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The Healthy Food Guide team believe that making small diet and lifestyle changes brings the best long-term gains. We look at the science behind the headlines and promote a balanced way of eating.

Fiona tapped into technology to achieve her weight-loss goals, and learned how to rethink – and reduce – her calorie intake

 
My diet wakeup call
I wasn’t looking forward to turning 40. My weight had crept on over almost two decades since having my daughter, but even more so after a hysterectomy at 38, which left me immobile for a while. I’d been dieting on and off for 15 years and had got into unhealthy eating patterns based on convenient takeaways, cakes and biscuits. Exercise wasn’t at the forefront of my mind, either.

I was fed up of feeling fat and frumpy, wearing the same old clothes day in, day out and hiding behind safe colours. While I couldn’t do anything about the big 4-0, I could do something about my weight.

Diet plans I’d tried in the past just got me hooked into spending money on branded packaged foods. Having to buy specific meals or milkshakes never felt like proper eating to me. Those diets never taught me about eating the right food or how to cook healthily.
fiona-weight
Finding motivation online
I came across the Nutracheck app online. I own my own computer games store and was keen to embrace technology in my weight loss. I always have my phone with me, so it made sense to incorporate it into
my new regime.

I was horrified by my interpretation of a ‘portion’ of pasta. The app revealed that I was totally oblivious to what a portion looked like and I was eating way too much – around three times the amount I should have been. It helped me understand these food basics and, once I got the hang of it, I found it all incredibly straightforward.

Seeing my actual alcohol intake shocked me, too. I still like a glass of wine but it’s just the occasional one in the evening now. I’m happy to stick to drinking water at other times, but sometimes I’ll have a diet cola if I feel like something with a bit more flavour.

My new routine
My fridge is always stocked with fruit and veg. The biggest change for me has been the amount of fresh food I eat. I have fallen in love with sea bass – I buy fresh fillets to serve with salad or pasta. I can always find new ideas for chicken, too. At the moment, I’m into eating it with wilted cabbage and small bits of bacon, and cubed potatoes cooked in my low-fat fryer.

Rather than weighing and measuring myself obsessively, I go by how my clothes feel. I went from a dress size 18 to 8 after 10 months of recording my calorie intake and reducing portion sizes. It’s very easy to incorporate calorie counting into my daily routine. With my phone app it takes a matter of minutes to add what I eat to my food diary, and the calories are totted up for me so I can see whether I’m on track with my daily target.

Keeping my goal weight
And it’s even easier now I’m at my goal weight and understand what my daily intake looks like.

Cooking has become common sense. I’m so much more confident with the food I make. I don’t really need to plan my entire week of meals if I buy the core staples, which can be used in so many combinations. It means it hardly takes any effort to cook healthy, filling meals. I bulk them out with a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit. And, because there are no banned foods, I know I can have a treat if I want one, as long as I count those calories honestly. If I cheat, I’m only cheating myself.

I couldn’t be more pleased with my new shape, my new-found confidence and a complete change of clothing style. I’ve achieved my goal weight and I’m thrilled to be able to wear skinny jeans and fitted tops, which are a world away from my old wardrobe.
 

5 ways Fiona lost it

Satsumas
I always have lots of these to hand and reach for one instead of a custard cream, saving 40kcal.

Buying treat sizes
I like Maltesers, so for an occasional treat I buy small sizes and that way I don’t feel I’m missing out.

Long walks
I’ll never be a runner and I’m not into gyms – instead I take our dog Kyra out on very long walks. She’ll be needing new paws…

Using an activity tracker
I began counting my steps to become familiar with how much walking was needed to hit my daily goal. I became quite competitive with myself, which also helped.

Being menu-savy
When we eat out I avoid ordering anything smothered in creamy sauces. It’s tandoori chicken every time!
activity-tracker
Related article: Weight-loss star: Margaret Shukla