Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters – The Sequel #Weightloss – The Project Plan for Success

So far we have explored how you got to this phase in your life where you are uncomfortable with the extra weight you are carrying.  Now it is time for you to tailor make your eating programme for the next phase, which is achieving optimum health for your age. Let’s face it if like me you are 66 years old, with a wonky knee and a love of more sedate sports such as walking and swimming, throwing yourself into rock climbing, triathlons and training for the Olympics is probably not on the cards.

Having said that, it is amazing what you can do once you lose a few of those pounds and you begin to feel lighter. Suddenly more active sports do not seem so out of the question, and there is many a silver surfer who has taken to the waves rather than the Internet. A great deal of this is down to attitude, determination and willpower. All of which is usually fixed by getting a dog who demands walks three times a day and won’t take no for an answer! Whatever the weather!

I know that there are mantras and inspiring quotes out there which encourage you to embrace your body shape and to get out there in swimsuits and lycra….but trust me once you have been the size of a small bell tent.. it is not that easy. Even now I shudder at the thought of exposing my body to the public gaze and chlorine of a public swimming pool and I do have a pretty good body image. I admire those of the more voluptuous body shape to take it all in their stride and certainly the younger generation are better at this. Possibly, forgive me, because there are a great many more younger people who are obese and it is less of an issue of standing out from the crowd.

When you tailor make your eating and exercise programme to lose weight it is not a question of diving in and cutting out all suspect foods and trying to run three times a week. I have already shared how important it is to keep your body supplied with nutritionally dense foods whilst reducing those foods that are not just suspect but sabotaging to your health and waistline.

Such as sugar, white flour and industrially produced foods.

Before you begin your program, it is important to set some ground rules.

There are not many to remember, but they will assist you in becoming successful at sensible and healthy eating.

Do not skip snacks or meals. Remember – you must eat something every two or three hours so that you stimulate your metabolism and keep your blood sugar levels stable. This will help prevent cravings later in the day and will stop that nagging feeling of hunger. It will also be easier for your body to absorb and process these smaller meals rather than one very large meal. That process begins in the mouth where you should chew the food well and mix with saliva, which will then slip down the oesophagus, into the stomach where the acid will form it into a liquid before it gets mixed with bile and other enzymes to ease it into the intestines where the goodness can be extracted.

There are a lot of articles about Intermittent Fasting and leaving a long gap between your last meal at night and eating in the morning, preferably between 14 and 16 hours. But if you are very overweight and have been dipping into the cookie jar every time you felt the need; it will be much more difficult to stick to the programme. I suggest that you do not fast completely as your body will react negatively to being starved and will only store any food you do then eat as it counteracts the famine.

Despite the operating systems of your body continuing to work overnight, it does so on standby mode using up approximately half the calories per hour as it does during the day. It needs to be given a boost when you wake up to get it back into gear.. You should not go to bed with a full stomach, and I recommend that you allow at least three hours after eating, and you will get a better night’s sleep. If you finish eating by 7pm and eat your breakfast at 8am. You will have given your body thirteen hours to recover, digest and use up some fat before you begin eating again. If you can get in 30 minutes of moderate exercise before breakfast that would be even better. Then for the next eight hours or so eat moderate main meals with healthy snacks between. I will give you some ideas for those meals later in the series.

Keeping a food diary is essential for the first few weeks of your program. Not only will it encourage you to be honest about your daily intake, but you should make the effort to learn from it. For example, apart from Candida Albicans there are other food related issues to consider. Although not as common as the ‘Gluten Free’ multi-billion food industry would have you believe, there are a percentage of people who are allergic to gluten or react to it in a milder form. It is estimated that around 1 in 5,000 people have celiac disease and cannot digest gluten, but that around 1 in 200 may have an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten. By keeping a food diary you can establish a base line of which foods may cause you certain symptoms when eaten. Usually in the last 12 to 24 hours. For example bloating, wind, cramps associated with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and also NCP (not chewing your food properly!). You cannot swallow large chunks of food, especially the high fibre variety such as vegetables and expect them to miraculous become a smooth addition to your guts.

Another benefit of a food diary is finding the right fuel mix for you as an individual. If in one week you met your weight loss target, felt energetic and looked great, what were you eating to achieve that? By reviewing your diary, you gain insight into the fuel mix that works for you. Likewise if you find you have reached a plateau and have not lost weight. It can be easy to skip snacks, thinking that you are not hungry, but you will soon see that gaps in your food diary can lead to hunger or picking at food later in the day. The diary is your basic tool to help you establish a pattern of healthy eating that one-day you will automatically keep to.

Make sure that you keep your food program varied. Not only do you need the full spectrum of nutrients, but you should also avoid boredom. Get out the recipe books and be creative, especially in substituting other products for fat and sugar. I have compiled a list of possible substitutes later in the series, but if you look around you will find many more. One of the boons of my early days dieting was my old crockpot, now upgraded to a large slow cooker. I would make a chicken stew with loads of vegetables that would last the two of us three nights. I would serve with a small portion of rice (a tablespoon) or a small amount of potato, and it was really filling. Usually by the time we had taken the solids out there was enough each for a rich and nutritious soup for supper. As all the vegetables were cooked with the chopped chicken in a vegetable stock, none of the goodness was lost.

We lose around two litres of water each day, not just as wee, but as we breath and through our skin…and this has to be replaced in order to remain hydrated, and to prevent our bodies from taking fluid from sources that may contain a high percentage of sugars. If you feel tired, and/or suffer from headaches and irritability, it could well be that you are dehydrated. Start the day with a large glass of water and then drink regularly throughout the day. It is better to drink a glass of room temperature water 30 minutes before your meal and then leave an hour before having another.

Avoid drinking large amounts of water with your main meal,(something it seems every restaurant in America provides even if you don’t ask for it) since this can drown the gastric juices that process your meal and cause wind and bloating. Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before your main meal and then about an hour afterwards. There are some fluids that aid digestion – a glass of red wine occasionally, or a peppermint tea after a meal out. All fluids count, although I don’t recommend 8 cups of coffee a day as you will be wired, but certainly both coffee and green tea in particular have antioxidants that are good for you. And also coffee, green tea, ginger, cayenne pepper, black pepper and funnily enough coconut oil….can have a thermogenic effect and aid fat burning!

Only weigh yourself once a fortnight to begin with, but never more than once a week – always at the same time and on the same scales. Your weight will fluctuate during the week, so hopping on and off the scales can be demoralising. Some people swear by daily weigh-ins, and that if that is what you wish to do then leave it until you have lost most of your weight and are getting down to the last couple of stone.

Control your portion sizes. Just because a food is good for you does not mean that you can eat huge amounts of it. Remember, if you eat more than your body requires, you will put on weight. A bowl of chopped salad is great but do remember that adding even low fat mayonnaise comes at a price…100gm of low fat mayonnaise can contain between 6gm to 10gm of sugar. There are hundreds of recipes online for sugar free dressings that are still low in fat. I have a mix of balsamic vinegar with one teaspoon of coconut oil some black pepper and a pinch of salt for one very large fresh salad and it coats it deliciously. Remember, moderate main meals, and small snacks.

Alcohol may be low in fat but it is high in carbohydrates and sugars, and therefore calories. One large glass of wine a day, seven days a week, can add up to 30 lbs (14 kg) of body fat a year. Try to limit drinking alcohol to special occasions, and then have only two or three drinks at a time. Drinking more than this can put additional stress on your liver which has to deal with the alcohol in your system. There are so many articles online about the benefits of alcohol and how one glass a night is better for you than having no alcohol at all… not sure who sponsors them but I can tell you that when I stopped drinking completely for the first six months of my weight loss 23 years ago I lost considerably more than I had previously when I had attempted to lose weight. We used to share a bottle of wine most nights and that adds up to 60lbs (28kg) per year!

Stop thinking like a fat person and start thinking like a slim one. Start talking about ‘when’, not ‘if’, I lose weight. Also there is a six letter word that is your nemesis…‘Should’. We use it blatantly when we want to avoid doing anything. I should lose weight, I should stop smoking, I should save money!…Very wishy, washy and not going to get you over the finish line. Start using the word ‘MUST’ instead. Put some muscle behind it and get it done.

Also stop eating for the size you are. I cannot count the number of times I was told ‘take two you are a big girl’ or ‘have a second helping you need all the energy you can get’… no actually you need to eat for the person you are going to become, not the one you have become!

Find an incentive that will be achieved when you have reached certain weights. When I had lost a few stone, I bought a black velvet dress with white satin trim that was aimed an hour glass figure. That hung in a clear plastic bag, on the front of my wardrobe for the 18 months it took for me to get into it. When I bought the dress I was wearing size 32 UK and it was a size 16. You need to find something that is in your face every day that reminds you of why you are doing this.

Remember – this is not a diet! It is a healthy eating program. It must become integrated into your life, so it needs to be interesting, stimulating and non-restrictive in order to work. And as they say. A little of what you fancy does you good!

And next week a realistic approach to how much you should weigh and identifying how many lbs you need to shift to achieve that.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here:

 Thanks for dropping in today and if you have any questions please use the comments or if your prefer you are more than welcome to email me on

I am joining a growing number of our blogging friends on MeWe and I invite you take a look… a different approach to users.

You can find the previous posts in this directory:

54 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters – The Sequel #Weightloss – The Project Plan for Success

  1. Very sensible advice. Diets don’t work because they’re temporary. As soon as you go back to your old habits, the weight returns. You need to adapt a healthy lifestyle to sustain the weight loss.
    I’ve been on Weight Watchers since 2004; made lifetime in 2005. Their program teaches you how to make good food choices without depriving yourself. It’s great to have the support of others with the same goals, too.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great advice Sal. When I was younger I was on so many crazy diet. The bottom line is it must become a lifestyle and not feel like a diet. When I made healthy eating my lifestyle, I eventually never looked back. Of course I have my chocolate overdose moments, but I like to live in the 80/20 realm of being good. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Consistency is the key and you have spent years perfecting your eating Debby and you look great. It is these celeb diets that pop up and people think.. OMG.. I can look like that.. trouble is the celebrity is starting from underweight in the first place.. The create an expectation of perfection in a matter of weeks that is not achievable. Here I go preaching to the choir again….♥♥

      Liked by 2 people

      • You’re not preaching Sal, you’re stating facts. As a reformed yo-yo dieter of yesteryear I can attest to the fact that fad diets are all temporary weight loss because as soon as we go back to regular eating the pounds plus come back. A lifestyle change is the only sustainable way to maintain. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Are used to try every diet that came along. In the early 2000’s, I even got addicted to the fin fin product. Now, I just try to eat sensibly, and take walks. Which King Campbell helps me do. And here he is again asking to go out LOL.

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        Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed.

        Yesterday a friend came to visit me. We walked to the grocery store near my house and back.

        Coming back we had to carry back packs of our plunder along with us.

        I expected I’d be sore from my walking as I haven’t been walking long distances since Campbell’s having been sick.

        But, obviously the three or four short walks I’ve been taking each day along with the exorcises I do each day learned from my physical therapy are doing more good than I thought.

        Not only was I not sore this morning but I didn’t huff and puff nearly as badly as I expected I would on the walk either.

        Quite proud of that. Maybe I’ve not done as much damage to myself as I thought.

        Gave me a real boost and encouraged me to try harder.

        And, that is really what you’re teaching us here.

        Thanks so much.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Retired? No one told me! and commented:
    Are we ready for this? Diaries at the ready? After a few weeks of why we eat in excess…Ok…Pig Out! All of it, not our fault is it?… Sally has given us the tools and now we need to step up…Be Counted…Who are we doing this for? We are doing it for ourselves…We only have one body and it is for life …A healthy life or as healthy as we can make it and don’t forget we can also have a little of what we fancy…I do…No gimmicks Just healthy eating ….See you there …xx

    Liked by 3 people

  4. First, I love the comment you make at the beginning about having one of those dogs who demands a walk three-times a day no matter the weather and won’t take no for an answer. LOL. I too have one of those dogs.
    The problem I face with all this is not having the financial security to remain with healthy eating.
    Last month I began eating much healthier, was buying the right foods, eating more fruits, grains, and drinking far much more water than ever before.
    Then, blam! A problem with my assistance program and I was tossed back into having to rely on nothing more than the meals on wheels program and for whatever reason I can still not understand they do not offer those who partake of that program a healthy selection of foods.
    I shake my head when they tell me it is due to cost because I know already that one can buy healthy foods and ready them for reating just as inexpensively as unhealthy foods and at times more so.
    I say it’s laziness and lack of wanting to spend the time and effort to make it available.
    And, I’m more than certain that people will disagree with me but I have lived in the trap of this assistance program for years and those who do are set up to fail.
    OK. no more ranting, sorry.
    It’s just very frustrating because I’d lost 6 pounds and have gained 3 of them back this month.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I just try to do the best I can with what I have.

        I’ve been in this hamster wheel for so long I don’t know if I’ll ever get out but things are as they are, and with that said, my dog, who demands a walk no matter the weather is huffing and puffing mightily telling me it is time to put up that computer and head outside.


        And, so we shall go.!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Temperatures were right at freezing this morning during our walk. To me, chili. To Campbell, a nice spring morning LOL. The joy of it for me this morning was the silence. Since it is not a workday, there was very little traffic, you could hear the birds, and it was a wonderful morning. I think there are squirrels in one of the trees that we pass along our way. Sounded like they were chattering, and Campbell was quite interested.

        Liked by 1 person

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  7. Don’t think like a fat person made me giggle. All good advice Sally all I need is a break in my medical fallout and I have got this. 14 hour over night fasting is doable, but you say 16 which is too tough. I wouldn’t be able to eat before I walked our pooch and need to so I can take meds on time. But 14 hours is it for now and walking. A great invaluable motivating post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sally and all. This afternoon, my friend and I took Campbell on a wonderfully long and upbeat paced walk. Having someone to walk with and let Campbell follow behind on his leash with me using my cane gave us both more confidence and ability and we enjoyed it immensely. Campbell very much enjoyed. A great afternoon, and was telling my friend all about your posts.

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  10. Hi Sally. There is so much good information in this post. When I was young, I could eat just about anything and never gain weight. I have always been active, but these days, it doesn’t take much to gain a pound and a lot more to lose one. I’ve been following your advice for several years now and more than anything I have learned portion control is so important. No seconds for me and I feel much better after a meal. I stayed away from snacks for years thinking they would cause me to gain. Smaller meals and small snacks work. Thank you! 💕🤗💕

    Liked by 1 person

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