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Is it possible to eat too much free food?

#1
Just a little question, as I am a very greedy girl (hence the weight issue in the first place :rolleyes:)

For example I made a quorn cottage pie last night, free on green, to bring for lunch. It said serves 4 on the recipe, and I brought half of it to work. I had half earlier (therefore 1 serving) and was lovely and full. But, because I am bored, I decided to have the other half and now I am belly bursting!

In theory, it shouldn't matter as it was free - but does it?

The rest of my daily intake has been this, all weighed and measured accordingly where necessary:

bran flakes
milk
3 satsumas
strawberries, blueberries and raspberries with vlf nat yog

Can someone please enlighten me?

Theresa x
 
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#2
I don't think it matters as long as it's free, my SW leaders says rather you snack on something filling and free than something small and synful. I have been eating loads of free stuff on SW and it doesn't seem to effect the weight loss
 

munkypooh

Warning-Contains Nuts
#3
It depends how much free food you get through, and I think also how much weight you've got to lose still. I couldn't lose weight with SW unless I calorie counted too, as "free food" seemed like an open invitation to me!
Balance and moderation are encouraged by the SW ethos, however 1000 cals of free food is the same as 1000 cals of syns, if it's on top of your needs for the day....kind of like whether a ton of lead or a ton of feathers weigh more?
 

SpaceAngel

I ate my willpower!
#4
I think you will be fine! My SWS said that the idea of the diet is that you eat 80% free food, 15% HEX's and 5% Syns.

From hearing target members experience at my group, the more free food you eat, the better your losses. So long as you eat until you are satisfied and not gorge yourself, then I think your losses should be good.

If, in the unlikely event they arn't very good, then cut back on your syns before your free food. Just my opinion though :D
 

munkypooh

Warning-Contains Nuts
#5
From hearing target members experience at my group, the more free food you eat, the better your losses. So long as you eat until you are satisfied and not gorge yourself, then I think your losses should be good.
I think this all hinges upon the individual dieter's ability to only eat until they are satisfied, and not beyond. I personally found it irritating that I was being told that I could eat as much as I wanted and still lose weight - If I really ate as much as I wanted, I would burst! I needed more guidance on portion control than SW could give me, so it wasn't the diet for me.
I'm sure it works really well for those with more sense of moderation than me!!
 
#6
I've heard that free food should only be consisered free if you're actually hungry. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news :eek:

Edited to add - I also eat out of boredom, and don't stick to the 'only eat if hungry' rule :eek: and have managed to lose between 2.4lb and 3.2lb each week so there is hope! ;)
 

SpaceAngel

I ate my willpower!
#8
I think the whole point of SW is that you should never be hungry.

My SWC was saying that it's when you let yourself get really hungry that we make bad food choices and she has a point. When I am starving I just want to eat something quick and that has usually been a baguette or something. Now I have pasta and sauce or if I am on a red day, I will have a packet of fridge raiders.

I usually stick to 2 meals a day (brunch and dinner) because I can't stomach breakfast and I have my HEX's usually as snacks, depending on what day I am on.
 
#9
1000 cals of free food is the same as 1000 cals of syns
There's no doubt that the ultimate rule of loosing weight is: if you eat less calories than you burn... you will loose weight.

However, I'm not sure things are quite as simple as munkypooh says. Free foods have a high 'energy density'. This means that the amount of calories given up off by a specific weight of food is far healthier than syn foods. So whilst, in theory, you might consider that 1000 calories in 1000 calories, regardless of where it comes from... the reality is that if we eat foods that fill us up more (free foods, not syns) we're likely to consume less calories overall.

The reason we eat 20 biscuits instead of 2 is because, whilst they taste very nice and might be immediately satisfying (raising our blood sugar quite dramatically, making us feel better, tasting good etc) ... they're not actually very filling.

You never heard of anyone eating 20 potatoes. That's because potatoes are filling.

Let me explain it a different way. In an average medium sized potato, there's about 160 calories. In a normal sized (35g) bag of crisps there's about 180 calories. About the same in calories right? But - the potato is far more filling than the crisps.

If I'm hungry, I can easily eat 2 bags of crisps and a chocolate bar. Total calories 600. I couldn't eat four potatoes and a tin of beans. I'd be full after two.

So, eating free foods, even of the same calorie amount, fills me up much more.

It's much better to eat free foods for a variety of reasons (we're forgetting the obvious health benefits associated with free foods) but one of these reasons is that they fill us up more.

Slimming World works on the basis that the calories one consumes in free foods, HEXs and a low number of syns will always be less than our body consumes. For the vast majority of people, that's absolutely right. It might not be *much* less.. and certainly nowhere near as low as a VLCD for example, but it will be less and you shouldn't be hungry because of the choice of free foods that are filling (pasta, potatoes, meat etc).

So, yes, free food is only free when you're hungry. If you eat when you're not hungry, you run the risk of eating too much free foods. But if you are hungry... it makes much more sense to eat free foods to fill up rather than use up syns - regardless of the calorific value of those foods.

For the vast vast majority of people, calorie counting on SW is not necessary. It will only serve to complicate matters. You shouldn't worry about eating too many calories because you are filling up on free foods... it's almost impossible to do so because free foods are so filling for their calorific value.
 
#10
Oh but PS

I do have an exception to this. That's Mullerlights. I could easily, if I let myself, eat 10 of these when I'm hungry. That would be 1000 calories. I wouldn't be breaking any Slimming World rules if I did this - I was hungry and they are free. I'm 'filling up on free foods' - something positively encouraged by SW.

But instead, I could be just as full by having a bowl of spaghetti. The bowl of spaghetti might be 200 calories.

So, clearly, it's worth watching *some* free foods like Mullerlights.

To be fair, before I started SW, I would have been snacking on crisps and chocolate, so obviously it's better to be having Mulerlights. But I think it's worth limiting consumption of those. For me anyway.

I still eat them. But I'd be worried if I was having more than two (or maybe three) a day... so for me, they're not unlimited.
 

KD

Gone fishing
#12
I found I could eat too much free food on SW and it affected my weightloss.

I do agree that though it is a calorie controlled diet, it works by free foods being energy dense.

But...Energy dense means it may keep the hunger pangs away :clap: which is absolutely fantastic, as long as you only eat when hungry:sigh:

Though I very successfully lost 6 stone on SW, I did have a problem with eating to satisfied. Liked doing the eating until full:eek::eek:
 

munkypooh

Warning-Contains Nuts
#13
Northernboi, in my defence- The full sentence was actually "1000 cals of free food is the same as 1000 cals of syns, if it's on top of your needs for the day"

I totally agree that the good healthy options that make up "free foods" will fill you up faster and also be more nutritious than an equal calorific value of "syns".

My point was simply that if you are an "emotional/boredom grazer" like me, filling up on "free foods" isn't going to solve that problem-only learning to stop eating when you are bored or emotional will stop the weight issues long-term.
 
#14
My point was simply that if you are an "emotional/boredom grazer" like me, filling up on "free foods" isn't going to solve that problem-only learning to stop eating when you are bored or emotional will stop the weight issues long-term.
I totally agree.

I think there are many people who eat when they're bored or emotional, though. I'm not sure it's easy or often even possible to stop this . I know lots of slim people who eat when they're bored or emotional. Our relationship with food is complex and difficult and SW can't resolve everything. Nor can any other diet for that matter.

And, if you're going to do that, I think the point remains that it's better to do it with free foods than with syns. Even if they are of the same calorific value.

It's important to address our relationship with food and how we feel about it. But it's also a reality that a natural 'human' relationship with food often means eating when we're stressed or emotional or whatever.

As coping mechanisms go, it's not too bad to eat some yoghurt and fruit if you're emotional. It is a problem if you eat chocolate when you are emotional... even if the calorific value of that food is the same as yoghurt and fruit.

However emotional one might get, eating free foods will result in, say, a binge of 500 calories. It'd be tough to beat that on free food alone without becoming uncomfortably full, or bored. Eating syns could result in much more than this... and even if you limit the calorific value.. the fact that you are not full at the end of it (because of the low energy density) means that you are likely to binge more/again.

So, yeah, it's important to address why we eat and when we eat and try to only eat when we need to. But that isn't all that easy for many of us. And when it's not... eating free foods (even over and above what we 'need') is a better option that eating syns - even if the calorific value is the same.

A case in point was me, last night. I wasn't really hungry but I was tired and a bit grumpy. I probably should have had a glass of water and gone to bed.

But, instead, I had a jacket potato with half a tin of beans at about 10pm. That isn't particularly healthy... and it was a 'waste' of calories. But it won't affect my weight loss in any real way and is sustainable long term.

But following Slimming World enables me to do that... and it's something that I need to do from time to time. If I was counting calories, I'd be depriving myself of that (actually quite small) emotional eat. I might have had a few calories left and had a bag of crisps instead of my potato.

But that wouldn't have filled me up... and it would have left me still feeling empty and as though I hadn't eaten.

It's important to make this diet work for you. To tailor it, slightly and if necessary, to ensure your 'trigger' foods or whatever don't cause problems. I do it with Mullerlights.

But, the point remains that for the vast majority of people... calorie counting on this diet is not necessary and will serve to complicate matters and potentially lead to eating unnecessary 'synful' foods that don't fill us up and lead to more binges.

PS

I think it would be a really good experiment to work out from my weekly food diary how I did it on SW, whether it would have fitted into WW and how many calories in total I consumed/burnt.

I guess that it could have fitted into both WW and SW... and it would have been a low number of calories. If I get time tomorrow, I'll try and work it out. I think SW will have naturally reduced my calorie intake to a healthy, but low enough level to loose weight. As such, there's no need for me to count calories, even if I eat 'emotionally' with free foods.
 

SpaceAngel

I ate my willpower!
#15
If you look at a 7 day plan in the SW books, or in the magazine, the plan bases itself on 3 meals a day with 2 snacks. I think the idea is that if you fill up on free food at each meal, then you shouldn't be hungry.

An example of this is spagetti Bolognaise. On a green day, you load your plate with the spagetti but only have a small amount on the bolognaise and vice versa for a red day.

I don't think I have ever been told that I can eat all day on free foods. My SWC does talk about the emotional reasons for eating and advised us to drink, wait 20 mins and if still hungry, go back for some more free food, but never allow ourselves to be hungry.

No diet is ever going to address the emotional or bored hunger, we need to do that ourselves.
 
#16
Thank you everyone for your wise words, all of it makes complete sense. I know I have a problem with eating when bored, and that no diet is going to address this issue.

As a footnote, I have just got in and had a slice of w/m bread with a lc extra light cheese on, I am so full still that I cannot even contemplate eating anything else today!

Thanks again.

Theresa x
 
#17
I eat a HUGE amount. My hubby stares at my plate, then at his, and then asks 'so, remind me, you ARE on a 'diet', aren't you!?'....the weight is falling off me, and I've never eaten so much in my puff! lol

Trust in the power of free food. I know it makes no sense, and people can try and rationalise all they want that it shouldn't work - but it DOES.

Weeks that I don't have much time to eat, I maintain. Weeks that I make a point of eating pretty much as much as I can, I lose.

Also, looking at your diet for today, I'd say you aren't eating enough, and you seem to be missing a HEb. But, hey, if it's working for you, keep it up anyway! lol
 
#18
I totally agree.

I think there are many people who eat when they're bored or emotional, though. I'm not sure it's easy or often even possible to stop this . I know lots of slim people who eat when they're bored or emotional. Our relationship with food is complex and difficult and SW can't resolve everything. Nor can any other diet for that matter.

And, if you're going to do that, I think the point remains that it's better to do it with free foods than with syns. Even if they are of the same calorific value.

It's important to address our relationship with food and how we feel about it. But it's also a reality that a natural 'human' relationship with food often means eating when we're stressed or emotional or whatever.

As coping mechanisms go, it's not too bad to eat some yoghurt and fruit if you're emotional. It is a problem if you eat chocolate when you are emotional... even if the calorific value of that food is the same as yoghurt and fruit.

However emotional one might get, eating free foods will result in, say, a binge of 500 calories. It'd be tough to beat that on free food alone without becoming uncomfortably full, or bored. Eating syns could result in much more than this... and even if you limit the calorific value.. the fact that you are not full at the end of it (because of the low energy density) means that you are likely to binge more/again.

So, yeah, it's important to address why we eat and when we eat and try to only eat when we need to. But that isn't all that easy for many of us. And when it's not... eating free foods (even over and above what we 'need') is a better option that eating syns - even if the calorific value is the same.

A case in point was me, last night. I wasn't really hungry but I was tired and a bit grumpy. I probably should have had a glass of water and gone to bed.

But, instead, I had a jacket potato with half a tin of beans at about 10pm. That isn't particularly healthy... and it was a 'waste' of calories. But it won't affect my weight loss in any real way and is sustainable long term.

But following Slimming World enables me to do that... and it's something that I need to do from time to time. If I was counting calories, I'd be depriving myself of that (actually quite small) emotional eat. I might have had a few calories left and had a bag of crisps instead of my potato.

But that wouldn't have filled me up... and it would have left me still feeling empty and as though I hadn't eaten.

It's important to make this diet work for you. To tailor it, slightly and if necessary, to ensure your 'trigger' foods or whatever don't cause problems. I do it with Mullerlights.

But, the point remains that for the vast majority of people... calorie counting on this diet is not necessary and will serve to complicate matters and potentially lead to eating unnecessary 'synful' foods that don't fill us up and lead to more binges.

PS

I think it would be a really good experiment to work out from my weekly food diary how I did it on SW, whether it would have fitted into WW and how many calories in total I consumed/burnt.

I guess that it could have fitted into both WW and SW... and it would have been a low number of calories. If I get time tomorrow, I'll try and work it out. I think SW will have naturally reduced my calorie intake to a healthy, but low enough level to loose weight. As such, there's no need for me to count calories, even if I eat 'emotionally' with free foods.

Blimey! Are you a consultant? if you aren't then you should consider it, you've given out some really good advice in your last few posts, you seem far more clued up than my leader! ;)
 

SpaceAngel

I ate my willpower!
#19
Blimey! Are you a consultant? if you aren't then you should consider it, you've given out some really good advice in your last few posts, you seem far more clued up than my leader! ;)
I agree with you! Excellent advice!
 

KD

Gone fishing
#20
Yes. It was a great post by northernboi!

Very well put. Just want to pick up on this though if you don't mind.

I think there are many people who eat when they're bored or emotional, though. I'm not sure it's easy or often even possible to stop this .
It is possible to stop. Everyone can if they want it enough. If not, then the fight will continue forever. On/off diet

I know lots of slim people who eat when they're bored or emotional.
That's true. The difference is they don't do it so often, and usually find they automatically compensate another time. It's not about what you eat that moment, but what you eat over the course of a week/month etc. I also noticed when I asked 100 slim people about what they ate (research when I got to goal;)) that their definition of a binge was waaaaayyy different to mine.:eek::eek:

Our relationship with food is complex and difficult and SW can't resolve everything.
True. SW like the rest of the diet industry deal with the diet, not the head stuff. It's not their department ;)

Of course, it's the head stuff that makes the diet possible. Whether you can keep to it and maintain. That'll all be head stuff. SW give you the tools to do the calories in/out part. It's up to you to find the head bit.
Nor can any other diet for that matter.
Exactly, because diets are about calories in vs calories out. Head stuff isn't.

I completely understand your point about using free foods to emotionally eat on, and short term, it would work. But I feel that the long term answer would be to work out why you emotionally eat :D

Whether you are overeating emotionally on free foods, synd foods, or even fruit and vegetables....there is a 'problem' there that needs addressing.
 


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