Gill Books - Reading Matters



The Plan: How To Start

29-07-2016 16:05

Find out how to start The Plan by Aoife Hearne with our exclusive 3 part extract below. This cookbook brings together all the recipes and practical advice you need to reach and maintain a healthy weight for life. Let the healthy choice become the easy choice.

Let me be clear – in case you are under any illusions – this is NOT a diet book. However, fear not, this book is here to help you and your family make lifelong changes to improve your food choices and to lose weight.

‘Just tell me what I need to do!’ My top 5 tips

Sound familiar? Yes, because this is what most people want – I regularly hear ‘just tell me what I need to do and I’ll do it’. The first important step is to make sure your head is in the right place so that you can get off to the best start. These are some starter tips, but you will notice other tips along the way to build up your toolbox.

1. Have a strong foundation for WHY you want to lose weight/make changes. This needs to be something that resonates with your soul, a reason strong enough to stop you having two biscuits on the way up the stairs to bed.

2. Be honest with yourself. If you really want to be successful in maintaining a healthy weight for life, you need to stop believing the ‘line’ you are telling everyone around you. For example, ‘I overeat because I’m lonely/I’m sad/I’m bored’; the list can go on. Or instead of the line ‘I’m too busy to cook’, the truth may be closer to I’m not organised/ prepared at the weekends to be able to cook midweek and I don’t want to take the time needed to do this.

3. Make the healthy habits EASY to do. Think of the ‘triggers’ that make the healthy habits/food choices easy to do. For example, if you want to drink more water, rather than focusing on drinking 2 litres of water a day, what I recommend is to keep the focus on bringing a water bottle with you to work. If you have your water bottle with you (the trigger), you are more likely to achieve your goal (healthy habit).

4. Build barriers to unhealthy habits. Make it difficult to continue the unhealthy habits that get in the way of your weight loss goals.

5. Make sure you are not on a ‘diet’. Keep your focus on the habits you want to change rather than on an ‘all or nothing’ approach.


The 80% rule: a rule to live by

The 80% rule refers to the practice of learning to stop eating when your stomach feels 80% full. ‘I don’t even know what that feels like’, I hear you shout! You are not alone. Most people go from starving to stuffed in a matter of minutes at mealtimes. This, unfortunately, is a consequence of bypassing your ‘full’ signals for years.

The good news is that you CAN reconnect with it. Babies are born knowing innately when they are hungry and when they are full. They feed from their mother for as long as they need and they stop when they are full. However, as children get older, parents often encourage them to bypass this ability by forcing them to finish everything on their plate. By the time a person become an adult, they don’t know what full really feels like any more, never mind 80% full. Intuitive eating or mindful eating is a term given to the practice of being more connected with what and how much you are eating. I regularly run workshops in my clinic for people who want to become more in tune with their ‘hunger scale’.5 This workshop is designed to help people listen to their body, savour their food and feel their best. The good news is that the workshop is easy and you can use it at any time. Here’s how some of the steps work:

Before eating: Pause to check in with your body

  • Current hunger level: _______
  • How full do you want to be when you finish eating? _______
  • While eating: Savour and enjoy your food
  • Focus on one bite at a time.
  • Take small bites and chew thoroughly. Set down your fork and savour.
  • Pause midway through the meal to assess your hunger: ______
  • When you reach your desired fullness consider covering your meal or tidying up.
  • After eating: Notice how you feel:
  • Fullness level immediately after the meal: _____
  • Fullness level 20–30 minutes after eating: _____
  • How do you feel? Do you feel satisfied and energised? Tired and sluggish?

A well-planned kitchen

Out of sight, out of mind

Keep treats that tempt you out of the house. You don’t have to be a martyr to the cause of living well – make it easy on yourself and avoid bringing foods that trigger unhealthy food choices into the home.

Make the healthy choices easy

Whether you are trying to drink more water or eat more fruit, think about what will make those goals easier to do. Leave a jug of water on the counter when you are at home so that you can sip away throughout the day, or have fruit you enjoy washed and ready to eat and visible on the counter, to achieve your goal – don’t hide away the healthy choices. Make sure vegetables are at eye level in the fridge to ensure these are the foods that greet you every time you open the fridge.


Plan Ahead

Make time each week to peel and chop vegetables, and then place them in airtight bags or containers in the fridge so that they are easy to access for dinners and/or snacks. A regular theme that has come up for Operation Transformation leaders is a complete lack of planning, which makes this tip essential. My tip is to use Sunday of each week to plan the week ahead. You will be surprised by how much a positive impact spending 1–2 hours on a Sunday getting organised can make to your week.

Planning Permission

Just like when you are looking to extend your house and you need to apply for planning permission, you should think about what foods you are going to allow into your house and where you’re going to store them, especially if treats need to be kept in the home for an occasion such as Christmas or a birthday party. I recommend picking a press that you don’t use that often, or placing them at the back of a press, so that you don’t see them a lot. The biggest mistake people make is to put them in a press that they need to open regularly and before they know it, they are back in the supermarket buying all the same food again, originally bought for that special occasion!


We hope you enjoyed this exclusive 3 part extract, The Plan is available on our website, Amazon and in all good bookstores.


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