What the Sunderland Air Show taught me about weight loss…

Air ShowDid you go to this year’s Sunderland Air Show?

I went there last weekend – only my second time. I took my parents in the car and it was a lovely afternoon.

I mean, they treated me to fish and chips, offered me an ice cream and bought my ‘Park and Ride’ bus ticket!! Parents can be very generous. Obviously I made it my treat day hence the fish and chips and ice cream!!

It was great to see the different aircraft on display and those pilots have nerves of steel if you ask me. I get nervous going up in a lift!!

What struck me (and like a lot of events like this) was the amount of fast food places – mainly vans parked along the sea front selling hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, ice cream, candy floss, fizzy pop etc.

It’s a rare occurrence when you spot a ‘Gluten-free, nuts and seeds’ van!!

So what usually happens at these events?

Well, it does seem the ‘norm’ to cram as much junk food into your system as you can in one afternoon. I mean, I plead guilty on that front yesterday but like I said, it’s ok to let your hair down on the food front at times – as long as you don’t make a habit of it.

I’m an advocate of the 80-20 rule. Eat well and exercise 80% of the time, and have your treats and rest 20% of the time. It seems to work very well because (a) You’re not on a calorie-restricted diet depriving yourself of a glass of red or your favourite pizza; and (b) It is much more realistic in the longer term.

When you’re on a calorie-restricted diet, you’re constantly watching what you eat and you tend to stick to bland, boring foods. Do you ever say (while out in a restaurant): “Oh, I’ll just have the salad please” rather than what you REALLY want?

You don’t HAVE to live on salads if your goal is to lose weight. My point is that you CAN have a glass of red wine or eat pizza (or fish and chips in my case) and STILL lose weight or achieve whatever health and fitness goal you want.

Stick to a diet ALL of the time and guess what? You’ll soon get bored and reach for the sugary snacks and the weight will creep back on. Plus, when you go on a diet, the weight you lose is usually water and muscle tissue.

So, eat well 80% of the time – don’t cut calories. Try to stick to one-ingredient foods like fish, chicken, eggs, vegetables, fruit, coconut oil/butter, nuts, seeds, nut butters, sweet potatoes etc.

Cut back on sugar and alcohol.

Reduce your coffee intake.

Increase your water intake.

Exercise progressively 80% of the time – rest 20%.

Sleep well.

Relax and/or meditate.

Keep active when you can – avoid sitting for long periods.

Then next time you go to an event like the Sunderland Air Show, you can have a treat and enjoy the occasion. We know that there won’t be any healthy stalls around so just embrace what’s there.

You could even take your own picnic and include some treats in that. My partner and I do that quite a lot. We often take tuna, nuts and seeds (mix), fruit, yogurt, Feta with sundried tomatoes, chocolate (our treat) – you get the idea.

If you’re stuck for healthy snack ideas, here’s my ’40 Healthy Snack Ideas’ handout – if you haven’t already seen it.

Click HERE to download it.