After Gareth’s excellent post last week (Thanks to all those people who sent encouraging feedback – and especially mentioning the Welsh accent ;-) ) I noticed some up-hill and down-hill struggles relating to our food and drink, namely tempting bargains! Last Friday I got sent an email from a well-known coffee company to let me know that for only £1 I could add a cake to any speciality coffee order…
This reminded me of a programme I’d seen called ‘Supersize me’… where fast food restaurants encourage us to “go large” for an extra 20p. It also reminded me of the half price mars bars and BOGOF on biscuits and fizzy drinks at the local supermarket - The food industry enticing us in with bargains!
I also got an email that morning from Public health matters … (I get a lot of emails!) ... which stated;
“We know overweight and obesity levels are higher in children from poorer neighbourhoods, and it’s concerning to see new analysis which shows that there are more fast food outlets in many of these deprived areas on average’
The NHS website says that;
‘Most of us are eating and drinking more than we need, and we often think we are more active than we actually are. It's estimated that the average adult has 200-300 more calories than they need every day. This might not sound much, but over time it will cause significant weight gain' which can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other conditions.
It is SO easy ... downhill all the way… to take up promotions that lead us innocently to believe we are just getting a bargain.
Now there’s nothing wrong with a coffee and cake, but If I want to look after my whole body and live a full and healthy life, one way is to be intentional and try to keep to the governments recommended calories of 2000kcal for women or 2,500kcal for men a day.
This additional coffee and cake however, could account for almost 600 extra calories (ignoring the fact that “not all calories are equal” for now) of my 2000kcal daily allowance.
To put that into context - 600 calories of coffee and cake is around the same as a chicken, rice and salad lunch or dinner, though the cake would have little of the nutritional value. But more importantly, it’s highly unlikely I’d make any adjustments with the rest of my meals during that day!
So by super-sizing my coffee with cake I’m far more likely to end up over eating - without any extra effort or without me really noticing or making any adjustments to the rest of my diet that day. Over-eating as easily as a skateboard rolling down a hill.
Over eating just 300 extra calories a day adds up to an additional 109,500 calories a year - that’s the same as eating for an extra 55 days or 8 weeks a year …
Those few extra calories each day really can make a difference!
Whilst taking up the offer of the coffee and cake I could be sat there innocently believing I was saving £’s – when in fact I would more likely be gaining lbs!
In our western culture with frequent temptations like these – it's no wonder it's much easier not to make unhealthy choices than healthy ones!
The good news though is that we can be intentional about making different – albeit uphill choices – but as we were reminded last week – everything worthwhile is uphill! so here's one simple thing we can do straight away;
Be a more intentional eater
We can do this by;
- Slowing down eating and chewing, taking time to notice the taste, textures and flavours of the food we eat - research suggests that this has been shown to reduce weight gain!
- Learning to stop eating before we feel full -again, linked to eating slowly and mindfully
- Avoiding oversized portions - even when they seem a bargain!- or halving the food on our plate before we eat
- Sharing our starter or desert -or both!
- Avoiding sugar and empty-calorie dense drinks, especially with meals - avoid drinking calories easily by drinking more water
- Avoid being distracted with the TV, computer and mindless eating - linked again to slow and concious eating
- Avoid eating on the move - we forget what we’ve eaten and therefore eat more later!
- Keeping a food diary - helping us identify these little extra's sneaking in
- And don’t be taken in by all of the offers of £1 cakes with our coffee!
As I was contemplating this on Friday, a friend and I decided that instead of coffee, and with the sun shining, we'd be intentional and go uphill - (literally!) for a walk together.
We met on the corner, collectively arriving with 2 bottles of water, 2 apples and 2 bags of nuts and dried fruit, and we had a fab time! We chatted, laughed and caught up on all the latest news just as if we were sat having a coffee, but when we got to the top of our hill, we were hugely rewarded by the spectacular view (see pic!)
We also felt so much better (ok –even a little smug!) and were both hugely rewarded with the feeling of being intentionally healthy, as well as saving ourselves a few pounds and a few lbs! ;-)
What one thing could you think about more intentionally this week?
As usual, if you’ve found a way that helps you be more intentional about your health we'd love to hear about it! – please share it by emailing here.
And if you are new here, why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below to help get you started on your journey to living a healthier, happier life..
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