Eat Well Without Busting Your Belt, 5 Tips from The Hairy Bikers for Newcastle Can
So, you’re thinking about losing weight but aren’t sure where to begin. We know how you feel! Perhaps you’re embarrassed, apprehensive or a little overwhelmed by all the conflicting advice out there? We don’t blame you! But losing weight can be straight forward, and there’s no need for you to feel deprived of the foods you love. We believe that losing weight starts with a change of mind-set. Healthy living is a lifestyle choice, and there are a few simple changes you can make that will not only help you shift timber, but feel a lot better too. Here’s our top 5 tips on losing weight without any of the hassle.
1. Shop local
While it’s tempting to buy all your ingredients in one large supermarket, we believe that better quality produce (in the quantities you need) is found in smaller, independent shops. There’s nothing quite like a butcher’s cut of grass-fed beef, or the taste of a newly-dug potato. So, our first tip is, shop local. Now, to save time, you might decide to grab all your bits from one place. The Blagdon Farm Shop is a terrific example in this instance, because not only can you pick up your meat and two veg for your supper, but also your milk, fish and freshly baked bread for the rest of the week! Grainger Market in the heart of the city centre is another example, where you can get a huge selection of fresh produce at a lower cost than at your local supermarket. Spending your hard-earned dosh on local produce supports the community, and helps Newcastle retain its unique character as a result. Furthermore, the brilliance of farm shops, delis, green grocers and butchers is you never need to buy more than you need.
Think about it for a moment. Large supermarkets have a nasty habit of packing food into groups, so even if you only need one courgette, you’re forced to buy three. This is a problem for two reasons: firstly, you might be tempted to cook and eat more than you need, and secondly, your unwanted leftovers and plastic packets have a negative environmental impact. So, where possible, support independent vendors and only ever pick up what you need. As a bonus, you’ll probably discover you save a few quid too.
2. Always be prepared
Much in the same way the Newcastle District Scouts would know to carry their wet weather gear and emergency supplies when going out on a hike, we must equip ourselves with the tools and supplies for eating well and losing weight. Getting caught off guard can lead to the frantic ordering of an emergency takeaway, so each week you need to plan your meals as well as your snacks and desserts. Doing this is easy. First, take inventory of what you already have, and formulate an eating plan that uses your current supplies. Make a note of any additional ingredients you require and head off to the shops! If you have a busy life, you might find an online shop easier. Of course, none of this is of any use if you can’t so much as boil an egg. If you want, you can invest in a cookery class or ask a friend or neighbour to show you the ropes.
3. Fakeaway it
Sometimes, a Friday night is incomplete without a takeaway curry – we agree! But did you know that in the time it takes for your curry to arrive, you could prepare something even more delicious for half the price and with half the calories? Check out our vegetable curry recipe if you don’t believe us! Or, if Chinese is your takeaway of choice, why not try our chicken and cashew stir fry? Remember, each time you do this, you save money – so why not spend all that extra dosh on something nice for yourself? A new pair of jeans for your slimmer self, perhaps?
4. Stay smart when socialising
Just because you’re dieting doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck in on a Saturday night with nothing but limp salad leaves and a glass of tap water. You can still eat at restaurants, hit the clubs and go to weddings and birthday parties without feeling self-conscious or limited. Again, the trick is preparation. If you’re going to a restaurant with friends, look at the menu online in advance and opt for a simple dish like fish and steamed veggies. A quick healthy snack before you leave the house will mean you eat slightly less at the restaurant, or feel too full to order a dessert.
Also, moderate yourself when it comes to ‘treats’. For example, instead of having a sweet cocktail and a dessert, opt for one or the other. If possible, walk to the restaurant instead of driving, or, conversely, assign yourself the task of ‘designated driver’ to limit your alcohol intake. For information on how alcohol affects your diet, you can read our dedicated blog post.
Of course, not all social activity revolves around food and drink. Take charge of your friendship group for the day and book an activity that burns calories! Go for a walk through the picturesque Jesmond Dean Park, or test your limits at the Newcastle Climbing Centre. Whatever you choose to do, stick a healthy snack pack in your purse so that you’re less likely to pick up a packet of crisps midway through the day.
5. Own it
Our final tip is to own your weight and commit to your lifestyle change. Denying your true size or telling yourself you can’t do it will only hold you back. Be honest about your measurements and record them each week so that you can watch your progress as it unfolds. Similarly, as you begin to see improvements to your health, such as better sleep or an improved ability to walk long distances, own your success! Record it and reward yourself for it. Create a reward box (an old shoe box will be fine) and fill it with the things you love – your favourite magazine, a DVD, a face mask, bath oils, candles…) and open it each time you shift some timber.
Finally, take a full body photo of yourself before you begin and lock it away. Whenever you feel yourself tempted by the biscuit barrel, look at the photo and ask yourself, is that really what I want? Once you’ve hit your target, take another photo for comparison. You’ll be amazed at the results.
Thanks to The Hairy Bikers for their support for Newcastle Can and their tips, advice and information for losing weight and getting healthier!