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Think ‘Swap’ instead of ‘Diet’ to lose weight over 50!

Article by The Lifestyle Guy
Deciding to start a ‘diet’ can be psychologically off putting. But choosing to do a couple of simple  ‘swaps’ to tackle those few extra midlife  pounds can be far less daunting.  Garth, the Lifestyle Guy, shows how effortless it can be to make a few swaps to save calories, lose pounds and eat more healthily over 50. So start ‘swapping’ and stop dieting!

1. Full fat versus Low Fat Foods

The sabotage effect.

 Foods processed to be low fat are often high in simple carbohydrates because they contain added sugars to improve the taste. ‘Carbohydrate-rich foods can send your blood sugar sky high. This triggers an insulin release that makes your blood sugar drop, which makes you hungry – so you just end up eating again and consuming more calories throughout the day.

Make it healthier

We’d be better off eating full-fat foods – but in smaller quantities – since fat takes longer to digest and so helps you to feel full. Try it out with a full-fat yoghurt versus a low-fat one – the full-fat one will not only taste nicer and be more satisfying, but it’ll make you feel fuller for longer.

Clever swap: One full-fat natural yoghurt instead of two low-fat ones saves you 50 calories.

Calories saved: 50

2. Keeping water at your desk

The sabotage effect
There’s no denying that drinking more water is one of the best things you can do to keep yourself healthy, but sitting at your desk all day rather than getting up and going to the water cooler whenever you need a top-up is bad for your back, and reduces the amount of calories you burn every day.

Make it healthier
Instead of just sipping away at a two-litre bottle of water, stick to a 500ml one and set an alarm on your PC that flashes up every hour to remind you to get up for a refill. Visit the water cooler furthest from your desk – better still, choose one on another floor and take the stairs.’ If you work from home, leave the water in the kitchen.

Clever swap: A two-minute walk to the water cooler six times a day will burn an extra 120 calories – that’s the equivalent of a glass of red wine when you get home!

Calories saved: 120

3. Choosing ‘good’ snacks

The sabotage effect
Have you swapped chocolate, biscuits and crisps for seeds, nuts and dried fruit to make your snacking habits healthier? Well done! But if you’re gorging on unlimited amounts during the day, you could well be gaining extra pounds as these healthier, nutrient-rich snacks are often just as high in calories so watch out.

Make it healthier

If you want to munch on seeds and nuts, buy snack-size packs instead of dipping into a family-size bag throughout the day.

Clever swap: An apple, a medium carrot and three sticks of celery eaten with a salsa dip instead of a 50g bag of seeds or nuts saves you 185 calories.

Calories saved: 185

4. A ‘healthy’ breakfast

The sabotage effect
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. ‘But many health-conscious women opt for yoghurt, muesli and maybe some fruit or juice.This sets you up to fail as the high sugar levels lead to a blood sugar spike, and the inevitable dip leaves you craving cakes and biscuits by mid morning.’

Make it healthier
A protein-rich breakfast, such as poached eggs, trimmed bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes, is ideal to get you going in the morning. Protein keeps you fuller for longer and helps to eliminate sugar cravings throughout the day. If you don’t have time for more than a snatched brekkie, try a cup of unsweetened wholegrain cereal and mix protein powder (from healthfood shops) into your skimmed milk, or try cottage cheese and sliced tomatoes on brown toast.

Clever swap: Full English – instead of muesli, yoghurt, fruit and juice – saves 250 calories. Unsweetened cereal saves 230, while cottage cheese on toast saves 210.

Calories saved: 250

5. Saying ‘no’ to treats

The sabotage effect
Banning favourite foods is too restrictive, It’s human nature to want the things you can’t have, so when you cut out chocolate or wine you’ll find it difficult to ignore cravings. It’s only a matter of time until you crack, and when you do, you’re likely to binge on the very thing you were trying to cut out.

Make it healthier

Don’t make treats your enemy – nothing should banned. Just try to have everything in moderation.
Clever swap: Don’t buy a large bar of chocolate with the intention of saving half for later. Instead, pick up a fun size portion so it’s harder to ‘accidentally’ eat more.


The Lifestyle Guy is a Lifestyle Expert available for talks, conferences and workshops on Confidence Building, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Well-being and Personal Safety.

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  1. Ros Astaire

    June 6, 2011

    I loved your article – I think it is useful to give clients a healthy swap list which opens their eyes to ideas they may never have thought of, for example: swop a croissant [200 cals] for a crumpet [89 cals].
    Ros Astaire [WeightExpectations].

  2. Sarah Arrow

    June 6, 2011

    Great article Garth, it’s frightening to see how all those calories add up!

  3. Anne Vaillancourt

    June 7, 2011

    These are great, concrete suggestions for trimming calories and hopefully pounds. Making little changes in diet here and there can translate into an effective change of eating habits!

  4. Lalande Valerie

    June 10, 2011

    what an interesting article …I definitely agree and would rather eat good quality tastier food but n reasonable quantities and be happy!

    Always the same rule …
    No excess for success!

  5. Adrienne

    June 13, 2011

    I love it; changing ‘swap’ for ‘diet’; I always use the word ‘shedding’ weight instead of losing. losing implies you want it back!

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