How To Break Up With Takeaway
You know you have a problem when you’re on a first name basis with the local fish and chip shop owner.
And the pizza guy. Hi Rom!
Oh and the staff at that fabulous burger joint you just can’t resist, know your order without you even having to open your mouth.
I’m pretty sure they knew as us “Number 2, Number 7 and a Large Chips”.
“Yeah that’s me” …
I really wish take away fast food wasn’t so convenient or appealing.
It honestly baffles me that I can continue to be lured into eating something despite knowing damn well that I’ll end up bloated and crampy a few hours after consuming it.
Not to mention FAT!
I like to think I’m an intelligent person.
But I lack a lot of self control when it comes to this type of food.
Actually, I think we all do.
Judging by the current obesity epidemic.
According to 2011-12 data compiled by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), around 60 per cent of adults and one in four children are overweight or obese.
And if we don’t do anything to change this, the NHMRC predicts that at current rates, over two thirds of Australians will be overweight by 2025, and a third will develop type 2 diabetes during their lifetime.
This is a fairly grim outlook for our children’s future!
And so for that reason alone, we need to break up with our love affair with heavily processed refined, cheap, convenient food.
Let me tell you, I’m certainly no angel here.
I’ve been known to inhale a box of BBQ shapes – seasoning, crumbs and all – faster than you can say “Heart Attack”.
Pastries, pies, bread rolls, doughnuts, hot chips, pizza, burgers, cakes…
Oh I love them too!
The sweeter, saltier and fattier the better.
But this is the food that is literally killing us.
Obesity is causing chronic conditions and potentially lethal diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, stroke, some cancers and sleep apnoea.
Obesity is now one of the the world’s biggest killers.
Together with other non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes, obesity is jointly responsible for an estimated 35 million deaths each year, 60% of all deaths globally, with 80% in low- and middle-income countries.
And it’s severally burdening our economy and hurting our hip pockets too.
The 2010 study carried out by Australian Diabetes found that the total direct cost for overweight and obesity in 2005 was $21 billion ($6.5 billion for overweight and $14.5 billion for obesity).
The same study estimated indirect costs of $35.6 billion per year, resulting in an overall total annual cost of $56.6 billion.
According to the Dietitians Association of Australia, Australian’s spend 15% of their weekly food budget on fast food and takeaway food.
So why do we find it so hard to stop eating this food?
Well, we over eat and have cravings for these types of foods for a myriad of reasons such as:
- behavioural patterns
- psychological reasons
- simply as a byproduct of the food choices we are making
It’s honestly like one big vicious cycle…
For example highly processed foods are generally low in fibre and high in sugar.
Fibre is an important nutrient required to satisfy hunger.
Consuming food high in refined sugar leads to a spike in our insulin levels making us feel hungry again.
High levels of insulin in our body also interferes with the hormone Leptin, responsible for signally to the brain to stop eating.
So we still feel hungry despite the fact that we just ate a WHOLE PIZZA.
That’s before we’ve even delved into how tired and stressed we are, the state of our mental health or what “habits and behaviours” we have formed.
Because these all affect the hormones our bodies produce to help us regulate our appetite.
When we are stressed our body produces high levels of the hormones cortosil and adrenaline.
These stress hormones increase our risk of insulin dependence.
Adrenaline in particular encourages our body to burn glucose rather than fat stores.
When our body burns glucose it wants to replenish its stores quickly … hence craving more food.
And a lack of sleep also effects the hormones that are released to regulate our appetite and hunger demands.
Meaning you are more likely to overeat and therefore put on weight when you’re not getting enough sleep.
Another contributing factor in this is the way in which our brains are wired.
Since evolution, our brains have been designed to eat when food was available.
The signals in our brain encourage us to fill up on energy dense food when possible to store fat during times of famine.
The problem with that is that nowadays there is no famine.
Not from where I’m sitting anyway!
But many of us are still eating as if there is.
We are eating too much energy dense food that is high in fat and sugar and we are not moving our bodies enough.
So let’s stop eating these foods in the quantities that we are.
Let’s stop spending our hard earned cash on food that is making us sick.
Let’s move more and start enjoying a healthier life.
Here are my top tips for getting you through the breakup.
1. Learn how to cook at home (and teach your children to do the same)
I’ve said this before.
I can’t say it enough.
Because I honestly think we are at risk of losing the skills required to cook.
More and more of us are eating out or ordering in.
This is particularly the case for our future generations.
I know some people don’t share my passion for cooking.
I get that.
However, learning how to cook yourself is so vital in life.
I’m not talking about being able to create one of those intricate desserts from Master Chef or becoming the next Iron Chef.
I’m just urging you to learn the basics.
Embrace all the fresh seasonal produce we can easily access, experiment with different flavours and learn some new skills.
If you can’t cook some basic meals then there is no way you can get the best out of your diet.
It’s really that simple.
But don’t stress, there are loads of online resources you can tap into and demonstrations you can download for free on YouTube.
If you live locally here in Geelong, I definitely recommend signing up to Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food.
They provide a 10 week cooking class series teaching you the basics of cooking wholesome real food from scratch.
Plus you get to take all your creations plus the recipes home with you.
It’s honestly the best value getting around!
And don’t forget I’m here to help too.
Book in a cooking session with me via Skype.
I’d love to teach you some basic skills.
2. Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan
And I mean right up to the next shop you plan to do.
Cooking throughout the week never really phased me.
But come the weekend, everything went out the window.
And you know why?
Because I was in this stupid habit of meal planning from Monday – Friday only.
Purposefully ignoring the weekend.
So of course by the time the weekend rolled around there was nothing left in the fridge.
We had a million other things we’d rather be doing than supermarket shopping and so it’s no surprise that we relied on takeaway to get us through.
Ordering pizza, fish and chips or burgers and stopping to get a block of chocolate on the way home.
And you know what’s worse than going to the supermarket hungry?
Ordering takeaway food when you’re hungry.
Because as I mentioned previously, being tired and hungry leads to an increase in hormones which stimulate your appetite leaving you craving heavily refined carbohydrates, especially sugar.
So organisation and preparation is the key.
Even on weekends.
Especially on weekends!
You may not need to continue this forever, but it sure does help to limit those times when you’re staring into an empty fridge dreaming about hot chips and pizza!
3. Buy less and make a salad
We’ve all heard the saying “cheap as chips” because well, chips are cheap!
Actually all processed terrible quality takeaway is ridiculously cheap.
And when things are ridiculously cheap, we tend to over order and over eat.
Did you say I could supersize for an extra $2?
Oh why not?
Watch your portion sizing and fill up on salad to avoid overdoing it on the chips.
And go for a better quality take away because if you’re cutting back on it you can afford to spend more to get better quality food.
4. Create a healthy relationship with food and choose wisely
Don’t beat yourself up every time you get some take away.
Actually allow yourself to indulge every so often otherwise your new approach will not be sustainable.
Take small steps and you’ll do better.
Just try to choose more wisely when you do indulge.
- Opt for wedges or fat chips over skinny french fries. (Sweet potato or zucchini chips are even better options)
- Go for grilled, baked or steamed over deep fried and battered.
- Ask for wholegrain where possible.
- Go quality over quantity.
- Ask for the dressing on the side.
Our problem was the frequency and quantity of takeaway we were having.
Yes, we still get the occasional pizza or burger.
But we are much more likely to couple it with a salad or some homemade vegetable chips these days.
5. Fill up on the good stuff
Filling up on good wholesome foods means you’re much less likely to crave takeaway.
Simply because you’re consuming food that is satisfying and nourishing your body.
Make sure you add protein and healthy fats into every meal of your diet.
Fats help to slow down the release of glucose into your blood so you don’t get those big sugar spikes resulting in insulin production.
These include things like nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocado, olive oil and coconut oil.
And be organised by preparing snacks ahead of time so when you are hungry they are readily on hand.
I don’t know about you but when I’m home and bored I spend a lot of time thinking about food.
I float between the fridge and pantry like there is no tomorrow and it’s this mindless snacking that really impacts on my health.
If you find you are doing this too.
Go for a walk, read a book, do some exercise, play with your children, clean the house … do whatever you can to take the focus off the food.
Unless of course you’re legitimately hungry. Then by all means, grab a snack!
Using these exact tips we gradually cut back from having 2-3 takeaway meals each week, including weekend lunches.
Yes, we were bad!
Now we go weeks without getting take out and we’ve completely stopped buying crap for weekend lunches.
Eating a more wholefoods diet is honestly the simplest most effective change you can make to ensure optimal health for your mind and body!
So I urge you to give the tips a go.
Breaking up with heavily processed fast take away food could seriously save your life.
Good luck X
Brigid is The Wholesome Mum to two gorgeous daughters, Lilly and Georgie. And wife to handsome, funny Carl.
She spends a big portion of her days making sure their household doesn't fall apart, that the girls are fed, clothed and everyone is generally happy. This can be tough with a 3 year old!
The rest of her time is spent divided between pottering around in the kitchen concocting up healthy wholesome recipes and running. She loves running!
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