Tracking your exercise, food and drink intake using an app with the aim of losing or maintaining weight is a good idea (I’m using Lifesum on my iPhone) but it presents you with one stark fact when you eat a cookie and learn it’s taken you way over your daily calorific intake. Namely, if you want to be slim, you cannot eat a cookie again. Or anything sweet at all, unless it’s fruit.
Actually, you’re best advised to keep away from supermarkets because most everything they sell is designed to make you quickly, conveniently and profitably obese. When you look around them with an eye to what’s healthy, you realise it’s easier to find what’s unhealthy. Sure, they stock fresh fruit and vegetables – but are they what greet you at the entrance to the store? No. Fizzy drinks, multipack crisps, chocolates, those are the kind of things stacked high and in your face.
Sugary, salty crap is nearly always insanely cheap as well as prominently placed. Ingredients are more expensive than if you buy pre-made goods. Living healthily is expensive in monetary terms – but worth it in the short and long run, if you can manage the outlay.
I’ve learned my lesson from the cookie shaming. I’m sticking with fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs and restricted carbs. The last of those means I’m not going near anything containing refined sugar, I’m limiting my consumption of potatoes, I’m banning sweets, chocolate and crisps from my diet for the foreseeable. I was already doing that until tempted. I’m going to have to buy more from the markets and limit the number of times I enter supermarkets – because those places shout at you, flirt with you, encourage you to succumb to well-placed treats oh-so-reasonably priced and attractively packaged.
Given that I do at least half an hour on the cross-trainer three to five days a week, tracking the calorific value of food really has opened my eyes to the cost of some items. I don’t mean the financial cost; I mean the personal cost to my health and fitness goals. A packet of sweets consumed in ten minutes can easily equate to a few hours or more of vigorous exercise if you want to negate their calorific weight. You get to a point, well I have at any rate, where you realise it’s the cheap and sweet stuff that proves to have the highest cost attached to it in the end.
So, goodbye cookies. I can’t afford you anymore. I think only those with fast metabolisms can, or those with the ability and willingness to invest countless hours in the gym. I’ve often heard it said that the mantra is, ‘eat less, exercise more’ when you want to lose weight. I think that’s true but it’s also correct to say you can eat more of what’s actually good for you and still find you lose weight or maintain it. Want to eat a mountain of salad? Go right ahead. Want to eat one cookie? From now on, I think I’ll pass and choose an apple instead.