Monday, 23 February 2015

Day One: The Beginning

I've struggled with my weight since being a teenager.

I'm not huge, and in fact, had I never ever dieted I have a theory that I would probably not be overweight at all. I am though bigger than I should be for my height and according to the BMI scales I currently tip just into the "obese" category.

For years, between diets that have left me super skinny, and overeating periods which have left me rather larger than I should be, I have kidded myself that when on my larger side, as I wear size 12 to 14 clothes (which I actually do), I am not even overweight really. Well, not much. Only a little.

However, and this is a big "however", the problem is that the world has gone from thinking "small" to thinking "big". We all know that the weight guides were designed many years ago, when people were smaller. That is not a problem in itself. The trouble is though that as people got bigger, so did our appetites, our portion sizes, our packets of crisps and even our teacups. Somewhere along the lines we moved from chocolate bars weighing 1 1/2 oz (35g) and 1 oz/ 25g sized packets of crisps, to chocolate bars weighing 200g and bags of crisps, tortilla chips or other delicious snacks weighing 200g. We started thinking that extra large dinner plates were elegant, that massive mugs were preferable to small teacups, that multipacks of biscuits were the thing to buy (because of course, to get to the bottom of the tea with a biscuit, or two, or three, requires rather more biscuit consumption.)

So, we all got a little bit bigger, and then a little bit bigger still. And what did the fashion designers do? They made clothes bigger. Realistically, my size 14 clothes would probably have been an 18 in 1975 and my size 12 (wow I must be thin today) clothes, would have been a size 16. It is sad to admit it, but true. We have simply scaled up. BIG TIME.

It's hardly surprising that we have got bigger. If you have ever so much as shared a 200g bag of tortilla chips with a friend, then you would have consumed 500 kcals. Add to that half of a 200g chocolate bar, and that is another 500 kcal. You will then have consumed 1000 kcals on pure junk. And the big problem is that they are deliciously tempting and so so easy to overeat.

Now of course, I hear you say, you wouldn't do that every day. Some of you may not ever have done that. But for those who, like me, have, on more than one occasion, been tempted to buy those big packs of tortillas to share with a friend over a glass of wine or two, in our oversized wine glasses, and a nice chocolate bar to munch on after dinner on our oversized plates, compared to our 1975 treat of sharing a 35g chocolate bar and maybe going mad and having a packet of 25g crisps each too, the difference is enormous. Your "go for it" 1975 snack would have been a total of 200 kcals each. Only 10% of the recommended daily total for a woman and less for a man. Today's "go for it snack" is five times more.

Then, on top of that there's the humous, the dips, the "healthy" olives, the sundried tomatoes. Sadly my friends, a day of eating just those alone would fill up your daily totals, and that's before you have even started on breakfast lunch and dinner. And I am not talking here about the world's biggest people, I am talking about modern people with a bit of a snack habit.


So, for anyone reading this who is just a bit overweight, put your hand on your heart and tell me that you have never ever been tempted to over indulge in today's oversized snacks, or eat a bigger portion than you need?

So, here goes. This is day one for me, and it could be for you too, if you wish to join me.

There is only one rule to this diet. And yes, I am going to call it a diet. In the traditional sense of the word, our diet is the food that we eat, and that is what I am going to tackle. The stuff that I eat. So the rule? It's the old one really: everything in moderation and don't overeat.

I will use a small plate, a small fork and eat modest snacks. I will take particular notice of the snack calorie values and I will allow myself everything that I fancy, and will make sure that I do eat my five a day and all that. In essence I will go back to a 1950s style diet. Not that I was actually alive in the 50s you understand, which in essence is probably my problem. From now on I will

"think it small".