Strict diet brings hard-earned loss

By James Bennett

Rejoice! Weight has started to shred from my body.

It's nothing too exciting but there is a sense of pride. People are commenting that I look thinner, and it gives me some confidence.

Interestingly, one factor of my altered appearance comes from a beard trim.

It might sound a little odd, but scaling back from Ned Kelly to neat and tidy has sharpened my cheeks and does trick the eye into believing that it's the solution to weight loss.

But I can't just solely rely on a beard trim to cut the fat, appearance-wise.

I've gone from walks to more intense exercise and I've dismissed the attitude of ‘watching what I eat’, instead focusing on meal prep and proper dieting.

Searching for a healthy meal does have its down sides though. The biggest problem is that heartwarming comfort foods tend to hit high on the calorie count. But that's not a huge shock.

There's a little bit of trial and error involved when cooking a healthy dish.

I want to consume something nice, not just something healthy but disgusting for the sake of losing weight.

Half the meals I've been cooking recently are delicious, while the rest are too bland for my palate.

The trick could be to just eat those delicious meals, but that also has problems including fewer food options, repetition and lack of essential needs.

I've been lucky to find some cracking dishes by Jamie Oliver including home-made beans with roasted capsicum, and a kale and sausage stew (the trick is the fennel seeds and chili).

These are (apparently) low-calorie and low-carb; plus, these recipes are not for one person, so each provides an easy heat-up meal for later in the week.

Since the internet enjoys tracking my cookie consumption — not the dunking type, but search history — it keeps popping up ads about fitness plans and what foods to avoid. Stupidly, I watch these videos out of curiosity which sends information to my cookies saying I'm interested in watching these three-minute ads. Usually they have ripped American models telling viewers to eat whatever they want, providing they spend 23 hours of the day in the gym.

You can go from obese to sex symbol in just a matter of weeks (accompanied with the before-and-after photos)!

Sounds great, but then there are the other ads about what foods you should or shouldn't eat.

There's always that secret herb or spice to add to any meal, or an oil substitute that reduces the fat content by half.

No doubt dietitians, GPs and personal trainers will have different opinions on various foods and what should (and should not) be consumed.

But it puts me in a world of confusion, and I'm spending hours researching recipes.

So who do you trust? I might be losing weight, but that doesn't mean I'm healthy.

Maybe the old cliche of a balanced diet plus exercise is not only the trick to losing weight, but staying healthy.