I saw the heading of this article about weight loss by Susie Burrell, a nutritionist and thought, you beauty, does this mean I can eat big portions, burgers and fries, meat pies and kick back with a beer or two? Ok, I am basing this behaviour on some males I know, not all of them, before you start getting all hot and sweaty under the collar!
Anyway I thought this article warranted further reading to find out what Susie really means by eat like a man when it comes to weight loss and weight control. But really, what can men teach us that we don’t already know?!
It would seem that when it comes to eating, for most women it’s a minefield of emotions, psychological and cultural programming, and rampaging hormones. Maybe it is for men too, but they seem less affected by these things. How many of us know of men who decide they are going to lose weight (and it’s usually for health reasons and not because they think they look fat) and they do – they stick to whatever program they are following, are not affected by what everyone else is saying and doing, are not coming up with justifications of why they can’t go to the gym or run or whatever, and then say they want a chocolate, muffin, ice-cream, etc because they deserve it. Or they don’t raid the pantry because they’re feeling sad, or bored, or angry. Or have one biscuit and then decide they’ve ruined their diet and may as well go for broke the rest of the day because of this, and will start again tomorrow.
And how many of us are guilty of doing this? Well, I for one will raise my hand.
Susie provides the following tips for eating more like a man:
1. Don’t think, just do – no excuses, justifications or rationalisations. It’s all about ignoring that little voice that slowly but surely chips away at your reserve of willpower until you do give in and not do what you had planned. This is where preparation comes in handy and, for me, early morning workouts. Its planning and preparing meals and snacks so you’re never caught short without healthy, nutritious foods. Its checking the menu before going out for a meal so you know what to order. It’s getting your workout gear ready the night before, and packing the gym bag so all you have to do in the morning is get up, get dressed and get going.
2. Concentrate only on yourself – by this she is talking about not being influenced by the opinions of other people. Everyone, and I mean everyone, suddenly becomes an expert on your diet and exercise choices but really, unless they’re being supportive, whose business is it anyway?! Don’t be swayed by others unless it’s in a positive sense.
3. Don’t blame your emotions – now this is a biggie for a lot of women! We cart around so much emotional baggage when it comes to eating and weight loss and body image issues. Gosh, even the number on the scales can be a minefield and dictate how you are going to feel the rest of the day – like a winner or the biggest, saddest loser going. Then toss in the hormones – that time of the month or menopause, and we’re ready to sacrifice everything for a bar or three of chocolate, a tub of ice cream, whatever, as long as it’s chockfull of fat and carbs, and liberally sprinkled with sugar! Do men do this? They may drown their sorrows in beer or alcohol of choice but in response to a less than impressive number on the scales? Does a man succumb to one piece of cake and then think, damn, I’ve totally blown my diet, I may as well pig out and start again tomorrow, next week, next month?! Susie suggests finding healthy ways of dealing with emotions rather than eating them, such as going for a walk, going to the gym, running, talking to someone etc. Eating our emotions never solves anything.
4. Make a plan and stick to it – this really relates to number 1 above, don’t think just do, which is so much easier if you have a plan. And it probably doesn’t matter what plan you follow, whether it’s the latest and greatest weight loss program, Weight Watchers, or 12WBT, for example. You need to commit to it and not try it for a couple of weeks and then get distracted by another weight loss claim or plan. There’s plenty of programs out there, some totally wacky, others that are not so bad. But commit and stick to it!
5. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full – don’t eat just for the sake of eating. Is it head hunger or tummy hunger? Unless you are in an environment where food is scarce, food is always going to be available. Don’t eat as if that will be your last meal…ever. Also, don’t use food as a reward – exercise for the sake of being fit and healthy, not for the lure of a choc chip muffin at the end! I think this probably harks back to when we are children and food was used as a bribe, a treat, or reward (as parents, we’re all guilty of doing this at some stage).
6. Drop the food focus – Susie is saying that everything we do these days is tied up with food. Women, particularly, tend to make food a central part of social gatherings, a focus which can lead to over eating. Work morning teas, brunches with friends on the weekends, parties, special events, catching up with a friend for coffee and cake at the café, TV programs such as Masterchef, and magazines (I mean have you flicked through a Donna Hay magazine lately?!!!). Studies have shown that viewing food porn ie glamourised spectacular presentations of cooking or eating that we view in ads, cooking shows, and other visual media (think instagram, pinterest, facebook and recipe blogs), is contributing to the obesity problem. Pictures and discussions of food can tempt us to eat, and even to overeat – even in the absence of true physiological hunger.
So I think what Susie is saying, don’t complicate our weight loss/control. It doesn’t have to be hard or onerous. Do like the men do, and keep it simple…and straightforward (you thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you!).
And what have I done today?
Well, I went for an 11 minute jog this morning, purely as a warm up to my core strength exercises. you know, those exercises where I do like an aeroplane or superman! The cat finds this behaviour extremely strange, and she watches safely from a distance. I skipped using the swiss ball today for the exercises because mine is like a big comfy cushion so defeats the purpose of using it to improve my balance! Back to my short run, omg what about the wind?! It was blowing a gale so in parts I was pushed along but heading back home it was akin to running into a brick wall. So much resistance!
Breakfast was the apple and ricotta toast though I did have to vary it due to lack of a core ingredient! To supplement the very small amount of ricotta I had, I used some extra light cream cheese. Then I had some raspberries left over in the fridge, and in order not to waste them, I wacked them on top with the grated apple. Yummo!
Lunch today was a new recipe for me – the herbed ricotta and roasted pumpkin open sandwich. I was really surprised because I seriously thought this wouldn’t be filling but it was and it was also delicious. The recipe calls for sourdough but being gluten free that is off limits so I used half a Livwell gluten free baguette. The GF baguette went well with this topping.
Dinner tonight is at the mall as it’s our grocery shopping night. I think I’ll be having something from Sumo Salads.