from.


Being overweight put additional strain on your body and leads to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, stroke and heart attack – 4 major killers in the western world. If you struggle to get control of your weight on your own, think about getting some help. It really doesn’t have to be hard.

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Successful slimming

via Daily Prompt: Successful

Using wordpress’s daily prompt as a jumping point today’s post is about successful slimming, what it means to me and how you can make it easier to achieve.

Everyone has their own idea of what successful is, but to me the idea of successful slimming is about losing weight to get a healthier body, but without any of this suffering nonsense. It’s about not feeling hungry, it’s about eating foods that I love and it’s about not feeling restricted.

So how do you go about losing weight in a successful way?

For me the first place to start is in your head. As with most things in life, when you get your head in the right place the rest is easy. Have you ever been on a diet that failed in the first few days? Or maybe stuck to it for a week or two but felt awful the whole time? If that’s ever happened to you I would suggest that your head wasn’t in the right place to begin with.

When you decide to change something in your life it’s always a bit odd at first – after all, you’re not used to doing it. It can be useful to examine your motivation before you get started, so that you know what you’re working for.

People tend to fall into one of two categories when it comes to reasons to change. The first group are running away from something. With weight loss, they could be running from being fat, from not looking the way they want to, from shopping in plus sized stores, from feeling breathless, from aching joints or from the way that they feel inside. The other group run towards something. It could be running towards feeling slim, to liking the way they look more, to shopping at a high street/designer store, to feeling fitter, to walking easily or to feeling better in themselves. In essence these are the same set of motivators but put in a different way.

People have a natural tendency to fall into one camp or another, and sometimes there is a specific incident that affects that. For instance if someone was very overweight and they could not go on a rollercoaster it may be natural to want to run from that situation and want to change it. Or maybe there is a future event that you want to lose weight for, like a wedding, which gives you something to run towards.

I would say that you should think about whatever motivates you in the best way for you, but where you can, think about what you want, not what you don’t want. Our brains are not very good at discerning the words don’t or not. For instance in the phrase ‘don’t panic’ our brain tends to focus on the word panic….and panics. If that is exchanged for the words ‘stay calm’ then there is a much better chance that the word we react to is calm.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that we are all our own greatest hypnotists, and that most of the things that we think are recycled round and round in our heads. If the words you are using are things like ‘I don’t want to be fat’ or ‘I don’t want to eat cake today’ your brain is picking up the words fat and eat cake – which puts temptation right in our path, over and over again. No wonder it’s a struggle. Instead consciously use the words ‘I want to be thinner’ and ‘I want to make healthy food choices today’. That way you have your own personal diet supporter with you every moment.

You might like some of the other posts this January on weight loss and diet. Give them a click to see more.

Crack your cravings   Why am I always hungry?   January diet tips   Eat the rainbowwww.talktherapies.co.uk


Being at a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to take care of yourself. If you ( or someone you care about) has trouble managing their weight there are people out there who can help. Losing weight doesn’t have to be hard!

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Why am I always hungry?

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Diets work by restricting your calories. Simple as that. Yes, some combine foods in certain ways and some restrict certain food types, but ultimately it all comes down to putting fewer calories in your body than you are using.

There are 2 main reasons people fail to stick to their diet. One is because they crave a certain food or food type. I have already written a post about that this month – how to crack your cravings – check it out if you want some help with that. The other main reason is hunger, yet there is something you can do about this too – even on a restricted diet.

  1. Try to work out if you are ACTUALLY HUNGRY

That may seem silly, but quite often we ‘feel hungry’ even when we are not. Sometimes we are emotionally hungry, or hungry to be heard. Sometimes we are just thirsty and need a drink. Sometimes we want to eat food (because we like the taste) but are not hungry.

A starving man would eat just about anything – we’ve all heard tales of survivors who ate awful things just to stay alive – that’s the power of hunger. If you’re hungry, and you fancy some cake or crisps or other junk food, see if an apple will do instead. If it won’t, you’re probably not that hungry – you’re just looking for a taste sensation. That is not a good enough reason to eat if you are trying to lose weight.

You could also try asking yourself what else (other than food) you may need right now. Try giving yourself that instead and see if you feel satisfied.

Then again maybe you just need a drink and to put your feet up for 5 minutes. It’s worth a try!

2. Eat to avoid hunger.

One of the reasons we feel hungry is because our blood sugar had dropped. When we eat high sugar food it gives us a high blood sugar that our body has to bring down (because it’s really bad for us) so it changes our body chemistry reducing it. That then causes our blood sugar to drop, which in turn makes us hungry. That’s why you might find that after starting on a bar of chocolate, or packet of biscuits, you keep going back to them until they’re gone. Avoiding sugary food evens out the blood sugar meaning you get less low blood sugars and therefore don’t feel as hungry. It’s worth pointing out here that some foods get converted to sugar in your body and have the same effect. White starches like potatoes, rice, pasta, flour etc have very similar effects to sugar.

Instead of eating sugar and starch try to keep your meals small but packed with lean protein and vegetables. If you really need some starch with your meal try a sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa or chick peas.

3. Plan your meals (and have a back up)

We often reach for bad food choices when we are really hungry. They are quick, satisfying and make our life easier. People who manage their weight well are often good planners. They plan ahead – they know what they will eat and when. No long periods of starvation. No panic take away orders. Just sensible planned food. You can do this too.

Trust me if I can, you can. I used to be the person I just described but now I plan better and I’m losing weight nicely. I’m not perfect though, and that’s where the back up comes in. By having healthy choice, ready meals in the fridge and batch cooked, freezer meals ready to go at a moments notice, I can forget to plan and still have a tasty, healthy choice available to me for my meals.

4. Eat regularly.

Your body gets used to eating at certain times. Try to stick to meal times. After a week or two your body will only expect food at these times and it will become a lot easier to avoid snacking.

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