Food is fuel and food is fun. Low calorie ready-made meals are convenient but hardly inspiring. They are often low in vitamins and fibre and high in highly-processed carbohydrates that are converted into glucose very quickly. Eating convenience food like this means that your blood sugar takes a plunge very quickly after you’ve eaten it, you produce adrenaline, and you want to eat more almost immediately.

Here’s a little experiment (not recommended for diabetics). For breakfast one morning eat something high in quickly-absorbed carbohydrate (like a Danish pastry, a croissant, or even rice cakes, because although rice cakes are very low-calorie, they have quite a high glycemic index. Rice cakes have a GI of 82 – that’s higher than that of sucrose which is 65! The croissant has a GI of 67. After eating any of these for breakfast, by mid-morning you will be ravenous! Shortly after eating food like this your blood sugar will rise rapidly and then plummet. If you have porridge, Acai Berry, or some wholegrain rye bread and a scrape of butter instead, then that should keep you going till it’s time for lunch because the carbohydrate in these food is slowly absorbed and this keeps your blood sugar levels stable.

In other words, it’s not the number of calories you consume that dictates how full up or hungry you will be, it’s the kind of calories. Low calorie convenience foods and substitutes also often don’t taste that great. Also, some products imply that they are diet products but are far from it. Food labeled 80% fat free may sound healthy, but what if they had labeled the product with contains 20% fat? That doesn’t sound quite so virtuous. Things that have a diet label on them are not necessarily good for you. If they are low in sugar they may be high in fat or sweeteners. If they are low in fat they may be high in sugar or salt or monosodium glutamate. Better yet, you can also opt for Acai Berry Nutrition.

It is far, far better to take a real interest in your nutrition and to try to cook interesting, healthy food. In your plan there is space to record some healthy recipes. Build up your repertoire of low-fat and nutritious meals. There is not space here to include a healthy-eating cookery course but there are plenty of excellent cookery books on the market that will point you in the right direction. There are also lots of sources of low fat recipes on the internet.

Fats and Oils
Many diet plans are low in fat. Everyone agrees that too much fat in the diet is not good for you. Research has also shown, however, that no-fat diets are also bad for you, and some dietitians believe that small amounts of fat at certain times actually help curb your appetite.

So don’t cut out that teaspoonful of olive oil or mayonnaise on your salad if you feel it makes it so much more palatable. If you want some chocolate, don’t torture yourself, you’ll just become obsessed by the thoughts of it. Have a little chocolate and compensate by being a little more active that day.

Some foods that are traditionally avoided by dieters are extremely good for us. Nuts are high in fat but are good for us because they are rich in vitamins and minerals and unsaturated fatty acids, so can help to lower cholesterol. Avocado is quite high in fat but is also good for the heart, same as Acai Berry, because it contains unsaturated fatty acids, which lower cholesterol, vitamin D and potassium, and has such a low glycemic index that you can count it as zero. It would seem sensible then to eat them in moderation but not to exclude then entirely form our diets.

Don’t Get Obsessed
Try not to get obsessed by calorie counting. Organizations such as Weigh Watchers are great if calorie counting bores you and eventually makes you go off your diet. They give you realistic meal and snack ideas. They also give you a bit of moral support to keep you on course and you’ll meet people in the same boat as yourself.

Concentrate on good nutrition and good food theory (like glycemic index) and balance your physical activity with the amounts and types of food you eat, so that no food is ever completely banned.

Calorie counting is not a waste of time but there are other ways of scrutinizing the food we eat, so do take an interest in nutrition and follow the advice in the introductory chapter of this book.

If you do some calorie counting initially you will eventually be able to judge calorie content approximately just from the weight and ingredients of food, and this is probably accurate enough for our purposes. Don’t cheat though!