We all have to make choices in life, some more substantial and important than others. What colour of knickers to wear? No problems there. Buy a new house? Bit more thought required on that one. For people who are trying to lose weight, some of those everyday choices all of a sudden become very important -yep, I’m talking about what we decide to put in our mouths. And it’s choice we make many, many times. (Maybe that’s where I’ve been going wrong all this time?) We have to make judgements on the best things to put in our bodies to help us on our weight loss journey, but we also have to balance that need with a quirky trait called want.
I think ‘want’ has a lot to answer for in my case, and I don’t think I’m alone on that one. We all have some things we really enjoy eating. If any of you are anything like me, it’s all the stuff that’s bad for you. The main culprits are usually heavily carb-based (bread), sugary (waffles) or fatty foods (BURGERS), and they taste goooooood. The survival of our species does not depend on these things, but we want them because they taste good, and any one in their right mind will tell you if you deprive yourself of these things, nine times out of ten, it will not end well. So the idea is that we allow ourselves these things in moderation; not an everyday occurrence.
The global weight-loss industry is huge these days (no pun intended there) and cashing in on all of our fat backsides in every way imaginable – particularly in technology, fashion, fitness and of course, food. We are aware of all the different ‘weight loss foods’ available (going to try really hard not to Brand-Bash too much here) as well as actual weight-loss plans that involve soups and milkshakes. The cleverest thing about the market is the introduction of ‘replacement’ foods – the concept of an item with a reduced calorie/fat/sugar/whatever content. Items like this are EVERYWHERE. People on a weight-loss journey lap it up (sometimes literally) and gung-ho themselves into reduced everything in order to feel like they aren’t missing out and still be able to lose weight. I am no exception.
However. Even more interesting is the development of replacement ‘treat’ foods – stop and think for a minute. Biscuits. ‘crisps’ (I use that term loosely). Ice cream and desserts. They are actually everywhere. These can be an excellent weight-loss tools, and really help us in dealing with the ‘want’ side of things, and also make us feel like ‘we aren’t on a diet’. The last part of that sentence is the problem. While we can use these products as tools to aid in our weight loss, we develop what I call ‘replacement blindness’, and it doesn’t do anyone any good, apart from the companies lining their pockets.
When you make a ‘healthier’ version of a food, something always suffers. You quite literally cannot have your cake and eat it. The compromise is usually portion size or taste. most of the time they are quite heavily processed, too.
A well-known weight-loss brand company bring out their own version of a traditional biscuit. It’s half the syns/points/checks (whatever you want to call the counting system) of it’s genuine counterpart. Oooh, I’ll have some of that to dip in my tea! Except when you actually look at the biscuit, it’s just half of the original biscuit, done up in fancy packaging and a bit pricier. And it doesn’t taste quite the same. WAKE UP. This is a classic case of replacement blindness. It’s expensive, doesn’t taste as good and a shoddily lazy attempt at a suitable alternative. I may struggle to keep my weight under control, but I’m not a mug. I understand that people have various reasons for selecting certain foods, but I’m not going to be tricked. I’d rather not have said biscuit at all.
Another company tout a chocolatey alternative tea-time treat, and I have to say they are delicious. When you unwrap them, you become aware that the reason they are so ‘low’ is because they are tiny, and you could have a small piece of actual chocolate for the same values.
A foodie guru and his pal bring out an alternative to hot chocolate, made from all-natural ingredients and rant and rave that it is fabulous, versatile and yum-yum-yum. It’s revolting. It tastes nothing like chocolate, it’s bitter as hell and it’s because it is made from Carob. I feed carob to my dogs, for christ sake! And it is extortionate. Again, any one who kids themselves into thinking this is a good replacement is seriously deluded.
It was this latter situation that I found myself in which prompted me to take off my weight-watcher-tinted spectacles and really look at the volume, quality and size of my replacement foods. Am I suffering from replacement blindness? The answer is no, because I like my food to taste ‘proper’. There are certain good quality replacements I will always use, such as sweeteners (versatile) and some of the stuff out there really is fabulous (WWs Rocky Road Bars – to die for). But if I can’t justify the points on the Real Deal, I’d rather go without than accept a half-arsed alternative. incidentally, this is why I no longer have biscuits with my tea.
If you do happen to be suffering from Replacement Blindness, don’t worry – I can point you in the direction of a carob-based beverage that will jolt you back in the right direction.