Welcome to Saturday Swapit, a platform where you are invited to share ideas, tips and diet stories to support others who may be flagging or losing heart.
As always, thank you to my readers for leaving comments and pingbacks to their own posts on the topic of the week. I appreciate it. Last week was about specific diets and generated some great response. Nip back and have a read of the comments here.
I am not, nor do I claim to be, a professional dietician, nutritionist or diet programme consultant.
I rejoined SW in May 2019 and have managed to stay within my target parameters since August 2019.
Saturday Swapit is not intended as a diet programme, and anyone who wants or needs to lose serious weight should consult a medical professional or their GP.
This week, my topic is BUDGETS.
There is big money in the diet business. Why else would there be so many to choose from? I am not knocking any of them as they all work for someone somewhere. I can only speak from personal experience.
I remember going on The Micro Diet.
It appealed to me because everything was measured, I could have cereal bars, soups and shakes, and there seemed to be a lot of variety. My favourite was the yogurt bars, but you cannot live on those alone.
It was also expensive, and one of those chunky bars cost around £3 which was pretty steep even if it was a complete meal.
I ordered my week’s selection and they arrived in good time for me to start. My then husband hit the roof when he saw the bill, telling me I could live on steak cheaper!
Liquid diets are similar, you buy a week’s supply as my MIL did and you can say goodbye to around £50.
These diets usually work in the short term, but as soon as you start eating normally, the pounds creep back on together with a few of their chums.
Cost is paramount. When the purse strings are already stretched, forking out extra for specific things isn’t feasible or cost effective. If it’s just you, you can compensate, but if you have a family to think of, it’s not so easy, and although some slimming recipes are tasty and filling (for you) kids and a hungry partner aren’t always in agreement.
I used to buy stir fry sauces until they shot up in price so I looked at the ingredients and had a go at making my own. The beauty of doing this is that you control what goes in them, especially sugar and salt.
Ready meals are convenient to keep in the freezer, and I admit I cannot make a lasagna or tomato pasta for 69p, plus the added advantage of those is portion control.
However, if you have the time, check the ingredients and do a bit of homework into making your own variant. Sometimes you find what you’ve made is too much for one sitting, but not quite enough for two. Split it anyway and have the second portion with a jacket potato, rice or pasta.
Think too about the way you cook. I buy 5% fat minced beef but even then drain off the excess fat before adding the rest of my ingredients to a spaghetti bolognese, cottage pie,
chili or lasagna. I might use a frying pan, but I don’t actually ‘fry’ the contents if I can cook, say, chicken breasts, chops or sausages in water.
IMO you don’t have to buy ‘diet’ food when you could use less of something like a full fat cheese. A lot of the reduced fat or diet options I’ve tried have not only been pricey but pretty tasteless, of a watery consistency or just plain gross, so I don’t waste my money.
I can’t afford to.
I am lucky in that I have the time and means to shop around, so appreciate food shopping is time consuming and frustrating. However, most foods are now labelled with fats, sugars, calories, carbs, salt etc. Read the label, BUT note the pack size and what is actually being described. Is it per pack, per biscuit/item, per portion, or per 100g?
Fresh fruit and veg is usually a safe bet, but over here in the UK it’s got really expensive and I still convert things back to the old £SD currency we had pre-decimalisation. An apple can cost me 14/- (70p) and I paid 16/4d (82p) for a single pear.
Fruit is no longer seasonal, and you can get melons, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, bananas and grapes all year. I’ve been caught twice with ‘ripen at home’ produce which rotted from the inside and now buy my fruit one or two items at a time rather than end up throwing stuff away.
Stir fry veg is equally as nice as a salad with a jacket potato. I use sliced carrots, green beans, peppers, onions, mushrooms and maybe cucumber in a saucepan with a little water and add a chicken stock cube (when I can get them, they are in very short supply here just now). This provides a ‘juice’ for your spud, and no need for butter!
There are tweaks to everything. Put yourself in control of food you enjoy, not a list of numbers and suggestions as to what you should have. Use those as a guide and if you don’t like something in a particular dish, don’t use it and substitute that ingredient for something you do like.
Also, treat yourself. Set a small target, and when you achieve it, have that doughnut or bar of chocolate. You’ve earned it, and a pat on the back never hurts.