Tag Archive for: weight

The day we’ve all been waiting for…Friday 11th May 2018 is National Eat What You Want Day!!


WARNING – If you enjoy food like avocado, nuts, olive oil, salmon or greek yoghurt for example, but often avoid them in favour of low fat or diet products, then eating what you want could seriously improve your health. Read on.

If you only like food served or delivered in a box and washed down with coloured, sweet liquids, then eating what you want could seriously damage your health. Read on at your peril.


Open Letter to the Founder of National Eat What You Want Day 2018,

Thank you…for giving me permission to eat what I want today. Thank you…for allowing me to make my own food decisions today. Thank you…for allowing me to have an independent thought.

For 364 days of the year, I am burdened with eating food I don’t want to eat. For one day only, I will eat what I want and I will enjoy it.

But I am worried. If people get the ‘taste’ for eating what they want today, isn’t there a possibility they might want to do that for the remaining 364 days?

I don’t think we can take that chance. I appeal to you to abolish National Eat What You Want Day – the risks simply outweigh the benefits.

Yours faithfully, Kate McCulla Nutrition

OK, I’m being flippant, and this National Day was likely conceived in good humour, but it does point a finger at an important problem – the reason we choose food has become distorted. We decide to eat (or not eat) food for a multitude of reasons, often at the expense of what we actually want.

How often do you choose food because:

  • I’m ‘allowed’ it
  • I’m on a diet
  • I’m not on a diet
  • It’s only got x calories / x ‘points’ / x ‘syns’
  • It’s low fat
  • It’s sugar free
  • It’s Friday evening
  • I’ve had a bad day
  • It’s there
  • Someone else is eating it
  • The label says ‘guilt free’
  • And so on..

How often do we ask ourselves what we actually want to eat?

This should be the main reason for choosing food.

But this scares you.

Food rules have become so dominant, you’re scared that if you eat what you want, all you will want to eat is ‘rubbish’.

This is a common reaction if you often diet, and cut out all ‘rubbish’ at these times. Of course you’re going to be drawn to this food. Diet studies often show that when not allowed something we want it more. This is not a permanent preference. It is a temporary rebellion.

Foods are less appealing the more you are exposed to them and provided you are freely allowed to eat them if you choose to. This effect is called the Habituation Response.

However, the habituation response is diminished for dieters because they often do not feel like they are fully free to make their own food decisions, so the ‘forbidden foods’ never get a chance to lose their appeal.

In other words, making food decisions based on diet rules, at the expense of considering what food you want, keeps ‘problem’ foods as just that – problems.

In addition to that, I bet most of you will have had the following experience:

You want chocolate but you’re ‘trying to be good’ or lose weight.

So you eat an apple. Didn’t hit the spot.
Then a rice cake. Didn’t hit the spot.
Next a diet yoghurt. Didn’t hit the spot.
Then maybe a plain biscuit….No, still not satisfied.
Ah heck…where’s the chocolate? Having eaten your way around the kitchen, you end up eating what you wanted in the first place.

So on National Eat What You Want Day 2018, you have 2 choices:

  1. Eat anything and everything today in unlimited quantities – you are most likely to choose stereotypical ‘bad’ foods – and go back to your food battle for the next 364 days, or
  2. Consider what it is you really want to eat, what you are going to savour and enjoy, what is going to satisfy. You may surprise yourself with the realisation that you don’t always want what you might consider ‘bad’ foods and that given the choice, your choices may be quite balanced. You have 365 days a year to practice this. And by the end of that year, you might even be closer to your weight goals.

Happy National Eat What You Want…

….today, and every other day ending in Y.

I’m not a fan of diets. And until I came across a book by Dena Harris “Does this collar make my butt look big?” I was unaware that cats also experienced the same pitfalls.  As recounted through feline eyes, Dena explores the crazy world of dieting.  In honour of World Book Day 2018, here are some of the best bits.

First steps

The first step in any diet is to shift into a full-fledged panic the day before the diet officially begins and eat everything in sight.

Harness your motivation

  • My motivation for losing weight is:
    • I want to rock out a belly ring
    • Swimsuit season is upon us
    • To be healthy. Just kidding. It’s the belly ring, bikini, and REVENGE.
  • Find a diet buddy. Give him a paw smack whenever you stray from your diet, as he’s obviously not doing his job.
  • Use motivational notes and reminders. Hang a “Hot Kitty” calendar nearby to remind you what you want to look like.

What cat diet to choose?

South Beach Diet

The diet starts out with lots of restrictions, but the rules are simple: Don’t eat anything that tastes good. However, if you eat something that tastes like processed cardboard, you’re permitted unlimited quantities.

Blood Group Diet

The benefit is that once you know your blood type, you can eat accordingly, and the weight will drop off like a Pomeranian tossed off a bridge.

Paleo Diet

Listen to your body. You may skip meals if you’re not hungry. (We’ve never known this to happen).

Zone diet

Each meal to consist of 30% fat, 30% protein, and 40% carbs. This is all well and good, except cats can’t count. And even if we could, we’d count something much more interesting than carbs.


You may become convinced you’re starving. Should this occur, lie down, take deep breath, then call for Chinese takeout.


Hold off urinating for as long as possible, then make a mad dash for the litter box. Feel the burn.

Dealing with saboteurs

Confront those who don’t want you to change. And by “confront” we mean show them your butt.

Other top tips…in no particular order

Too little sleep can make you fat. Aim for at least twenty-two hours a day.

Track how hungry you are on a scale of 1 to 10. Any time you go above a 1, eat immediately, before fatigue and hallucinations set in.

Don’t skip the most important meal of the day, which would be…..You know what? To be safe, don’t skip any of them.

Whether you succeed or fail on this particular plan, we suggest you go ahead and tell everyone you’ve lost weight. Others will be impressed, thinking you have willpower they don’t, and will go and order a ten-taco special and gain twelve pounds, making you appear more svelte.

Enjoy the occasional cheat day and eat whatever you want. We suggest scheduling cheat days on days that end with a ‘y’.

Buy a low fat cookbook. Now shred it. Admit it – that felt good.

Don’t give up! Unless it’s hard. Or you’re tired. Or really hungry. Or it’s a Tuesday.

Do not reward yourself with food. You are not a dog.


Treat your diet the same way as you treat doorbells, vets, and Aunt Dorothy’s Doberman – get yourself the hell out of there.

Thanks goodness the cat came to its senses. Respect.

Preparation or deprivation?

Lent has been hijacked. By dieters. It’s not surprising – forgoing food for 40 days is a guaranteed way to lose weight (although I’m not sure that was Jesus’s motivation).

Deprivation is at the heart of both Lent and dieting. Despite it also being about preparation and reflection, for those with a weight loss agenda, the focus is mainly on the deprivation aspect of Lent. You commit to ‘give up’ your usual vices like sugar in tea, biscuits and sweets (while secretly hoping you’ll be lighter by the end of it) and disregard preparation for the aftermath. Another job half done. But a least you’ll get to feel virtuous for a few weeks.

If you do observe Lent, with even a slight weight loss agenda, how about doing it differently this year by focusing more on the preparation and reflection side. Ditch the deprivation. Give up on giving up.

Instead of stopping doing something, try to start doing something that will complement your weight loss agenda. And you never know, it might stick…..

So here goes, 40 days, 40 suggestions. Choose only one, choose a different one every day….or give up sweets again! Your call.

What are you going to do for Lent?

  1. Every time you use an escalator, excuse yourself past people whose legs have temporarily stopped working and keep moving!
  2. If you feel bad or guilty after eating something, your head is trying to alert you to something important (for example, a ‘broken diet rule’). These thoughts and feelings are warning signs of an unhelpful relationship with food. Monitor your thoughts and feelings around food.
  3. Stop labelling food as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ if you know from experience that this can negatively affect your food decisions. Food is food is food.
  4. Referring to some foods as ‘treats’ elevates their importance. Crisps are crisps, chocolate is chocolate, and ideally should have no more significance than an apple. Try to be neutral with all food.
  5. Have a cup of tea or coffee…on it’s own. This is not about giving up biscuits, but about challenging habits.
  6. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness levels. If you recognise you are full before your plate is empty, practise leaving the rest.
  7. Observe how often you eat that has nothing to do with hunger. Start to think about what drives this eating (eg boredom, comfort, tiredness). This will give you clues about the areas to work on to help manage your weight.
  8. Eat with minimal distractions – move away from the computer, stop checking social media and turn off the TV over dinner. Pay attention to your food and you might find yourself enjoying it.
  9. If you know you have a habit of eating due to boredom, choose a non-food activity to pass the time.
  10. Choose food based on what you know you want and will enjoy, instead of eating what you feel you should eat (diet products….looking at you).
  11. Find a fun activity to do – trampolining, aerial yoga, table tennis. It doesn’t matter what, just do it and enjoy.
  12. Try a fruit, vegetable or other food you’ve never tasted before.
  13. Cook a vegetarian meal – plant based eating is all the rage these days.
  14. Think about the purpose scales serve in your life. Decide not to weigh yourself if they often make you feel bad about yourself. Make your food choices based on what you want to eat, guided by hunger and fullness, not based on a number on the scales.
  15. Question things that don’t make sense such as “You’re not losing weight because you’re not eating enough”. If it doesn’t make sense, don’t accept it as fact.
  16. For all the foods you eat today, but especially ‘diet’ foods or snack foods…slow down and TASTE…..do you really like them that much? Be fussy!
  17. Aim to eat food that satisfies. Satisfaction is more important than simply not being hungry. Being satisfied will help you to eat less.
  18. Tackle ‘comfort eating’. If you ‘comfort eat’, you’re definitely eating, but are you getting comfort? At best, you’re getting a temporary distraction from the real problem. Think of options that will deal with the problem.
  19. Sleep, sleep, sleep – lack of sleep is known to affect hormones involved in appetite regulation. If you notice that you eat more, or make different choices, when you are tired – get more sleep.
  20. Stop comparing yourself to others. You may see people around you eat more than you, but this observation does not help you in any way, and more likely makes you feel worse. DON’T. DO. IT.
  21. Start noticing how your food choices make you feel physically – neutral, energised, lethargic, sluggish, bloated. Choose to eat food that make you feel good.
  22. When you see food, do you see calories, ‘points’, ‘syns’, fat content, sugar content…..? This is the science end. But eating well is an art. Knowledge is only helpful if you are skilful at managing it. Practise art.
  23. Stop self blame. If you have dieted repeatedly…and ‘failed’…you most likely blame yourself but has the diet got something to answer for? Think about the foods you struggle with, get help to deal with those, and don’t repeat old dieting mistakes.
  24. Make a decision to eat for health not dieting. So avocados, nuts, cheese…back on the menu (if you like them), and enough of the diet yoghurts, rice cakes and low fat everything (unless you happen to really love them. Really?)
  25. Use your taste buds…if something looks good, but doesn’t taste great, don’t eat it.
  26. Exercise – choose something you enjoy and makes you feel good, and do it for those reasons. Keep weight loss out of it.
  27. Drink……enough to keep your pee pale.
  28. Sit less….or do some chair based exercises while you sit.
  29. Eat like you respect yourself.
  30. Tell people your boundaries. If you don’t want them to comment on your food choices or weight, tell them.
  31. Batch cook when you get the chance – cook once, eat more than once.
  32. Look at the ingredients lists of foods. If it reads like a science experiment or has multiple ingredients not immediately recognisable as food, do you want to eat it?
  33. Stop allowing packet size to dictate how much you eat. If you often eat until packets are empty, then you are not making independent food decisions – the food manufacturers are pulling the strings.
  34. Don’t get caught out having nothing to eat. Fill the freezer – frozen vegetables, fruit, fish, meats, oven chips – so you always have a back-up plan.
  35. Ditch the euphemisms. For example “I’m trying to be good”. If eating well is so hard you have to ‘try to be good’ then you are either eating foods you’re not really enjoying or denying yourself foods you really enjoy (or both). Does this sound like a helpful long term plan?
  36. Eat publicly. If you eat less when in company compared to when you are alone, then you are concerned about how others might judge your eating. But by eating privately, you are judging yourself.
  37. Stop choosing arbitrary days to start dieting (Monday seems to be popular!). You can respect your hunger, fullness and satisfaction NOW!
  38. Don’t let technology take over either your decision making or your common sense. For example, if you’re using an app to count calories, it might advise you to eat less or eat more. Your app does not know when you are hungry, satisfied or full. You do.
  39. Don’t let other people affect your food decision making. Be independent. Focus on what you want.
  40. Read self help material. Might as well start with Diet Dilemmas book!

40 days, 40 suggestions. Pitching preparation. Ditching deprivation.