Monday, May 3, 2010

How to eat lots and not be the size of a house

I guess that title is a bit misleading - I'll explain why - but now that I have your attention... ;-)

People comment to me reasonably often (usually when I'm offering them cupcakes or other sugary treats, which I guess I do pretty frequently) on how I bake so much and not be overweight. Now, I've never been a waif, and I'm not now - and I'm no expert in these things (I think this stuff is all pretty straightforward), but these are my strategies.

1. Make sure it's worth it
I try to avoid calorific things if they're not worth the calories to me. Think of your calorie budget like you think of money - and save it for things that you really enjoy.

Like raspberry and white chocolate opera cake, for example.

I also find that if I trade say, Tip-Top ice-cream from the supermarket for homemade ice-cream with lots of real cream and egg yolks, or regular chocolate from the supermarket for fancy, richly flavoured truffles, I eat far less - so I tend to opt for the rich, self-limiting option.

Homemade brandy snap ice-cream - mmm!

2. If you want to eat unhealthy stuff, you have to do something to counteract it! 
I go to the gym - 4-5 times a week. That affords me a few extra desserts. ;-) But unfortunately it really is all about making sure the calories you eat don't exceed the calories you burn - so the gym extends my allowance, as it were.

 Yup, that's me. Doing a half marathon earns a lot of extra cupcakes. ;-)

3. Eat things from tiny bowls
Especially if you are a Mrs or Miss or Ms, and have a Mr, it can be really easy to eat a little too much every day - which can make a big difference over time. Studies have shown women tend to put on weight when they move in with menfolk - the sad truth is that men get to eat more, and it's very easy to think you can have just as much - especially when it's a tasty corn-chip casserole or potato bake.

My solution: I serve my dinner in tiny bowls. If it's not enough, that's fine; I'm allowed more. But actually, most of the time it is enough - but I know if I had given myself a big bowl full I still would have eaten it all!

 Yes, I know it looks ridiculous - but it's effective!

This logic also extends to making things in miniature - mini cupcakes, tiny squares of brownie, you get the idea. That's why the title of this post is misleading - I don't necessarily eat all that much. ;-)

All this is not to say that I always do it right, or that I'm as healthy as I should be - but I feel good, fit and healthy, and at the same time enjoy lots of tasty treats.

Beats eating bran cake...


  1. i'm sure had you tried you could of made that bran cake look more enticing... with some natural yougert and a strawberry????

  2. That's true - but it certainly wasn't very tasty so I'm sure a strawberry would have been wasted on it. ;-)

  3. I grew up eating Mum's bran muffins, ugh. I'm trying to get back into shape these days so not many tasty treats for me... though I really have to get my portion size under control. The problem is I'm cooking for one, and many of the recipes I make are for more than one. Sometimes it can be saved for lunch the next day but some things are best eaten fresh. I've definitely upped the exercise lately, although I don't think I'll ever set foot in a gym!

  4. Ah. My technique is a) to bike everywhere, and b) to give most of it away. Still eat more than I should, but it works sometimes. The portion size thing is something I should work on. And I've never been to a gym. Time to start?

  5. Hey Rosa,I have just discovered your blog and have loved reading it tonight.It is saved to my favourites.
    I'm in Welly too and used to live just around the corner from the Med Food warehouse,in Wilson st,it's a great source of well priced goodies that you often can't get at the supermarket - and as you said,their pricing is sharp.
    I've decided I am going to treat myself to a NW custard square tomorrow...
    I will check in regularly and know I will enjoy reading your posts.

  6. Sarah - I feel your pain! It is hard to cook for one and stick to portions. We tend to cook enough for two meals each time we cook and knowing I'll have to cook again if we eat it all is a pretty good incentive. ;-)

    Daniel - sounds sensible! I didn't go to a gym when I used to bike everywhere - that counts as exercise. And you have a natural advantage, being male - you'll burn more anyway. I'm jealous!

    Anonymous, thanks for your kind comments! I hope you enjoy your custard square - let me know your rating when you've had it! ;-)

  7. I agree with all that you wrote, great advice!

  8. Great post with lots of good advice. Its because of my love of food that I am more fit than ever. I go to the gym so i can eat more and as a result, I'm fitter than ever... but running marathons? I dont know if I'll ever get to that stage.
    *kisses* HH

  9. Thanks Randi Lynne. :-)

    Heavenly Housewife - it was only a half marathon, and a very slow one at that. ;-) But it was a good goal, and definitely upped my fitness levels. And food is definitely a big motivator for me to get on the treadmill - never could understand those people who claim they forgot to eat!


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