Run, run, as fast as you can; far away from the ice-cream van

Summer time and ice-cream may go together but feeling bloated is a side effect you could do without

If you cannot resist the pull of an ice-cream snack, opt instead for an ice lolly, which will hit the spot without hitting your waist. Photograph: Thinkstock

If you cannot resist the pull of an ice-cream snack, opt instead for an ice lolly, which will hit the spot without hitting your waist. Photograph: Thinkstock

Mon, Jul 14, 2014, 14:39

Q It’s getting warm and it’s actually easier to motivate myself to get out running in the sunshine, but at the same time I feel more bloated and swollen, and hungrier than ever.

Plus, it doesn’t help that the kids all fancy an ice-cream just at that tea-time hour when I am weak and hungry, and I know I am drinking too many ice-cold fruit smoothies than is healthy. But they are so delicious.

And my husband fires up the barbecue at any excuse.

I am running more than ever but I feel as though I am in worse shape than I was during the winter. This is not fair. Grit Doctor, please help.


A I totally get where you are coming from. I was feeling exactly the same myself, tucking into an ice-cream on a daily basis and feeling as though I was carrying around an extra spare tyre as a result. And I’m married to an Australian who treats the barbecue like a second skin.

There is no escaping it – all year round. So I feel your pain.

A very obvious calorie-saving change you could implement easily, if you simply cannot resist the pull of the ice-cream van, is to opt instead for an ice lolly, which will hit the spot without hitting your waist.

The grittier option is, of course, to Just. Say. No. For what it’s worth, I have been trying to alternate between a lolly and No, and enjoying an ice-cream as a weekend treat.

The key to making these choices easier is keeping our sugar levels consistent throughout the day by eating good, wholesome, nutritious meals.

It sounds obvious, but we mums tend to think of ourselves last and rarely sit down to a meal or spend time considering our dietary needs, worrying only that our kids are properly fed, while absentmindedly shovelling a leftover fish finger into our mouth at the kitchen sink. So try to ensure that your food needs are being met as well as your kids’.

Desperate craving

Don’t skimp on your lunch because if you do, having been up since 6am and exhausted, it is going to bite you in the face at 4pm with a desperate craving for that ice-cream.

Always have a hearty breakfast and lunch, even if you don’t feel like it, and include protein, as it keeps you fuller for longer.

If, despite being mindful about these meals and making the necessary adjustments to your diet, you still find you must have something to eat at tea time, carry an apple or whatever healthy snack you like, one that you can cart about easily, and that would be a satisfactory alternative to that ice-cream.

An ice lolly and an apple is a perfectly acceptable tea-time snack.

My other top tip is to drink more water. I cannot emphasise this enough because the area of “drinks” is where a lot of us are going horribly wrong.

We have been seduced by a drinks culture that has saturated our diets with fruit juices, fizzy drinks, smoothies, frappés and so on, adding a gazillion needless calories to our diets along the way.

And we have come to see and use them as thirst quenchers rather than as food.

Once it is blitzed, f

ruit loses its fibre and, whereas eating an orange requires effort, both from you and your digestive tract – which reaps the benefit of that fibre – the same cannot be said for devouring a bottle of orange juice.

This applies all year round, of course, but is doubly true in hot weather.

Raging thirst

Often, when we think we are hungry, it is our raging thirst in disguise, and when we reach for anything other than water to quench it, we are not actually hydrating ourselves properly and are instead sending our livers into a frenzy, hitting them as we might with the sugar content of 15 oranges in one go.

So, always have a glass of water or two before you reach for a snack – and stop using anything other than water to quench your thirst.

Barbecues are fatal to our waistlines because we treat them as a sort of fire buffet at which we can graze all day and all night, effortlessly devouring a week’s worth of meat proteins via a dozen humble sausages without blinking – all washed down with a nice cold beer or three.

A barbecue is still a meal, so think of it in the same way. Try to stick to one plate of food, still predominantly green, and you won’t go far wrong.

The Grit Doctor says If you can give up the smoothies, fruit juices, frappés or whatever cold beverages you are drinking in place of water, your waistline will thank you for it.

And keep running for everything it gives to your life, not for all those ice-creams you need to lose. Ruth Field is author of Run, Fat Bitch, Run and Get Your Sh!t Together