Losing weight and getting healthier does not need to be complicated. We can all make some really easy changes to our diets without having to go on a diet or follow the latest fad or plan. Start with mindset! Then slowly adjust your habits until eventually your food choices are automatic. The aim is to be able to eat a balanced, healthy diet, which is naturally within a sensible calorie range, without having to weigh and measure everything or be limited by a specific meal plan. And don't ban treats or meals out! Everything in moderation.
I appreciate it sounds simple and often isn't! But take your time, small sustainable changes eventually add up to a big change. It has taken me a long time to get to where I am now. And I still get it wrong, but I don't get too upset about it, I forgive and move on.
Whether you want to lose or maintain the calories you take and burn, it's essential to know how much your body needs daily to determine the best ways for you to shed or maintain your body easily.
I use the NutraCheck calorie counter app, this is personal preference, others like My Fitness Pal. But get help with deciding on your calories - neither app is perfect at doing this! Use the James Smith Online Calorie Calculator or speak to a PT. I do not count calories all the time though, just when I want to be a bit stricter, it is a good way of learning what you can eat and what your portion sizes should look like.
If weight loss is your goal, aim to eat within a calorie deficit, with more protein and good fats and less carbs and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. But don't cut out any food groups, it isn't necessary unless you have an allergy.
Breakfast - I like to keep it simple and quick so I choose from overnight oats, porridge, scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast with spinach (or swap toast for smoked salmon), poached eggs on wholemeal toast with avocado, banana pancakes, a simple breakfast smoothie bowl or Lizi's granola with some linseeds and Fage total yoghurt.
You can find my overnight oats recipe here or if you would like to try banana pancakes, they are so easy. Blend together one egg, one banana, about 20g of oats and about 10g of linseeds. Heat some coconut or olive oil and cook the batter in a small saucepan. Serve with fresh fruit (or frozen) and a dollop of Fage total yoghurt.
Lunch - I can be a bit lazy and skip a proper lunch and I really do need to improve! A perfect option is to save a small portion of dinner from the night before or I make some lovely savoury muffins (recipe from Menu & Mind) and keep them in the freezer, they are easy to reheat for a quick healthy lunch. Another go to would be Nairns oatcakes with hummus. Or a smoothie bowl. Or any of the egg options from breakfast. I do sometimes have a sandwich but try and add good healthy fats and protein - so chicken and avocado on a seeded bread for example.
Snacks - I love to do some baking when I have time and me and my daughter will often experiment with healthy snack recipes. I make a regular batch of the chocolate and orange bliss balls (no bake) recipe from Jo at Time to Nourish, these are great for a grab and go option. A handful of nuts is easy or an apple and peanut butter, or oatcakes topped with smashed avocado, all easy and contain healthy fats and protein.
I was recently sent a selection of products from Erbology to experiment with. Erbology is an online shop that supply rare plant based ingredients and healthy basics direct to your door. They have a huge choice of ideas to help you with healthy eating. You can have a one-off treat or subscribe for regular deliveries. They have so much to choose from - snacks, drinks, oils, powders pantry or a health box.
Below - I made the Date and Walnut Butterbean Blondies recipe from Jo at Time to Nourish and using the Organic Transylvanian Walnuts sent to me from Erbology. Walnuts are a great source of protein for healthy snacking, they are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and they are high in magnesium and vitamin B6. I also made Apple and Apricot Flapjack from the Lunchbox Doctor and used the Chia Seed Raw Organic Powder from Erbology, chia is one of the best plant based sources of protein. And finally I tried the Erbology Tigernut Granola, an ideal gluten free snack on-the-go!
Dinner - I do pretty much cook from scratch most of the time and have a good set of basic family recipes we all love. It is however much easier now my son has left home (he was my fussy one)! I know who I am cooking for and when which makes meal planning easier.
Meal Planning really does help if you are trying to make healthier choices and keep to a calorie deficit. I have tried all sorts of meal planning techniques and still get in wrong. Despite having so many go to recipes I still get bored and feel uninspired and plans do change at the last minute throwing my planning into disarray. I own up to using Gousto for 2 or 3 meals a week (get a Gousto discount code here), it adds variety, gives me recipe ideas but also takes away the thinking. I can check calories and choose healthy options. I will also make double amounts of family staples like chilli, spag bol, casserole etc so there is always a freshly cooked meal in the freezer ready to go. If I want to check calories I can do this fairly easily using the NutraCheck app and save it as a recipe.
Takeaway - I actually avoid takeaways! The organised me has a selection of homemade 'fakeaway' meals in my freezer ready to reheat on a night when I can't be bothered! Curry, chilli or lasagne are favourites - or how about this goats cheese al forno recipe based on a Prezzo dish. But if we do get a takeaway I don't get too stressed about it, if I know in advance I will have a much lower calorie lunch and save calories for the evening.
Eating out - my challenge here is alcohol! If I drink, I relax and I eat more! We all do it! But if I am being sensible then I choose healthier options, higher protein, not too many carbs, so I avoid large pasta dishes or pizza for example. A favourite meal out would be a really good quality fillet steak with a side or vegetables and chips to share! I will often share a starter and or dessert with my husband or daughter. I favour restaurants that serve smaller portions of really good quality food.
Remember you don't have to eat within a calorie deficit every day, try and track your calories over a week instead. So if you go over one day, go under on another. This allows flexibility for eating out and treats like birthday cake!
I hope this is helpful. When I look back over my blog I can see how my approach has evolved from following the very specific SSS Plan from The Body Coach to being able to eat intuitively and understand what works for me and how I can lose or manage my weight without being too obsessed about it.
Eat a bit less, move a bit more, make changes that you can sustain, work on your mindset!
Further reading - Tips from Fitness Experts: How to Get Started
Disclaimer: I was gifted some food products from Erbology to try out and feature on my blog.
link up with:
Is This Mutton
What is a link-up?
It is a way to connect with other bloggers and share content and hopefully for me to be found by others and for my followers to discover new blogs!
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog to inspire you. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about health, menopause, fitness, beauty and style with a focus on the over 50's.
Subscribe below to receive regular updates by email:
Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my 50s. I started this blog in 2016 with the purpose of helping other women at this stage of life. I’m delighted that my blog has grown to over 13k visitors per month. Visit my Work with Me page and request my Media Kit for details of product reviews, blogging services and social media content creation.
Join my mailing list (above) for regular updates and don’t forget to look at my social media pages too..