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Overcoming weight-loss roadblocks

Nutritionist Bronwen King has advice for those times in the day when it’s hard to stick to our weight-loss goals.

Life is full of temptation – to avoid it is impossible. What you can do, though, is make yourself less vulnerable to temptation. This starts by recognising the times when you are most vulnerable, and coming up with strategies for managing these times.

A food diary will help you understand why you eat, as well as identify the times you are vulnerable. Once you’ve identified these danger times, you can then figure out alternative behaviour which may work better: anticipate danger times, plan strategies in advance for managing them, and maintain control.

Workplace morning tea

Just as you resolve to shape-up, a workmate throws a lavish morning tea. You melt at the sight of savouries, so what are your choices?

  • Have a large healthy breakfast so you will be full and less tempted.
  • Allow yourself a small savoury, eat it slowly and count it as part of your lunch.
  • Choose less energy-dense foods like fruit, or bread-based items – if available. Pastry is loaded with kilojoules.
  • Over time, train yourself out of your love of savouries, by finding other tasty but healthy foods to replace them.

Dinner party

After a filling main course, you are presented with an oversized slab of mud cake with cream. What to do?

  • Compliment the host on their food, but say you simply have no room left for this delicious-looking treat.  Ask if you could take it home for later (this gives you the opportunity to give it away or share it with others).
  • Find some way to check out the menu when you arrive. Get in first and ask for just a tiny sliver.

Movie ‘snack attack’ temptations

You’ve always had a chocolate-coated ice cream at the movies, so how will you break this habit?

  • Choose a movie session time just after a meal and only take enough money for the ticket.
  • If you can’t get through a movie without nibbling on something, choose plain popcorn and swap the jumbo cola for a bottle of water.

5pm after-work munchies

After a hard day, you are ravenous when you get home. What now?

  • Being hungry at night is often because we haven’t had breakfast or eaten enough during the day. So eat a good breakfast and lunch to last until dinner.
  • Have a healthy snack at this time like a small pottle of fruit yoghurt or even a small bowl of high-fibre cereal with trim milk and eat it slowly, while seated.
  • Choose a venue that offers you (and the others in your group) the food and service you are after.
  • Avoid buffets, set menus and banquets. They may seem to be good value but they encourage over-eating.
  • Have something light to eat before you go out. If you are ravenous when you arrive, you are more likely to over-order and over-eat.
  • Choose lighter options (see table below). Avoid dishes based on pastry or high-fat/creamy sauces.
  • Eat slowly and put utensils down between mouthfuls.
  • Have two entreés rather than an entrée and main course. This spreads your dining experience over two courses, so you can still enjoy socialising with your dining companions.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask about the food, what’s in it and how it’s prepared. Specify exactly what you want. Most chefs are very happy to oblige.
  • Sip plenty of water and buy alcohol by the glass, not the bottle.
Instead of Choose
Cooked breakfasts with the works Scrambled or poached eggs with tomato and mushrooms
Eggs Benedict Eggs and tomato on toast
Croissants or Danish pastries Grainy toast or bagel
Creamy soups Vegetable or stock-based soups
Garlic bread  Plain (whole grain) bread without butter or margarine
Battered or fried fish, chicken or meat Grilled portions without the skin
Pasta with creamy sauces  Pasta with tomato-based sauces
Meat-lovers pizza Vegetarian pizza or a pizza with lean meat and lots of vegetables
Pies, quiches, tarts  Frittata or Spanish omelettes
Fried rice or noodles  Steamed rice or noodles
Caesar salad Salad nicoise or salad with dressing on the side
Butter chicken  Tandoori chicken plus vegetables
Chips or wedges Jacket potato
Ice cream or cream (with desserts or cakes) Yoghurt