Real Life My (very stressful) 4-day diet
Judith woods and her family attempt to tackle a new diet – with hilarious results…
‘how big Is a Medium potato?’
It’s been a month since Public Health England told us we are all too fat, and ordered the entire country to go on a diet. and speaking as a writer constantly banging on about the obesity crisis, I’m delighted that healthy eating is finally on the menu.
From the perspective of a wife, mother, sous-chef and cook, however, I feel dismayed that calorie counting has been decreed (in my house decried) as the recommended route to collective weight loss. Really? Is that the best they can do? I’m all for cutting back, but I have no idea what a 400-calorie breakfast looks like, or how to make a 600-calorie lunch or dinner, as the new guidelines ordain.
How many calories are there in a medium potato? In fact, how big is a ‘medium’ potato? I Googled this, obviously, and I swear if I see one more food blogger recommending we start the day with ham and cheese frittata or herbed ricotta and tomato toast, I’ll have to club them with a box of Coco Pops. Because here in the time-poor real world, rustling up perfectly calorific breakfasts and textbook 600-calorie suppers is a heck of a lot more challenging than posting photographs of a buckwheat pancake artistically strewn with fresh berries on social media.
As it is, every day, overweight or obese boys in England consume 500 excess calories. Girls in the same weight category overeat by 290 calories per day. No wonder more than one in five children in England who started first year of school in September 2015 was obese or overweight. What chance do they have of managing their weight when, from such an early age, they have been overfed, or fed the wrong sort of calories, either through ignorance or neglect?
Full steam ahead
Is the answer to this public health issue to turn us into a nation of meticulous calorie counters? I suspect the very last thing the decidedly uncatchy 400-600-600 diktat will do is instil a healthy attitude to food.
Whether I like it or not (I don’t, particularly – but then I never asked to be nit-comber in chief either), I have become de facto custodian of my family’s calories.
Hence, for four days, I have endeavoured to feed my family the correct calories. Spoiler alert: cooking by numbers is horribly stressful.